Is It OK to Decline a Job Offer?

You’ve looked for a job for a while, and your recruiter has been incredibly supportive, helping you find interviews in your industry. Now you have a job offer, and you realize you don’t want it. Do you have the right to feel this way? Shouldn’t you take whatever offer you can find? The job market still isn’t the best, and does it have to be a perfect match? They want you — shouldn’t you take the offer and run with it?

  • The short answer. Yes, it’s acceptable to decline a job offer if you truly view it as a mismatch. In fact, a 2011 study done by the Household, Income, and Labor Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) discovered that having a job you hate is worse for your mental health than unemployment. On one hand, beggars can’t be choosers. On the other, creating a labor force filled with employees simply collecting a paycheck and counting minutes every day doesn’t make for a very strong workforce.
  • Be honest with your recruiter. Consider your recruiter an employment matchmaker — their job hinges on finding compatibility between company and candidate. If you’ve had the interview, asked your questions, and still feel it wouldn’t work for you, let them know. However, avoid nitpicking. If, for example, they offer you $45,000 per year and you absolutely refuse to go below $50,000, you may find yourself shutting out some great opportunities. But if you have a range of $40,000 to $50,000 and they offer $35,000, you don’t have to take it. That also allows the recruiter to find a better fit.
  • Decline gracefully. Acknowledge the offer verbally (do NOT text or email), thanking them for the offer and their time, and ask when they need a response by. Call the recruiter and decline the offer, saying you’ve thought carefully about it and feel grateful for the opportunity, but you need to continue your search elsewhere. Acknowledge again the time and effort they put into working with you, and if you feel it’s appropriate, say you’d like to leave the door open for future opportunities. Keep it short and upbeat. End the conversation with the employer with tact and professionalism — you never know what may happen later.

When declining an offer, do so after careful consideration…but know you do have that option. To find a job that will be the best fit for you, reach out to the experienced recruiters at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks.