“I have never found myself in such a dilemma and almost glad. Since my 20s, I have come a long way.

However, this is the first time I have rejected a job offer in my ten years of career. Upon leaving my last job, I really went ham! I applied to too many jobs and interviewed for three.  

Liked one, disliked the other two. Hence, I need to know how to respectfully decline a job offer. I won’t disclose the reason why I will be (I don’t even want to tell them; probably my years of people’s pleasing nature have brought me here).  

However, I am also professionally not a big fan of leaving it high and dry and letting them figure out I won’t be coming.

On my first phone call when I was offered the job, I informed both the HRs about requiring a little more time. Now, the time has come to reject the offers. 

I am confused about whether I should call. Or send a detailed email? Do I really need to mention the reasons in detail?

I really wish you could help me understand this socially awkward person and what corporate workers who have done this before have to say about this.” 

This is a very intriguing question, and the internet has a lot to say about this. Most importantly, many blogs out there give a very straightforward answer. How to respectfully decline a job offer?  

Simply tell them you won’t be joining their team. 

So simple!  

However, is it that simple? Especially if you are a “socially awkward” person for whom even sending an email rejecting an offer can be jarring. Fear of judgment is real, after all!

Therefore, in this excerpt below, we will give you a detailed overview of what to do when you reject two major job offers.  

Hopefully, I will be able to give you a proper answer to your query and give you a few real-life examples of job rejection emails.  


Let Me Clarify Something  

You do not always have to call to reject a job offer. You can well do it respectfully over the phone. A good, well-formatted email stating your genuine reason should do the job.  

However, if you have had a good conversation with your manager or the HR of the company, and they have invested some time in understanding your requirements and explained your job role well, then calling is the decent thing to do.  

Considering that that person has invested some time and emotion into bringing you on board, having the decency to call for the most professionalism is necessary.  

On the other hand, if you have social anxiety, calling someone can trigger anxiety. We will be discussing later about this phenomenon briefly.

Thus, not every opportunity has to be, for all intents and purposes has to be a playground for you to break your social anxiety. If formulating a proper email seems more of your forte, you can do so.  

In this excerpt below, we will be giving your scenarios and the seven most well-known tips to respectfully decline a job offer via email and call.  

Seven Best Ways to Answer How to Respectfully Decline a Job Offer.

I have gone around the internet and even asked a few people whether they have ever had to reject a job offer. Yes, for many, it is still a luxury; they are not there yet in their career!  

However, some had to, and moreover, they always had a good experience.  

So, compiling these ideas, we are not bringing you the best answer out there.  

True and tested! NET 

The Quicker, the Better!  

When it comes to deciding whether you want to accept or reject a job offer, the right time is to do it immediately.  

Emily from New York comments, “You shouldn’t wait too long. Whoever took your interview and planned everything before sending you that job offer is somewhat emotionally invested. Therefore, keeping them waiting is unprofessional.”  

I do have to agree with that!  

If you have received the offer, and you know you wouldn’t be taking it, let them know. Procrastination will become your worst enemy.  

For this, you must be sure of what you want. You cannot keep a corporation hanging because you have yet to decide.  

Therefore, if you have planned to not take their offer, or you don’t know yet –  

Take a deep breath, decide, and then shoot that mail.  

One Thanks Can Go a Long Way!  

Of course, your first decision is not to take that offer. However, that doesn’t mean you should be okay with putting a bitter impression on yourself.  

Therefore, if you are crafting a mail, always remember to begin with gratitude and sprinkle one at the end.  

Do not try to make it look pretentious!  

For example, ‘thank you for calling me back. I am sure I could have done a lot with the opportunities the company offered. However, I won’t be taking your job offer.’  

If I was the manager, I would have been filled with indignation. The tone sounds pompous and dismissive.  

How about framing it as such,  

“I am thankful for the time you have taken in considering my candidacy. The opportunities the company offered were indeed great. However, unfortunately I won’t be able to accept the offer for…”  

Then, you specify genuine reasons.  

