How Do I Turn Down a Job?

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.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

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.

Don’t Let the Job Description Scare You – It’s Just a Suggestion

How many times have you seen a job description and thought “there’s no way I’ll get that job?”  Did you think “I don’t have the skills or education?”  You were probably saying to yourself “I won’t get an interview or get hired.”  I know the feeling. I have been there many times myself.

When employers post jobs and the qualifications of their ideal candidate, it is just a suggestion.  They are telling you what they would like to have in an “ideal” candidate.  For every job that I have ever gotten, I probably only had about 50% of the requirements.  A lot of times you are your own worst enemy and talk yourself out of a perfectly obtainable job.  The worst thing that could happen is you apply for it and don’t get it. Well that’s the way it is right now….you don’t have the job.  So you have absolutely NOTHING to lose.  You only have something to gain.

Now of course, if the job is requiring 5 – 7 years experience and you only have 1 -2 then maybe you shouldn’t apply but if you have at least 4 years, I would definitely apply.  You are in close proximity to what they are looking for and if you can convince them that you have a good foundation, can be trained and they like you then you have a good chance of getting the job.

Don’t let the job description intimidate you.  Go ahead and apply….it’s just a suggestion.

Several years ago I applied for a job in which I only had about 45 – 50% of what they were looking for.  Of course, I was nervous about the interview and what they might ask me but I made a special point to ask lots of questions and take lots of notes.  Many of the questions they asked me in the interview were about my experience.  I honestly told them that my knowledge was limited but I assured them I could learn it very quickly. I didn’t feel like the interview went very well but I did the best I could and got through it.  Eventually I got the job and needless to say, I was very shocked!!  During my first week I asked my supervisor what made them hire me. She said,  “Well, you really didn’t have all of the qualifications that we were looking for, but you asked good questions in your interview.  So we thought that if we hired you, you would continue to ask good questions  and learn to do your job very well.”  Wow!  So they were willing to overlook my lack of qualifications because I showed interest in the job.

At another job, I was a manager for a number of years and used to look for certain qualities and experience in my “ideal” candidates.  When I didn’t find 100% what I was looking for, I went to the next best thing and that was the person who was the MOST qualified.  I offered the job to the person who had a good foundation to come in a learn what I needed them to know.  No one I interviewed during those 4 years ever had  EVERYTHING I was looking for.

So again, don’t be intimidated by the job description and your ‘lack’ of qualifications.  Go ahead and apply for the job….the requirements are just a suggestion.