Skimm Scripts·4 min read

How to Decline a Job Offer (Without Burning Any Bridges)

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Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
October 7, 2022

The Great Resignation is still going strong. So many employers are focused on making sure they don’t lose good candidates. Meaning: If you're job searching, you could have the upper hand in the hiring process. And you might need to know how to turn down a job offer without burning any bridges. Whether that's because the role isn't a great fit, or you've got multiple offers. Luckily, we have some templates that make saying 'no' a bit easier. 

How do I politely decline a job offer? 

When you're passing up a job offer, two words go a long way: 'Thank you.' Because recruiters and hiring managers put a lot of effort into the hiring process. Another good idea is letting your point of contact know you’re open to staying in touch. JIC the company has another role in the future that you’re interested in. 

Whether you turn down the offer via phone or email, a good script can come in handy. Here are a couple to help you out, depending on your situation:

How to turn down a job offer if you don’t like the company

If you’d rather keep job searching because you don’t like the company culture, or you don’t want to work with the manager, steer clear of the details. Keep it broad by expressing your appreciation for the opportunity. And explaining the role isn’t the best fit for your career at the moment. Here’s how you can phrase it:



Thank you for the offer and the time you’ve spent getting to know me. After careful consideration, I’ve made the decision to decline this opportunity. While I enjoyed [SOMETHING POSITIVE ABOUT THE HIRING PROCESS OR COMPANY], I have determined that accepting this role is not the right decision for me at this time. I would love to stay in touch in case any relevant positions come up in the future.

Thank you again,


How to turn down a job offer if it doesn’t meet your salary expectations

If you tried to negotiate your salary but it still misses the mark, don’t be afraid to be specific. Let your potential employer know that you’re excited about the role, but you’ll have to decline due to the salary level. Psst…be prepared to continue the negotiation. Because your willingness to walk away might motivate a company to make a better offer. Your decline could look something like this:



Thank you for offering me the [ROLE] position and for reviewing my counteroffer. While I understand that my salary expectations are not within your hiring budget, unfortunately, I won't be able to accept this offer with a compensation level lower than [YOUR DESIRED COMPENSATION]. Thank you again for working with me throughout this application and interview process, and I'd love to stay in touch regarding future opportunities with [COMPANY]. 



PS: This template could also work if you want to turn down an offer because of other things the company can't provide. Like the benefits you want (hi, parental leave) or the ability to WFH full-time. Just tweak the template as needed for your specific situation.

Anything else I should keep in mind before I break the news? 

Don’t procrastinate. The sooner you respond with your decision, the more time recruiters have to continue their search for the right candidate. Also: It isn’t a must, but if you know someone who might be a good fit for the role you’re rejecting, don’t be afraid to make an introduction. Think: “I have a few connections that might be a great fit for this role, and I’m happy to share their contact information with you.”

Oh, and if you’ve built rapport with the hiring manager during the interview process, consider giving them a phone call instead of sending an email. It’s a simple but effective way to pass on the offer with a more personal touch. 


It’s a job hunter’s market right now. But that doesn’t mean every job offer will live up to your expectations. Whether you need a larger salary, or the company just isn’t the right fit, there’s a right way to reject the wrong offer. And keep a good relationship with the company…just in case. 

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