Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How to decline a job

If you have to say "no" to a job offer, you should say it to a person's face, or if you live outside of the city, by phone. But it should be in your own voice and not on paper or email.

When you say no, you should say, I'm grateful for your offer, but I cannot accept it at this time. You can supply a reason, such as, I have received another offer in this city, or my partner is not able to move with me to accommodate this new job. You don't have to say anything about the offer, if it was full-time, where their offer was part-time, or if the career just fit you better, you can just say, I have accepted another offer--but don't turn around and reapply in less than six months to the same organization.

If you just don't want to accept the offer--there was something weird about the interviewers, or they were rude or inhospitable, and you are afraid to put your career future in their hands, just stop with, I must decline the offer. Don't elaborate with, if you had only brushed your teeth, or your assistant wouldn't validate my parking, or your no flip-flops dress code is too restrictive, just save it. Tirades are for your friends.

You can follow up with a thank you letter, but if you tell them on the phone or face-to-face, politely and with real regret, you will have declined in a way that still leaves the door open for another application at a later date.

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