It’s a particularly nice problem to have – rejecting a job offer because you have been given another that you would prefer. But, like most things in life, even this most joyous of situations creates a few problems. The biggest of which is, how do you inform the other employer that you are going to reject their offer?
You will probably be feeling many emotions at this point, happy that you have been give the job you want, nervous about telling the other employer and slightly guilty for having led them up the proverbial garden path (so to speak).
It’s important now though, that you take great care with the way that you handle the situation.
For some, the temptation will be to simply ignore the other employer and hope that they get the message… but this would be a very negative and disrespectful thing to do*
*Yes, we know that you have probably found yourself waiting patiently for news of a job application you made, and never received as much as a ‘thanks for applying”, but that’s no reason to take it out on the employer who actually did want you.
Furthermore, you never know when you might be applying for a role with this company in the future, or come into contact with them on a professional manner, so making sure that you do all in your power to ensure their good opinion could save you some heartache further down the line.
To navigate the turbulent waters of this tricky situation, here’s a few points that you might want to keep in mind.
As soon as you have decided that you are not going to accept the job that you have been offered, you should inform the employer. Not only will getting it out of the way early on, give you the opportunity to celebrate getting the other one unhindered, but it shows respect and common courtesy to them.
Remember that their second choice may be waiting patiently for news of the vacancy and it’s unfair to keep them on tenterhooks longer than absolutely necessary.
When rejecting a job offer, thank the employer for their high opinion of your and for offering you the position. Express that you very much hope they find the right person for the job and thank them for their time.
Don’t be negative (unless it’s deserved)
If you are asked why you have decided to reject a job offer, or feedback on the interview process don’t be negative (unless of course you have very good reason to be). Be honest in your explanation of your decision making and avoid making crass / offhand remarks about the company.
If you have decided not to take the job based on negative aspects of the application or interview process, this is certainly something that you can broach with the employer, just be sure to frame it in such a way that it is constructive criticism rather than plain old criticism.
Email is good, but telephone is better
If you have been offered the position over the phone it is important that you try and emulate this courtesy by informing them of your intentions to reject the job over the phone as well. But if you simply can’t bring yourself to make the call, then a well worded email may suffice.
If this is the route that you take then it is very important that you give the email careful consideration before you hit ‘send’. Remember that tone and meaning can easily become obscured in written communications, so make sure that you are as courteous as possible to avoid the impression that you are flippant or disrespectful.
Be sure that in signing off the email you leave an opportunity for the employer to contact you if they should so wish, either through a follow up email or a phone call. They may not wish to do this, but it would be discourteous not to offer them the option.
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