How to reject a job offer correctly

How to reject a job offer correctly

When it comes to a new job, we usually think full of pleasant anticipation about the particular job we have applied for. We were even in the second round of the job job interview and are now waiting full of hope for the call with the promise! And then it could start right away in the new dream job.

Reasons for the rejection
Sometimes, however, the reality is quite different. We get the approval from the company, but suddenly find ourselves in a situation where we don't want the job that read so promisingly in the job advertisement. There are many reasons for this.

The job contents
Of course, companies try hard to make a job description sound interesting. Sometimes, however, they also go over the top and distance themselves too much from the real content of the position to be filled. Result: As applicants, we suddenly notice during the interview that the tasks don't really suit us. Or that they match our portfolio of skills and experience, but that the new position is not a step forward for us.

Worst-case scenario, it's even a step back. We may notice that we would be underchallenged in this position. Even a reasonable salary cannot compensate for that. Because sooner or later a simple underchallenge will turn into a dull feeling of boredom, in which the hours simply won't pass, which in the long run will have negative consequences for the quality of our work, our satisfaction, but also for our entire mental performance.

It is also possible, however, that we may feel overwhelmed by the package of tasks that has been promised. Learning new things and growing in skills and responsibility is sound and desirable, but if the distance to the previous level becomes too great, such a challenge can quickly turn into stress.

Not desirable, yet it happens: Even after one or more interviews, we still don't have a clear picture of the new job, the tasks, the responsibilities, the structures. If we still haven't been able to clearly define what to expect by the time we are offered the contract, the alarm bells go off. Because such an unstructured nature will presumably generally be found in the company or in the team. An environment in which we would waste a lot of energy in the future with useless definition and explanatory work.

The working environment
Since work is never just work but is always embedded in the context of a company and a team, this factor also plays an important role. You can only partially see how a team works in the first contact and in the interview, but often enough the gut feeling tells you whether you would feel comfortable in the environment or not. In general, the chemistry should be right. So if we basically have a negative feeling about the idea of working there - after all, you go there every day and usually spend a third of the day in the office - this is a bad prerequisite for good cooperation.

The contract
But even the contract itself can suddenly give us reason to question the new job, which is within our grasp, and to reconsider the matter. If there are clauses that have not been discussed in any way before, or if topics are not recorded as agreed, we get justified doubts, also about the credibility of our contact person. In most cases he will eventually be our superior in the new job.

Payment is a subject close to the contract. Surely we already talk about salary expectations in the interview, and the company will also let a general line shine through, if not concrete figures. In this case, we assume that our desired salary corresponds to our qualifications, experience, market and location. However, if the company in which we want to take up the new job does not come close to our desired salary in any way, but undercuts us to an unsatisfactory level, we are forced to weigh up the opportunities offered by the job against economic dissatisfaction.

All such considerations must therefore be made before we accept the new job and sign the contract. If, however, in a number of these points, we actually perceive what we do not expect from our job, we should rather reject the job offer and reject the contract than get involved into something that cannot end well for us.

But how do I correctly notify the company of my rejection?
To begin with, it is our right to reject a contract offer. We are the applicant and have offered ourselves and our skills to the company during the application process. However, we are not yet in any relationship with the company, which entails concrete obligations. Nevertheless, you should follow certain conventions when it comes to rejecting a job offer.
Since we don't know whether we will have to go back to the same company for another position, or whether we will meet the contact person again at a later date, or whether he or she may be networked with other people whom we get to know in our further application process - it is important that we are professional until the end of the process.

The addressee and the time
We contact our contact person from the interview writing e-mail or by telephone. Addressing a refusal to someone else, such as the secretary or the person you just got on the phone by chance, would simply be wrong and does not show respect. We should not postpone this call or e-mail either. Nothing changes for us. However, the sooner we notify the company of our decision to reject, the more time they will have to concentrate on the application process again and find another suitable candidate for the position.

The reason and the tone
In our decision-making process, we have developed reasons that ultimately speak against the job offer. We should also briefly inform our contact person of these reasons. Honesty is always the best recipe, instead of us coming up with flimsy justifications and thus no longer appearing credible in the end. The whole refusal and also the reason should be presented objectively. Even if we are perhaps disappointed by the behaviour of the other party or by the contents of the contract, we must not take this as an opportunity to express personal envy and malicious joy in front of our contact person.

At the end we give our thanks again for the offer and remain professional in all our formulations.
But we don't have to have a guilty conscience. For us it is now a matter of finding a new suitable job offer.