Finding the write words to tactfully turn down a job offer can be difficult. Although it's important to explain the reason for your rejection, you'll want to ensure that your letter is cordial and explains your reasons in an unemotional way.
Express Your Thanks
The company invested time in getting to know you, and it’s only polite to show your appreciation for their interest. Nervousness might prevent you from expressing your thanks if you break the bad news verbally, but when you write a letter, you’ll have plenty of time to get it right. Include a sentence or two that conveys your gratitude and mentions a few specific details. You might write, “Thank you for offering me the position of pencil production director. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with Bob and the team last week and learn more about the job.”
Decline the Offer
No matter what you thought of the offer, it’s important to adopt a neutral, professional tone when you compose your letter. If you're angry that the offer was insultingly low, wait to write the letter until you're in control of your feelings. Create a brief sentence that explains that you're turning down the job, such as "After much thought, I’ve decided that the position is not the right one for me,” or “I realize that I would not be a good fit for the position and must decline your offer."
Explain Your Reasons
Provide some explanation for your decision. You might mention that you were offered another position, or note that you realized that the commute is too long or the salary is too low. Forbes notes that the information you provide might help the company make some changes. Include a sentence that tactfully explains your reasons. You might not want to mention that your potential boss seemed like a control freak, but you could expand on another reason that contributed to your decision. Perhaps the company only produces pencils on a small scale, and you would prefer to work for a giant in the pencil industry. You could write, “Although the job sounds interesting, I have decided to seek opportunities to expand my knowledge of the pencil production process on a global scale.”
Create a Positive Impression
Even though you don’t want this job, it doesn’t mean that you won’t consider another job at the company in the future. You might mention how impressed you are by the company or might compliment a specific aspect of the position you found appealing. If you’re interested in working for the company in the future in another capacity, make your interest clear. For example, you might write, “Although I can’t accept this position, I hope we can work together at another point in my career.”
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