How to Professionally Decline a Job Offer

June 20, 2018

There are many industries where the network of professionals is a small community and most beauty professionals will agree there is one degree of separation for so many in the beauty biz. The concept of declining an offer is even more important to maintain professionalism, since you never want to be perceived as burning a bridge. As a recruiter, I have seen many scenarios where professionals have handled the decline process in a negative way and impacted their professional credibility. I find the following methods to be the best way to professionally decline and leave the relationship intact, because you never know…

  1. Decline with a phone call, not an email. 

Emailing to decline an offer is not the best method. Like any email or text communication, you never know how the message is perceived. It takes less than 5 minutes to make a phone call and allows you to thank the HR/Recruiter/Executive for their time and consideration, simple statement, “you have chosen a different path that you feel best suits your professional goals.”  The message doesn’t have to be detailed, but demonstrating appreciation goes a long way.

  1. Commit to the timeline of your decision.

There are circumstances where professionals need more time due to multiple offers to evaluate or more time to make a big career decision. When additional time is extended, it’s important to provide an update by the timeline. If you commit to having a decision by 12:00pm on Monday, make sure to follow up prior to that time. Is surprising how so many professionals can be casual in their approach to call at 5:00pm when the employer is expecting a decision which reflects poorly on the professionals follow through on commitment. Believe it or not that can leave a lasting negative impression.

  1. Send a “thank you’ note.

Send a note of appreciation for the offer after you have communicated the decline to the hiring authority if you’re working through HR and/or a Recruiter. This provides a professional closure for both parties, since there are situations where the offer decline is communicated through a 3rd party. It leaves a positive impression on an Executive you may interact with in the future at a networking event or on another opportunity.

The Bottom Line

Declining an offer gets messy when communication becomes inconsistent. Often this happens because professionals are uncomfortable and unsure of how the potential employer/HR/Recruiter is going to react. The rule of thumb is to rise above any discomfort and show true professionalism with a simple conversation that demonstrates appreciation for time, consideration and wishing them the best of luck!




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