How to Decline a Job Offer
When you’re in the tech field, job searching can be easier because you’re more in demand. You’ll often have IT staffing companies reaching out to you, even when you’re perfectly happy in your current job. If you are searching, you may be juggling multiple interview processes at a time and even multiple job offers. This means that at some point you’ll be put in the position of declining a job offer. This can be a delicate task with lasting effects. Here are some tips from IT recruiters on how to gracefully decline a job offer and avoid burning any bridges in the tech sphere.
- You must respond. Do not under any circumstances just ignore the offer. Reach out to the employer or technical recruiters and reject the offer if you don’t want it. You’ll definitely torpedo your reputation with employers and IT recruiting companies if you don’t give any response to a job offer. Putting out job offers is a labor-intensive process for employers that takes a lot of time. To not even give a rejection is unthinkably rude and makes you look incredibly unprofessional.
- Keep it quick. Don’t drag your feet on rejecting a job offer when you know it’s not right for you. The sooner you can tell the employer no, the better the whole interaction will go. It’s especially important not to do something like accepting a job offer, then waiting for something better. Or dragging your feet to respond to a job offer while waiting for something better. It can be tempting, or even feel completely logical to do this. You’ve got to look out for yourself, right? But pulling a move like this will likely hurt you in the future. If you deceive an employer or reject it in a way that obstructs their hiring process, you’ll definitely frustrate them. You’ll probably blackball yourself as an applicant at that company in the future. You’ll also likely hurt your reputation with the people who work there. Considering how small the tech sphere can be sometimes, that’s a big risk to take!
- Keep it respectful, gracious, and pleasant. It’s entirely possible to reject a job offer without offending or frustrating a company. If you adopt the right tone and thank the company warmly for their time and consideration, IT recruiting agencies find that you can still walk away with goodwill. Find specific things you genuinely liked about the job, company and/or team and mention them. Specifics will go a long way in proving that the company made a positive impression on you. If you’d like to be able to apply to this employer in the future, say so. It’s entirely possible that a job offer right now at company X isn’t a good fit, but 5 years from now, it will be! Companies understand this and will appreciate it if you’re clear about it. There are cases where this won’t work, of course, but that’s a red flag in itself. If a company responds to a gracious rejection of a job offer with hostility and animosity, then they may not be pleasant to work for anyways!
- Give a reason if you have one that is temporary and palatable to an employer. In some cases, it can help to give employers a straightforward, honest reason why you’re rejecting their job offer. It can be completely acceptable to say you’ve received an alternate job offer with a higher salary, better commute, or more flexible schedule. It’s also fine to tell an employer if your personal circumstances have changed and you’re not ready to make start a new job. Maybe you have a sick relative, you need to move, etc. As mentioned before, your aim should be to keep the whole conversation positive. There are definitely reasons that you should NOT give to an employer for rejecting their job offer. The most obvious is if you’re taking a counter-offer from your current employer. While this is usually a bad move to make for yourself (check out this blog post here), it also looks terrible to employers. It can make them feel like you’ve used their (extensive) time and effort just to get yourself a raise from your boss. At the very least, it looks like you have bad judgement, which makes you seem pretty unhirable.
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