Declining An Employment Offer

A few months ago, I blogged about rejection and the various reasons why a recruiter may reject a candidate. This time around I’m discussing rejection from a different perspective, the recruiter perspective, because rejection is a two way street. Not every candidate that I offer a position to accepts. I made three employment offers to candidates I loved last month, who unfortunately declined.

Their reasons for declining varied and you may one day be like them, on the receiving end of a job offer that unfortunately you don’t want to accept.

If that happens to you, may I suggest you:

Call Your Recruiter

If you’ve advanced to the offer stage, then I assume you’ve probably built a strong relationship with your recruiter. Respect that relationship and give them a call.  I recognize that telling a recruiter that you don’t want the job they offered may be intimidating, but I encourage you to choose to deliver the news via phone instead of email. This action will ensure that the relationship between you and the recruiter remains positive. You never know what the future may hold, and you want the relationship to be one where either party would feel comfortable reaching out to each other if a future opportunity presents itself.

Be Honest

I appreciate those candidates who are honest with me regarding the reason they’re declining an offer. You may be surprised to hear that a recruiter wants to know why you’re declining, but the reasons for the decline are valuable information. This feedback can help a recruiter and the company they work for be even more attractive and competitive in the future. Most recruiters and companies keep track of these reasons and consider them when modifying programs, benefits, or compensation structures.

Consideration Time

A company will give you a certain amount of time to consider their offer. If possible, try to make your decision within that time frame.  It’s acceptable to ask for more time to decide if needed, but if you know that the overall offer doesn’t meet your expectations or the position doesn’t interest you, let your recruiter know!

Don’t keep them waiting because you’re afraid another offer or better offer from a different company won’t come along. Recruiters are responsible for filling open positions and the longer you wait to notify them of your decision, the harder it may be for them to find another candidate for the role. Stringing a recruiter along will only create bitter feelings. Refer to Lebron James and his prolonged decision not to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers if you need an example.

Say Thank You & Keep In Touch

It’s always a nice touch to tell the recruiter how much you appreciate their consideration. Although the opportunity may not have been the right one for you at this time, I’m sure there were merits to the company or reasons why you felt the company interested you. Referencing these reasons, expresses to the recruiter how seriously you considered their offer and I’m sure they would appreciate knowing that your decision to decline the offer wasn’t an easy one.
Lastly, keep in touch with the recruiter.  Send them an email every once in awhile or connect with them via LinkedIn. Keeping the lines of communication open between the two of you may prove to be beneficial in the future.



Ronisha is one of Hyatt’s College Recruiting Managers.  Hyatt’s College Recruiters visit more than 30 college campuses each year recruiting top talent at hospitality programs across the country.  A graduate of The Ohio State University, Ronisha begin her Hyatt career as a Human Resources Corporate Management Trainee.  During her ten years with Hyatt, she has worked at Hyatt Hotels in Orlando, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey.  To learn more about opportunities with Hyatt please visit, follow Hyatt on twitter @hyattcareers, become a Hyatt Facebook fan at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts Careers and follow the Campus Recruiter blog at

Related posts:

  1. Think Before You Reject a Job Offer
  2. What NOT to do After Receiving an Offer
  3. What Questions Do You Have For Me? Part II

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