Declining a Job Offer? Four Tips to Avoid Burning Bridges

There are many challenges that can come along with the job search process, including declining job offers. The way in which you decline a job offer can often make or break your professional reputation in the eyes of an employer and derail your candidacy for future opportunities with the company. Here are four key steps you can take to avoid burning bridges with an employer and make the most of your interview experience – even when declining a job offer:

Respond promptly.

Once you’ve made the decision that you’re going to decline a job offer, it’s important to inform the employer as quickly as possible. The hiring manager will appreciate getting your response in a timely manner so they can work on filling the position and finding another candidate for the job. Promptly responding to the employer by phone or email (or both) will exhibit professionalism on your part and show you respect the interviewer’s time.

Provide a reason.

While you don’t have to get into detail about your decision, it’s best to provide the interviewer with some sort of reason for declining the opportunity. Whether the job is simply not the right fit or you were offered another position elsewhere, briefly stating the reason for your decision will help you maintain goodwill with the employer for opportunities potentially in the future.

Maintain politeness.

Even if you’re feeling stressed and burned out by the job hunt and interview process, maintaining politeness with employers even when declining a job offer is essential. Keeping your communication professional and being responsive to the employer will allow you to continue building upon your relationship and end things on a positive note regarding the job opportunity. In many cases, employers will keep your resume and other application materials on file for other job openings at their company down the road.

Stay in touch.

Taking initiative to stay in touch with the employer is one of the best ways to set the right tone for the future. Connecting with the hiring manager on LinkedIn and passing along your contact information will show you care about keeping a connection with the company and exploring future opportunities that may be a fit for you. With so many ways to stay in touch online, there’s no reason not to maintain long-term communication.


By following these tips, you’ll set the stage for a positive, long-term relationship with the employer without burning any bridges!


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