Having Second Thoughts? How To Graciously Decline a Job Offer After Accepting It

 Having Second Thoughts? How To Graciously Decline a Job Offer After Accepting It

Have you ever experienced second thoughts after accepting a job offer? It happens or will happen at least once in your career. However, do you know how to face such unavoidable circumstances in your professional life? Let’s find out.

Today's job market is fluid for both ends, candidates and recruiters. Everyone has a lot of options to choose from. The selection process is always in an inverse pyramidal manner. It means employers select candidates first when they see the best fit for all their requirements. Similarly, the second and third options might have potential but do not necessarily tick all their boxes.

The same story goes for you as a candidate when you get invited for more than one job interview or when you receive multiple job offers. This might cause you to want to decline a job offer that you’ve already accepted for a better or more preferred job role.

Some of the consequences/things you need to consider when declining the job offer:

1.       You have already signed an employment contract or legal documents

2.       The employer does not understand or agree with your decision

3.       The employer does not or can not provide a better job offer

4.       The recruiter is making the process extremely difficult

What you need to consider:

  • Legal consequences when you have already signed the employment contract

  • You have not signed the legal contract yet, but your reputation in the job market and network of employers/recruiters can be on the line.

  • You may lose a big or valuable company/employer forever by declining a job offer after you have accepted it. This could shut the door of an opportunity to work in that company in the future.

What triggered you to change your mind?

You accepted the job offer without looking into enough details

You were feeling a bit pressured, so you accepted the job offer during the interview round before receiving the necessary details like salary, hourly rate, perks, cuts, and so on.

You have better options now

You went through several interview processes with multiple companies, but you only received a job offer from one, so you accepted it. With the lapse of time, one or two more companies that you interviewed with have finished their processes and found you the best fit - And… they have amazing company perks too!

How to Decline a Job Offer After You Have Accepted

Act swiftly:

Once you realise, the accepted job is not the right fit for you, take a firm decision to decline the offer. Don’t waste much time when it comes to contacting the company or organisation. Act swiftly and inform the concerned authority as soon as possible.

Show honesty, but tactfully:

Politely inform your recruiters on why you changed your mind so that there will be no misunderstanding. You can also use soft tactics such as... you would not fit into company culture or nonalignment of skill sets. Refrain from mentioning anything regarding the company itself or the recruitment process.

Go briefly/concisely:

Try to withhold yourself from giving a long explanation, either verbally or in writing. Only communicate significant points and most importantly be clear. 

Display gratitude:

Always show gratitude for having been given the opportunity to know the company or the recruitment team. Also, try to show that changing your mind and making this new decision after the offer was a tough thing for you to do.

Check your bottom line while renegotiating:

When you declare your changed decision, the chances are high that the company may try to renegotiate with you on some negotiable points like benefits, perks, etc. In such conditions, you have to either clarify that you are in no mood to renegotiate at all or say ‘yes’ to renegotiation.

Select the right way/channel to communicate:

In most of the cases, you can or should communicate this to the employer directly otherwise, the HR or recruitment team is okay too. A face-to-face meeting is better, but a phone call is okay in some cases. 

Learn valuable lessons:

Some companies find peace with you making your decision while some can be challenging to deal with and may choose to take legal actions. Whatever sweet or bitter experiences, make sure that you always learn a lesson from it.

Always take the time to carefully think before finalising your decision to accept a job offer. Take enough time to say ‘Yes’ to a company and request as much information as possible from the recruitment or HR team and if possible from current employees as well.

Manya Ray.jpg

Manya Ray

She is Marketing & PR Executive for Just Norfolk Jobs and has been since October 2017. Manya has a vast amount of HR & Recruitment experience coupled with her local knowledge of the Norfolk & Norwich area.