This is authentic and helps you acknowledge the effort that has gone forth from the potential company’s side as well. Automatically places you in the good books of the company, in case you ever reconsider the job again.  

Questions Will Come Your Way!  

Whether you are sending them a formal mail or making a proper phone call, questions will come your way, especially if the job application is for a serious managerial position.  

Do not get nervous. Chances are your CV and interview were on point. Hence, they are trying to negotiate to get you on board. Therefore, if your social anxiety is bothering you to the point that you are asking how to respectfully decline a job offer over the Internet, take something good from this.  

Some of the questions that might come your way.  

Do you have any other job offers lined up? If so, could you please elaborate on the reason for choosing them over our corporation?  

This could be a tricky question, and you do not always have to take the honest route. However, whatever the answer is, you should be prepared with reasoning.  

However, it is not a trial, and you could politely decline to answer any question. This will give them a clear indication that you are not interested in answering any more questions.  

We can give you a salary hike of “so” %  

This is not a question but more of a statement. Therefore, you should be ready to decline if this is not a job you absolutely require. It might sound tempting, but you should be aware of any company that suddenly offers a big hike upon witnessing a rejection.  

It is either you are very good at your job, or they might try to milk this excuse later when putting you under a lot of work pressure.  

Why did you inform us so late?  

Unless you are rejecting the offer right when they call you or a few hours after, this question might come your way. However, do not panic!  

Professionally answer them, stating that you are not a hasty decision-maker and want more time. Seeing that you have already informed them about allowing you a little more time, you should be out in the clear.  

If an HR or a manager is pestering you too much, it is unprofessional from their end.  

A netizen once complained about an HR sending her an invoice for $50. Upon enquiring, HR gave a passive-aggressive statement about her being “unprofessional” for rejecting a job, and the $50 was compensation for wasting the company’s time.  

Now, this is a worst-case scenario, and it might not even happen. However, if something like this does happen, remember!  

You are not contractually obligated to accept a job offer.  


Rejecting one is not a punishable offense and surely not “unprofessional.”  

If you are dealing with any such individual upon respectfully rejecting a job offer, it is a good thing you are rejecting!  

Shoot At The Target, You Do Not Have To Make The Bull’s Eye When It Comes To Reasons 

Yes, we all feel slightly guilty when we have to provide the reason for our rejection. You definitely have to mention some reason, but there is no need to pay super attention to details.  

Remember, you owe them a professional reply, a mild justification, but not your full life story.  

If judgment still comes your way, it cannot be your fault! (Unless you are literally calling them to reject a position a week after, and they have called you a few times to get the answer.)  

You do not need to be too specific about your rejection letter.  

If it is another job, simply give them a brief. However, if the reasons are hostile, and you are rejecting the job for noticeably poor company culture, then too much honesty can be called a nuisance.  

Afterall, you are not there to be the torchbearer of company culture. Or to teach them what is right and wrong.  

To be honest, you are not the first person lying in your rejection letter.  

The objective is to not keep them waiting and waste their time. If the problem is poor salary, you can always mention the industry standard while politely declining the offer.

Other than that, you do not have to write a novella out of your guilty conscience. Clearly, it is not your job to make everyone happy.  

To Phone Or Not To Phone!  

Coming to the million-dollar question when talking about how to respectfully decline a job offer. There are indeed a few things to keep in mind when deciding on either.   

You can begin by judging what the interview was like and how invested both parties were.  

Ask the following questions to yourself –  

  • Did you have a good, interactive conversation with the Manager/HR?  
  • Was the person keen and eager about your candidacy? Was the person showing enthusiasm toward getting you on board?  
  • How was the negotiation process? Was the person cordial and understanding?  

If you are ticking a yes for all the following, the decent thing to do is to give this individual a call. Certainly, they are quite emotionally invested in your candidacy.  

However, if your interaction was quite surface level, a polite, professional email will do the job.  

Clarification Is the Key  

I know I have already spoken about how to frame the reasoning for your rejection.  


That can sometimes get lost in translation!  

