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How to Turn Down a Job Offer with Class

So you have been offered not just one job but more than one? Good for you! Next comes the difficult decision of deciding which one to accept. Often it is tempting to accept a job and forget about the other offers but this is never the right move to make professionally. Bear in mind that the company took the time to interview you and somebody felt you were the right fit for the job. Never ignore a job offer and never burn any bridges behind you. It is bad etiquette and does not say anything good about your character. Keep in mind too that the sooner you let the company know that you are turning down the offer the sooner they can make an offer to their second chosen candidate.

Do it without delay

When you decide to turn down job A to accept job B it is best to not delay your response. You can either call the person and tell them verbally that you thank them for the opportunity and then explain why you are turning the offer down. Be as nice as possible but do not go into too much detail. If you choose to make a phone call to turn down an offer then follow up afterwards in writing. It is also acceptable and perfectly fine professional etiquette to turn down a job offer in writing. Do whatever you feel most comfortable doing.

Show good form

Always let your good manners, diplomacy and professionalism show through. When you turn down a job offer tell the individual something about the company that left an impression on you and this will help soften the blow. Remember that it is always possible that you will come into contact in the future with someone who offered you a job that you passed on so as previously mentioned, do not burn any bridges because you just never know when you might need someone’s help. Always keep the door open for future possibilities.

For those who work in a specialized field

Depending on the kind of job it is, if you are in a very specialized field of work you might want to keep in touch with the person even if you will not be working for them. The idea is to make sure the individual does not feel personally rejected by your decision. There are lots of ways to keep in touch on an occasional basis. A week after you decline the offer call up the person or send them a quick e-mail. If the person has a blog you can leave a note on that or maybe even invite the person out to coffee or lunch.

Another suggestion if you are in a specialized field of work is to refer someone else you know who is more than qualified for the job. Even if the person you have in mind is not offered the job or decides not to take it at least this shows that you are thoughtful and concerned enough to suggest alternate options, especially if the employer is in a bind.

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