How to Graciously Decline a Job Offer to Stay With Current Employer?

Congratulations if you’ve just accepted a job offer! But you also probably applied for many other jobs at the same time, and maybe you have a few other options on the table too.

You need to formally decline those offers, but the real question: how should you do that politely and without offending people who might just employ you in the future?

Business meeting

How to Decline a Job Offer to Stay With Current Employer

Declining a job offer can be challenging. It requires a mix of politeness, respect, and grace to prevent you from burning potential bridges whenever you cross paths with the people or person hiring you again.

When it comes to declining your job offer, then how should you do it? And what about if you’re doing it over the phone or by email? No matter why you’re declining, and even if you really weren’t a fan of the company, you need to know how to do it right.

Respond Quickly

First off, you do need to respond in general, and you should respond as soon as you know that you’ll be working somewhere else.

Do not say nothing and consider that good enough. You need to respond to the offer, and you need to respond in a timely manner. As tempting as it might be to say nothing or just to wait, contact the person who sent you the offer when you know what you’re doing.

Call or Email

You can decline a job offer through either method, but you should try to decline through the same medium that you were given the offer. It’s generally more considerate, especially if it’s the medium that the potential employer prefers.

This being said, if you want to ensure that you have some documentation, or if you need a moment to ensure that you’ve composed your response properly, you may want to consider email if possible.


Regardless of how you decline your offer, you need to start with the simple act of expressing your appreciation. Even if you didn’t like the salary that they offered you or you weren’t a fan of the company, you were still offered something.

You only need a simple phrase like this anyway: “Thank you very much for offering me X position with Y Company. While I greatly appreciate it…”

The Reason

Why are you declining your offer? This is a fine line to walk. You can’t say, “Because you offered me a terrible amount of money.” Even if the salary was the reason, you need to be respectful about what you say in a brief but honest explanation.

It can be as simple as “I have decided to pursue a different role that aligns more with my career plans” or maybe “Now is not the right time to resign from my current position.” You don’t even need to go into too many details at all. Just say, “After much consideration, I have decided to accept an offer from another company.”

You can give any reason, but you need to keep it simple. And if it really is the salary, you can try something like this, “I appreciate your offer at Company X, but I would like to join another company that will provide me a greater role and responsibilities along with other benefits.”


Speaking of simplicity, you never need to go into any serious amount of detail. Your email shouldn’t be more than a few paragraphs, and any phone call should only be a short minute or two.

First, take a second to express your appreciation, followed by one brief sentence on why you cannot accept the job. Use the third sentence or paragraph or offer to stay in touch or maybe ask to be considered for some future openings.

No matter what you do, though, don’t give them too much. You don’t need to fully explain why you’re rejecting the offer, and you don’t need to apologize either. Keep everything brief and generic, don’t blame anyone, just explain why the job isn’t a good fit for you. The only thing you owe them is your appreciation and that timely response.

Be Polite

As you do all this, make sure that you stay polite. Just being polite in your simplicity will help build relationships for the future—you never know when you might encounter these people again, after all.

You might also include a moment of understanding. Perhaps express that you understand that it may be difficult to replace your role quickly or that you’re sympathetic to the long hiring process. You don’t need to apologize for choosing not to take the job, but a small expression of understanding can go a long way.

Stay In Touch

You may not want to work with that company, which is why you’re declining the offer, but you should still continue your politeness by offering to stay in touch. It might feel a little odd, and even if you really don’t want to ever work with that person, offer anyway.

The job world is very small. That person might end up working for another company in the future. Or you might want to reapply for that same company for a different position. Perhaps your present company even collaborates with that one.

Ultimately, you just need to make sure that you stay on a good note with that person just in case your name comes up again, either in that company or in that field.

Business man giving pen to an employee to sign a contract

Sample Email

How To Decline a Job Offer Politely

Dear Ms. Smith,

Thank you for offering me the position of Sales Executive. I am truly honored and appreciative of your consideration.

Unfortunately, I am unable to accept the position offered. At the moment, I feel that it is not in line with the path I want to undertake to achieve my goals for my career.

I do hope we can work together and collaborate in the future.

Thank you for your time once again.
Kind Regards,
Jenna Walkins


You probably aren’t applying for one job at a time, waiting for the decision, and then applying for another one. Realistically, you’re applying for tons of jobs all at once, so when you do get a job, you’ll have to reject other offers in a timely manner. Remember to work quickly, be polite, and do everything you can to keep your options for employers open in the future.