How to refuse an offer in the right manner

Frank Vande Voorde
  • 2 Min read

Recently I read an article written by Richard May*. I like to share with you the most important ideas from his story. I take the liberty of complementing them with my many years of experience within Human Resources.

You recently applied for a job at a company where you would like to work. But once you have completed the entire interview process, you realise that the job is not for you. And yet you got an offer to start. So what now?


Start anyway? Don't do it, nobody will last long in a place where they don't see a goal or perspective. We advise you to share your insights with the management/HR of the company concerned as soon as possible.

If you made a good impression in the interviews, it is important that you keep that impression. You do this by not wasting anyone's time and by communicating transparently with the potential future employer. It's not because you don't like this job today that there won't be any new jobs available in the future that would better fit your person, competencies or ambitions.

What is the best way to say "no" to a possible offer?

This can be done by means of a clear e-mail with the right reasons for your decision. But we believe that a personal (face to face or telephone) intervention is much more appropriate. If you had to choose between two different offers, explain honestly why you prefer to accept the other offer and not the one in your dream company.

What else can you do? For example, May advises you to suggest to the company a number of names of potential candidates that are more suited to the job requirements. The company will certainly appreciate this.

You can also give feedback about the process you have just gone through. What did you like? What would you definitely change and keep?

Tell them that you remain interested in the evolutions of the company and possible opportunities. Companies like to know people they know that "it clicks" in terms of attitude and culture.

Good luck.


Frank Vande Voorde


* Richard May has been Innovation Director at Oxford Innovation since 2015. He has many years of experience in the consultancy world and is a reference in the field of business innovation.


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