Kerry Business

How to Decline A Job Withing Burning Bridges

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So you applied for a job a few months ago, and are finally getting a call back to work for the company. This is after countless interviews, several meetings with partners (business owners), and not hearing back from this company for a couple months. Now that they’ve decided to call you back and offer you a position, you’ve chosen to move on, or take another job elsewhere. With this in mind, you aren’t sure how to tell the employer.

They’ve invested months on choosing you as the top candidate, and now you don’t want the job any longer. Just because you’ve chosen to move elsewhere, doesn’t mean you have to burn the bridges you’ve built and relationships you’ve built along the way. So if you’ve chosen to take on different endeavors, but want to keep those bridges open (for possible future opportunities), these are a few ways to do just that.


1. Let them know as soon as possible

If you are extended an offer, but choose not to take it, inform the employer immediately. Don’t lead them on, or go through countless interviews and meetings, simply to let them know last minute you are no longer interested. And, if the interview process is ongoing, and you learn sometime throughout the process you were offered a different position (or simply don’t want that position any longer), let the employer know that.

Sure, they might be upset, and have to go through training and interviews with other candidates, but its far better than hiring you, only to learn you don’t want the job any more. As soon as you know you plan on declining the offer, let them know.

2. Be grateful

Whether the pay rate is too low, hours are too long, or you simply don’t have the interest in working with the employer, show gratitude. Think of it this way. They’ve invested their time, resources, had interviews and meetings (so they’ve spent money with HR personnel), simply to speak to you about the opportunity. If you believe it is not a good fit, or the job just isn’t for you, inform the employer, but thank them for their time.

People respond far better to a gracious rejection, and an individual who has enough respect to be honest and forthcoming with them, as opposed to those who beat around the bush, or simply dodge calls (emails), and ignore them. Thank them, show respect, and let them know you are truly thankful for the opportunity, but it just is not going to be a good fit for you.

3. Be honest (don’t play games)

Again, a company spends money, time, and resources in hiring new personnel. From things as simple as going through the interview process, to ordering uniforms, and other supplies, in order to get you acclimated into the new position. So don’t play games. Don’t accept a job, only to “show face,” show up for a few days, and then simply not show up to the position again. This ends up costing the company money, and it forces them to go through the entire interview and hiring process again.

Be honest. Let them know why you aren’t interested, and don’t beat around the bush. When it comes to being candid ,you have to let them know what is going on, but don’t be brutally honest to the point where you offend the employer. Simply give them as much information as possible, without putting yourself (or other potential employment you have pending) in peril. Employers will have far more respect for you, and even though they might be upset up front, it will save them (money and time) in the long run.

There’s no easy way to reject an offer, especially when you know how much time an employer has invested in choosing you, in a very competitive position. But, there are instances where you learn you aren’t a good fit, no longer want the job, or find a far better opportunity, after you’ve initially applied for a position. If this is the case, these are a few ways to show respect to that employer, and avoid burning bridges with them. It might be difficult, but they will respect you, and will keep you in mind if you ever come back in the future, asking for work (referrals), or ever need to do business with the company in the future.