When I meant not giving the full extent of the reason, I didn’t mean to keep it foggy. Or beat around the bush. Confidence is the key when you want to professionally reject anything, not just job offers.  

This shows that you are determined and decisive about what you want, and you know how to keep it crisp and clear.  

Therefore, no matter how much of the reason you disclose, be clear about it.  

For example, if you are rejecting a job for lack of time flexibility, mention that with clarity. You do not, however, have to mention why you have that time flexibility in your life.  

Don’t Burn Any Bridges  

Last but definitely not least!  

When asking how to respectfully decline a job offer, I am guessing you still wish to be cordial with the company afterward.  

There could be a plethora of reasons behind it.  

  • You are getting the chance of an interview due to a recommendation from an employee within the corporation.  
  • Might know people within the organization who are at a senior level.  
  • It could be a big corporation that you might consider again.  

These are just a few, but there could be a lot more.  

Therefore, there is no point in burning the bridges and having a hostile relationship with the corporation.  

When deciphering how to respectfully decline a job offer, these are the three rules you should always keep in mind.  

  • Be gratuitous.  
  • Decent behavior is a lifesaver.  
  • You shouldn’t have to give in to guilt-tripping.  

Social Anxiety Can Be a Nuisance  

When reading your question about how to respectfully decline a job offer, I couldn’t help but wonder about one terminology.  

Social Anxiety!  

With my limited knowledge, people who suffer from social anxiety tend to lean towards pleasing people. This stems from the fear of being judged and feeling too guilty.  

So, you are not alone in your journey. However, if you really want to work on it, here are some of the ways many work towards eradicating it.  

Disclaimer: I am not a professional, and these are not medical solutions. If your social anxiety gets severe, you should go to a professional to get intricate help. However, these are holistic activities that, according to my research, have helped many.  

Understand Your Anxiety: Take time to identify and understand the specific situations or triggers that cause your social anxiety. This self-awareness is crucial for developing targeted strategies.  

Set Realistic Goals: Start with small, achievable social goals. Gradually increase the difficulty of these goals as you become more comfortable. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small.  

Practice Mindfulness: Learn and practice mindfulness techniques to stay present in the moment. Mindfulness can help you manage anxious thoughts and focus on the current situation rather than worrying about the future.  

Challenge Negative Thoughts: Pay attention to negative thoughts and beliefs about social situations. Challenge these thoughts and then try to turn them into positive ones. Therefore, taking some good out of it. 

Breathing Exercises: Practice deep breathing exercises to help manage physical symptoms of anxiety, such as shallow breathing and increased heart rate. Slow, deep breaths can calm your nervous system.  

Gradual Exposure: Gradually expose yourself to social situations that make you anxious. Start with less challenging situations and progressively move to more complex ones. This helps desensitize you to the anxiety triggers.  

Social Skills Training: Consider seeking social skills training to improve your interpersonal skills. This can boost your confidence in social interactions and help you feel more at ease.  

Positive Visualization: Visualize positive outcomes in social situations. Imagine yourself confidently navigating social interactions and focusing on the positive aspects of socializing.  

Seek Support: Talk to friends, family, or a mental health professional about your social anxiety. Having a support system can provide encouragement, understanding, and valuable perspectives.  

Join Social Groups: Engage in activities or groups that align with your interests. Shared interests can provide a natural foundation for conversation and help you connect with others more easily.  

Role-playing: Practice social interactions through role-playing with a friend or therapist. This can help you become more comfortable with common social scenarios.  

Hopefully, I was able to give an elaborate answer to your question. Will be eagerly waiting for an update!  

If my other readers have something to add, please do so in the comment section below. 

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sibashree bhattacharya
Sibashree has been into SEO and eCommerce content writing for more than 9 years. She loves reading books and is a huge fan of those over-the-top period dramas. Her favorite niches are fashion, lifestyle, beauty, traveling, relationships, women's interests, and movies. The strength of her writing lies in thorough research backing and an understanding of readers’ pain points.

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