How to Decline a Job after Accepting it

How to Decline a Job after Accepting it

The goal or wish of every job applicant is to get hired at the end of the recruitment process and exercise. Although the unemployment rate has increased, smart, witty, and talented individuals keep getting jobs. However, getting a job doesn’t guarantee personal and professional happiness. You may have genuine and legitimate reasons to decline a job offer you accepted. What do you do when you realize that you need to turn down a certain job after accepting it? How do you strike a balance between you and your employer? How do you make sure that you leave on good terms?

The process of job hunting or searching for a new job can be exciting, especially if it becomes successful and you receive an offer in an organization you’ve envisaged working for. After accepting the offer, you may decide to change your mind, because of another competitive if not better offer. Also, you may decide to decline the job after thinking it through because you realised that the job or role isn’t the best fit for you. Don’t worry, it happens; you are not the first person to decline a job offer after accepting it.

Contrary to popular opinion, individuals don’t decline job offers they accepted because of finance alone; several factors come into play. These factors may range from logistic, economic, family related, or professional. The way and manner you handle such declination matter a lot; remember, the world of work and business are intertwined; you shouldn’t tarnish your image or ruin your reputation. Relatively, you don’t want to have legal battles lingering over your head. Even if you chose to decline the job because of a supposed or perceived better offer, try and leave the right way. You may need the organization in the future.

Analysts and experts have suggested that the best way to decline a job after accepting it is by being professional. Additionally, you can politely reach out to the organization on phone or in person, before dropping the bombshell resignation later. Your reasons for declining should be clearly stated; don’t be ambiguous. Instead, express gratitude for the opportunity given to you. However, there are certain tips and steps to take when you want to decline a job offer you accepted. Therefore, this article will look at why employees decline jobs they accepted and how to go about it.


Why do individuals decline jobs after accepting them?

The following are reasons to decline an offer after accepting it;

  • When you discover that it is not a good fit: Although you like the company, you may discover that the offered role isn’t the right fit for you.
  • When you need more money: Monetary negotiations don’t always go the way you want them to go. If despite going back and forth, you still couldn’t reach an agreement on what you need in terms of salary, you may need to decline the job offer.
  • When you consider the company culture and reputation: Sometimes, you can choose to decline the offer because of the work environment, company reputation, or company culture.
  • When you receive a competing offer that you prefer: This offer may come with your ideal position or remuneration.
  • Relocation and family emergency: Circumstances may change that mandates you to decline the offer. This may come in form of a family emergency or you may need to relocate. For example, your spouse or partner may get a promotion in their job that requires the family to move to another city, town, or country respectively.


A Guide on How to turn down a job offer you accepted

When you understand the etiquette of declining a job after accepting it, you will arguably go about it the right way. Below is a guide on how to decline a job you accepted;

  • Think about your decision carefully and be certain
  • Think about alternatives
  • Read and review your contract
  • Act quickly, don’t wait
  • Be tactful and use a straightforward approach
  • Be concise and express gratitude
  • Choose the right form of communication, call your employer and pass the information

Think about your decision carefully and be certain: Declining a job you accepted has the potential of impacting your chances for future consideration negatively. Therefore, consider the pros and cons, or advantages and disadvantages before making such a decision. Before turning the offer down, make sure that you are 100% certain of your choice. Remember, there is no going back once such a decision is made. Crucially, don’t rush; take your time and consider the likely consequences of rejecting the job offer. Before you reach out to the employer, make a list of the good and bad, and make a decision afterward.

Think about other alternatives: Consider what you might be willing to accept as an alternative to declining the job offer. Ask yourself if there is anything that the employer could offer you that may make you reconsider working with them. Think carefully about these possibilities before you contact the organization. If you think a higher salary, fewer hours, or different responsibilities will make you reconsider declining the offer, consider renegotiating the terms of your employment. If your decision is based on personal circumstances, consider asking the employer if they can give you extra time to make a decision.

Read and review your contract: After thinking about the decision and looking at alternatives, proceed to read the terms and conditions of your contract, if you’ve signed already.  Read through your employment contract carefully and thoroughly to make sure that there will be no legal repercussions to declining the job. Also, most organizations specify the terms and conditions for terminating employment. When you peruse your contract, you may find that there is a time frame that allows you to reject the offer of employment after accepting it. Also, check with a lawyer or employment expert to try and deal with the legal consequences of declining the job.

Act quickly, don’t wait: While you should consider your position carefully and take the time to read your contract, you must act as quickly as possible once you have decided to decline the job offer. Let the organization know as soon as you decide you no longer want to accept the position. The sooner you let the employer know, the sooner the hiring manager can start looking for your replacement. The organization will appreciate you notifying them promptly and will be more likely to respect your decision.

Be tactful, and use a straightforward approach: Make sure that you are honest and tactful with your employer when telling them your reason for declining the job after accepting it. Try and be honest, and professional, and refrain from insulting your employer in the process. You should also coin your explanation with respect and don’t demean any coworker or the organization. Similarly, you should let the company know why you changed your mind after accepting; if your reason revolves around not being able to work with some employees, simply say you don’t see yourself as a good culture fit for the organization. If on the other hand, you got a more competitive and better offer from another firm, simply let the organization know that you’ve found another role elsewhere that fits better with your career path and skillset.

Be concise and express gratitude: You don’t want to leave on bad terms; therefore, endeavor to show gratitude when declining the offer. Regardless of the method of communication, start with a word of thanks and appreciation for being considered and given the role. In addition, show gratitude for everything you learned from the organization right from the application stage to the interview stage. Importantly, keep your explanation brief no matter your reasons for declining the job. Too much information isn’t necessary at this point; don’t go into details of your family emergency or why another job is a better fit for you for example.

Choose the right form of communication, call your employer and pass the information: While you may be nervous to phone or meet with your employer to deliver the job rejection to them, there are advantages to doing so. Calling the employer first is professional, and personal, and allows you to explain your circumstances before sending the letter. This can improve your chances of preserving a positive relationship with them. Once you have had this conversation, you can send an official letter or email declining the offer. 


Example of how to write a job decline letter after accepting it

The Human Resource Manager,

Sterling Consultancy,

Abuja Nigeria.

Dear Sir,


Thank you so much for considering me for the position of Research Assistant in your organization. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to pursue a position with another organization that’s more in line with my current career path and personal goals.

It was a true pleasure to learn more about the excellent work you do at Sterling Consultancy. I appreciate the time and consideration you gave my application and wish you success in your efforts to find the perfect candidate.

I look forward to hearing from you in the future. If there are any questions you have for me, please let me know.


Best wishes,

Johnson Favour

Career Advice, Job Search Tips

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