As if searching for a job you want weren’t stressful enough, you sometimes find yourself in the unhappy position of having to decline one you don’t. Turning down a job is never easy, but if the opportunity isn’t right — maybe the pay’s not up to snuff, or the position would require you to move — there’s nothing you can do. So what’s your next move?
In a piece for iDiva, Lisabelle Gonsalves offers six helpful tips for telling a potential employer “thanks but no thanks.” “It’s okay to not accept a job offer,” she writes. “The tricky thing though is turning it down.” Scroll down to read her advice.
Let ’em Know Quickly — In the same way you like potential employers to respond to you promptly after an interview, Gonsalves writes, you shouldn’t leave the company hanging. “It’s better to say NO and let the company continue interviewing other people, rather than waste their time and cause them to lose out on other candidates,” she says.
Don’t Burn Bridges — When you make the call — and you should call rather than email — be sure to be professional and polite. Thank the company for the offer and tell them why you have to say no.
Outline Your Reasons — Don’t lie to the company about your reasons for declining the position, Gonsalves writes. Tell them precisely why you’re saying no, and if there are certain aspects of the job that were particularly unattractive — the pay, say — mention them to the HR person, so that they might alert you to better opportunities if and when they come along.
Keep the Door Open (If You Want It Open) — If you really want the job but need the company to budge on money or travel or some other piece of the offer, leave the door open to discussion. They may get back to you after you decline the position and give you exactly what you want.
Be Comfortable with the Consequences — According to Gonsalves, passing on a gig that’s perfect for you might mark you foul in the industry, so if you say no, you’ve got to be comfortable with that. “Turning down an offer that is exactly what you asked for is highly unprofessional,” Suraj Lokare, chief executive of Xanadu Consulting Group, tells Gonsalves. “In all likelihood, “you will be blacklisted by the consultant as well as the hiring company.”
Don’t Play Games — You may be tempted to use one company’s offer as leverage to get a better deal elsewhere. Dont’ do it. “This will only sabotage your reputation with both firms and probably land you with no job at all,” Gonsalves writes.