8 Tips for How to Decline a Job Offer After Accepting It

by McKenzie Chapman   Ulticareer  | Goals  | Job search  | Advice  | Opportunity  | Life lesson  | Career decision  | Stress  | Job satisfaction  | Career advancement  | New job  | 

When we’re searching for a new job, we’re often in the position where we apply to many different companies and positions. This means that there’s a potential for multiple companies to be reviewing your qualifications at the same time.

If you find yourself find in a position where you’ve accepted a job offer, but then need to decline it because your circumstances have changed or because you’ve been offered something better, then you should take care to handle the situation delicately. If possible, this situation should try to be avoided, but if it’s inevitable and going to affect your happiness, make sure to do what you have to, but with great consideration for the company you’re reneging on.

Here are some tips to help the process go as smoothly as possible:

1. Be prompt

When you know that you have to go back on a promise you’ve made, it’s best to be prompt in letting the company know you need to back out. You’ll be less entrenched in your mistake the faster you’re able to notify the company. The longer you wait, the more preparations, time, and money, they spend on you, the angrier they’ll be. Make haste on letting them know you’ve changed your mind so that they can begin to work on another solution.

2. Be grateful

Express your gratitude for the position. They believed in you enough to hire you, and you should take that as a great compliment and honor. So be sure to be grateful when you’re letting them know that you have to back out of your agreement.

3. Reflect

Before you back out, make absolutely sure that this position isn’t what you want. What are your reasons for leaving a job? There’s no going back when you let them know, since even if you handle this with the upmost delicacy, it likely won’t reflect very well on you. As people, we all understand that these situations are sometimes unavoidable, but as a company that’s spent time and money recruiting and vetting you, they’re likely to be a bit peeved.

4. Don’t lie, but have tact

It’s important to be honest, but still be polite. Don’t lie and tell them your husband got relocated so you’re moving across the country when really you just found something better. Just tell the truth, but don’t be negative about the company you’re declining.

5. Meet in person

It’s always best to have difficult conversations such as this in person. It shows respect for the person that recruited you and offers closure for all involved. If you can’t manage an in-person meeting, at least give them a call.

6. Read what you signed

If you’ve already signed paperwork, make sure that you know what you signed. Review any documents you were given to make sure that you’re not in violation of anything and there’s no way that you’re legally bound or that you could face legal consequences for your actions.

7. Skip the details

Avoid the details of why you decided to back out of the job. Be succinct in your reasoning so that you’re not causing any unnecessary pain but still offering a sufficient reason behind your actions.

8. Recommend someone else if you know a good fit

If you can help them solve the problem you just created, then try your best to be helpful! If you know of someone else that would be great at the job, connect them so they can perhaps get to work on filling the hole you’ve just created for them. This is the best-case scenario since it shows that you care about the company and it was nothing personal. It also proves you to be helpful, which is the least you can do in this situation.

Backing out of a job that you’ve already accepted is not a great position to be in. Although, of course, you need to do what you think is best for you, it does put the company in a bind and places you in an awkward position. They’ve counted on you and spent considerable resources getting you to work for them and finding that you’re the right fit. But sometimes, it’s unavoidable! Hopefully these tips have helped you through this difficult scenario.

Have you ever had to renege on a job acceptance? Do you have any other advice to share? Comment with your advice below and share your career stories on UltiCareer’s survey to help students and others looking for a career path get to know what your type of job is really like. 

on UltiCareer to help others on their job search, get to know what your type of job is really like.

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