How to appropriately reject a job offer
You are going about your job search, and all of a sudden it happens you get the job offer, but can't take the job. How do you tell them no without burning any bridges? Here are 3 situations and how to say no thanks to the job.
Common points about saying no
Before getting into the specific situations, there are a couple points you should always keep in mind when saying no to a job offer. The first is to be polite this company has gone to the trouble and cost of investigating you to see if you are a good match, and they deserve at least some good manners when you say no, or should I say No thank you. The second is to be as upfront as you can. If you are saying no for a particular reason, tell the person on the other side of the table what that reason is be it from too little pay to family commitments to your research showing the company is almost bankrupt. They will appreciate the feedback, and you might be surprised at how flexible a company can be if they really want you your reason might disappear!
Job offer #1 Salary too low
You apply to a great sounding job, get the call back, and the interview goes really well. You like them, and they like you. Then comes the job offer awesome! You read through it only to find out what they want to pay you is nowhere near what you were expecting. It could be you are a senior worker and they are offering junior pay, or just that you can't make ends meet on what they are offering.
The first thing to do is finish reading the offer. Make note of any other things in it besides pay you don't like. Then politely say there are a few points you would like to bring up about the offer. Mention something other than pay first to find out how flexible they are. If they are willing to make changes, then bring up the pay issue. Briefly go over what they are asking for, and your qualifications. Point out that they are looking for a senior person, but the pay is considerably below that level. Maybe they weren't aware of that, and may raise it. If you are interested in the job, you could trade perks for pay give back options, and maybe a couple vacation days for a few thousand pay increase.
If pay is the only reason you won't take the job, its often possible to work around it. If you want to use pay as the reason to say no, that's easy just say Thank you for the offer, but at this time the salary you offered is considerably below what I can accept for this position. Thank you for your consideration, and I hope you are able to fill the position.
Job offer #2 Hours are unreasonable
There are some jobs that are perfect, except for the hours. If you are a parent of young children, you can't be out at all hours of the night. Often its near impossible to find daycare outside of business hours short of paying a live-in nanny.
If you want the job, discuss any options that might work- offer to do any training during business hours, possibly offer to take a small pay cut, or offer to start on a trial basis with the clear understanding that you will move to regular hours at a set date. This last option will inconvenience you for a while, but give you a chance to show that you are a good worker and worth the effort for the company to keep you.
If you don't want the job, say something such as This looks like a perfect match except for the hours. I understand they are an integral part of the job, however I am unable to work those hours. If another position during regular business hours comes up, I would like to be considered for it. Thank you for your time.
Job offer #3 It's just a bad company
You saw the want ad, and applied. You made it through 2 rounds of interviews and are sitting with the job offer in your hands. But during that time, every one you talked to said this was a bad company to work for. So you did some research, and confirmed it employee lawsuits in the courts, and the company is near bankruptcy. Almost no matter what the job offer is you will say no because this is a toxic place to work.
Be honest with your interviewer. Tell them what you liked about the position. Then tell them about your research, and how you can't work at a place that doesn't treat its employees well. At this point the interviewer might try to change your mind, and if you want to you can bring out the bankruptcy point to hammer home that you think this is not a good place to work. But remember to be polite throughout this process. You never know when the problems will be cleaned up, and they will be a successful and good place to work!
Often people will not refuse a job offer if they have been out of work for a while, and it's the only offer they have. While this is practical, it might not be the best option. Sure if you can't pay rent you should get a job fast. But if you get a job that keeps you busy day and night, and you hate it, when will you have a chance to look for another job you don't hate? Keep that in mind when you are ready to accept an offer you aren't sure about.
Many more types of bad offers
There are many different types of bad job offers, and these are only 3 of them. However, it should be enough examples for you to see how to apply the two basic rules that you should always be polite and try to be honest whenever possible. If you follow those 2 tips, you won't burn any bridges and you may even get invited back to interview for future jobs! Here's hoping you have multiple offers and have to say no to a bunch of them!