The key is to be professional and put yourself in the employer’s shoes. Remember, he has gone through a long, rigorous process and in the meantime that workload for the open position has gone undone in his office. He has a void to fill and probably needs to fill it pretty quickly. He most likely received 100+ resumes for the position, conducted 5 – 6 phone interviews and selected you and 2 others to come on site for an interview. Out of all those potential candidates, he picked YOU.
So, it is very important that you do this professionally and don’t burn any bridges. You never know, you may want to work for this employer or do business with them in the future. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1) DO IT ASAP
You want to do it as soon as possible so the employer can extend the job offer to the #2 candidate. Again, put yourself in the employer’s shoes. You would appreciate a speedy response if it were you, so reply to them quickly. Pick up the phone and call the employer as soon as you know you will not be accepting the job offer.
2) THANK THEM FOR THE OFFER
You want to make sure you thank them for thinking enough of you to extend the offer even though you have decided not to take the job. It’s just nice to be nice.
3) BE HONEST
You don’t have to go into a lot of detail about why you are turning down the job, but you can let them know that you have accepted another job or just don’t feel that the job is the right one for you at this time.
4) PUT IT IN WRITING
They extended the job offer to you in writing so when you turn the job down, put it in writing as well. Putting it in writing after you have made the initial phone call is just being professional. Also, they will have it on file if they need to give it to Human Resources.
HERE’S AN EXAMPLE:
Dear Mr. Jones:
Thank you for extending to me the opportunity to join your team as a Marketing Analyst. While I am appreciative of your offer and admire the work that your company does, I do not feel that it is the best fit for me at this time. I have accepted another job offer which I feel more closely meets my career goals. Thanks again for the job offer and opportunity to meet your team and learn more about your company.
5) STAY CONNECTED
It is a good idea to connect with them on LinkedIn just to keep them in your network. They may want to offer you a job in the future or you may want to apply for another job in the future.