How to decline a job offer you already accepted

How to decline a job offer when you already accepted the position


You have completed a job search, applied for the job, had the interview and were offered a position. However, you realise it is not the best option to accept this position. What do you do?

This post discusses how to respectfully decline a job offer and provides templates you can use.

What you should do when you change your mind

Getting a job offer can be exhilarating, especially when it is for the company with who you interviewed with. Maybe after some second thought, you decided it's not the right role for you. Or maybe you had a better offer come through. Or simply maybe your circumstances have changed and you no longer want the position.

Fret not, as you are not obligated to accept the first role you are offered. The best thing to do is notify your employer immediately. Later in this post, we’ll go through what and how you can decline the offer after you’ve accepted it.

When to say “no” to a job offer

When you are offered a job offer, it is important to know that you are not obligated to accept the offer. You have the right to say "no" and this article will give you some tips on how to decline a job offer.

The first thing that you should do when declining a job offer is to be polite. You should thank the employer for their consideration but let them know that you will not be accepting their offer of employment.

After thanking them, you can tell them why it does not work for your personal situation or why there are other factors that make it impossible for you to take the position. This can help them understand why they were rejected and may make them more willing to keep an eye out in case something changes in the future.

How to handle a situation when you’re not ready for the next step in your career

The first step is, to be honest with the company. Explain that you are not ready for the next step in your career and that you want to decline the offer.

The second step is, to be honest with yourself. If you do not want to take on this new job, then don't accept it.

The third step is to be proactive and find out what they can offer you instead of declining their offer.

Reasons why you would decline a job offer after accepting

There are many reasons why you might need to decline a job offer. You may not be able to relocate for the position, there are better opportunities elsewhere, or you might have simply accepted the offer too hastily. Whatever your reasons for declining a job offer, it’s important to do so in a polite and respectful way.

If you are not sure about the job offer, it is best to decline it. This way, you can find a job that suits your needs better.

The reasons why people might decline a job offer after accepting it are many. Among the most common ones are:

- The work environment is not what was expected.

- The salary is not what was expected.

- The hours of work don't suit your lifestyle.

- It's located too far from home or from your family and friends.

- Better job opportunities elsewhere

- You don't feel like the company values you or shares your values and passions for work and life in general.

Before you decline your job offer consider this…

1.   Be certain!

It is important to be certain about the decision to reject the job offer and not change your mind later.

Once you accept a job offer, it is difficult to decline it. If you are not certain about your decision to reject the job offer, it is best if you don't accept it in the first place.

Consider what the advantages and disadvantages of turning down a job offer are. You may want to make a list of these pros and cons before making any decisions about whether or not you should take it.

2.   Check your contract details

If the offer was made verbally and not in a written form, you should ask for a written confirmation of the offer before accepting it and signing any documents.

Before you sign a contract, it's important to read the terms and conditions carefully. Make sure you know what termination of employment entails.

You may even find that there is a limited window of time that allows you to reject the offer of employment.

3.   Decide fast

You should carefully consider your position and make a decision quickly.

If you can let your employer know as soon as possible, they will likely be more understanding. They may also be able to find an alternative candidate who was previously interviewed quickly too.

4.   Consider alternatives

Take a second to think about whether you could accept the job offer as it is. Just because there's some aspect of the offer that you dislike, don't just write it off without considering anyways they might be able to accommodate your contract.

Before declining the offer, think about if a different salary, fewer hours or new responsibilities will affect your decision. If they do, contact the company to discuss the terms of your employment.

Working remotely or starting part-time is a great way to minimize your commute and allow yourself a better work/ life balance. You should ask about the possibility to work remotely or starting part-time if this is a solution for you.

If you are struggling with your decision, consider speaking to the employer about giving you more time. In some cases, your personal situation could change which could mean that you can start work for them in the future

5.   Show gratitude

It is important to thank your employer for the time and opportunity that they have given you. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them during the interview, and that you were impressed with their company. Focus on the positive experiences that you had with them

You may want to work with this company in the future or find your interviewer working with a different employer that you interview with so make sure they always have a positive opinion of your work.

