After the treacherous ordeal of interviews and applications, multiple job offers might seem like the dream scenario – your brilliance has been recognised and you no longer fear your credit card bill.
However, before you pop the champagne or update your social profiles, you need to turn down any offers you won’t be pursuing. After all, the hiring manager or employer invested time in the process and decided that you, above all other candidates, were the right fit.
How you turn down a job can have serious repercussions on your later career, so tread carefully.
Be as prompt as possible
If you’ve made up your mind to take a role elsewhere, don’t let the offer hang in the air. Bear in mind that the company could be missing out on other candidates while they wait for you to make a decision. Don’t lead them on and don’t waste their time unnecessarily.
Maintain the level of respect and professionalism that you displayed during the interview process. Where appropriate, deliver the news over the phone rather than by email. If the roles were reversed, you’d appreciate a personalised rejection, afford your interviewer the same. If you dealt with a number of interviewers, reach out to as many of them as possible.
When you’re turning down the position, offer reasons why. You don’t need to go into too much detail but it’s good to give the company clarity around why you’re declining the role. If you’re taking a job with a better salary or benefits tell them, but don’t use the rejection as an opportunity to start a bidding war. Be truthful but tactful. Regardless of how annoying or arrogant the interviewer may have been, don’t cite this as a reason for rejecting the job. The risk is greater than the satisfaction in this regard.
A little humility goes a long way. Thank your interviewers for their time and consideration and be as personable as possible. Tell them what you admire about the company and that you appreciate being selected over other candidates. This creates a sense of goodwill even though you’re essentially saying you’d prefer to work elsewhere. It’s not you, it’s me…
It won’t always be appropriate but if you know of someone who would be a good fit for the role, offer to make an introduction. This leaves the door open for further networking.