6. Call first

Although you may be nervous about phone-calling or meeting with your employer to tell them about your job rejection, there are advantages to doing so. It will show them that you're professional and puts the onus on yourself to present your circumstances and why you made the decision. This personalises your relationship improves your chances of getting on good terms with them. After discussing the situation, you can send a formal email or letter declining the offer.

How to decline a job offer you already accepted - template

It is important to decline a job offer in a professional manner. This can be done by thanking the company for their time and consideration and then stating that you have changed your mind. You can also provide an explanation for why you have changed your mind or what led you to change your mind.

This section will give you tips on how to decline a job offer in a professional manner, as well as what not to do if you are declining an offer.

Declining letter template

Dear (name of the hiring manager and company)

Firstly, I want to thank you for the opportunity and offering of the position of (job title at the name of company).

I am sorry to let you know that I have decided to decline your offer of employment.

I appreciate the opportunity and I would like to thank you for considering me. However, after further consideration, I have decided that this is not the right position for me at this time. (Give your honest but brief explanation of your declination of the role).

Thank you again for thinking of me as a candidate and I wish you all the best in finding a suitable candidate.


[insert your name]


Whether you decide to go ahead with the role or not, use each of these experiences as a learning opportunity.

Some key points to take away with you:

If the role was unsuitable for you, maybe you could do better research before next applying for a role in the future. Find out about the company culture. Or you could read employee reviews on websites such as Glassdoor. It’s also essential you ask all the questions you need answers to during your own interview. Remember applying for a job role works in both directions. The employer wants a great candidate, but the candidate should find a great employer too.

With that being said, being in a position to decline a job offer is a great achievement in itself. Be sure to be honest with the employer. If you’ve found a better position elsewhere then don’t be afraid to tell them so. They will appreciate the honesty and be more understanding than if you made up a lie.

Remember, while you don’t owe the hiring manager anything, it’s best to maintain a professional and positive relationship. As you don’t know whether your paths may cross again in the future.

We hope you found this blog post on how to decline a job offer you already accepted useful. For more interviewing tips check out our post on, Companies with best recruitment practices.

See you next time!

5 comments on “How to decline a job offer you already accepted”

  1. Hello,

    I hope you are doing well! I am writing regarding a concern, I have already accepted an offer a week ago, and today I have received a better offer in a big company. Do you think I can decline the first offer after accepting it?

    Thank you!

  2. If you havent signed a contract then you are in a strong position to decline the offer. If you have signed a contract I suggest you contact them and make it known that you do not wish to proceed. There is usually a weeks notice clause during probation so worst case you can use that. In practice, companies will cut their losses and move on to the next candidate.

  3. Like he says in the post, consider the pros and cons; do you have a SOLID offer? Have you met with the colleagues and heads of department? Hours commute etc?
    Is it a permanent contract, what is the probation period?
    Think carefully and if all the pros add up more than the cons then reject the one you have said yes to in a professional manner. Make sure you have read the other company’s contract and your references are clear.
    Good luck/

    I am in a similar position but I don’t have yet an offer from the other companies

  4. Hi,I recently accepted a job offer at this company, and I'm meant to start on Wednesday, 1 November. But they asked me to come in for training two days before, that's Monday 30th and Tue 31st. Now last month, the same company offered me a different post, of which I accepted, started working and 3 days later I realised no it's not working for me and I left. Then this month they reached out to ask me if I'll be keen to join the department I initially wanted, then I agreed.

    Now, my previous employer has called me to come for an interview on Monday. Same day I'm meant to start training at the new company. Truth is I realise I shouldn't have resigned from my previous employer...all I need was a break for 3 months. Now I don't know what to do, cos this won't look good on my name, if I drop the new company the second time. But, I can't reject the offer without signing a new contract with my previous employer, that's risky. But then again, I don't wanna show face at the new company knowing I might resign after a few days, AGAIN.

    Please advise, thanks.

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