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How can I turn down this job offer without sounding rude?

Friday February 28 2020

It is better to decline the offer at this stage than discovering later that you have joined an organisation that hardly meets your career expectations.

It is better to decline the offer at this stage than discovering later that you have joined an organisation that hardly meets your career expectations. FILE PHOTO 

Q: I recently applied for a job, went through the interview, and got the job. However, I changed my mind after receiving the offer letter because after conducting extensive research on the company, I realised that my values cannot allow me to work there. What is the best way to tell the recruiters that I won’t take the job?

Delivering negative information to others often presents a challenge due to the high probability that you will cause disappointment. In your situation, a tactless negative response could portray you as a disdainful individual who has no qualms disparaging the organisation in question. The recruitment process usually involves time and financial resources, and organisations therefore try to avoid going back to the drawing board to find a replacement after identifying a suitable candidate.

The recruitment process, including the interview, is an opportunity for an organisation to select a suitable candidate, and for the candidate to gauge the suitability of the organisation. An organisation should therefore not assume that every suitable candidate will automatically be willing to join its workforce, just as candidates should not expect that they must be found fitting by an organisation.

It is positive that you have done further research on this organisation, as it is better to decline the offer at this stage while you still have a job, than discovering later that you have joined an organisation that hardly meets your career expectations. The organisation would also prefer to know early whether the preferred candidate is dissatisfied with the opportunity offered, rather than investing resources in someone who is neither settled nor likely to stay with the organisation. While it may be disappointing to decline the offer, your response is likely to be appreciated and respected.

Consider setting up a face-to-face meeting with the recruiter during which you express gratitude for the opportunity granted, and indicate that upon further consideration, you will not be taking up their offer. Dissonance between your values and that of an organisation does not make the organisation bad, it simply means that it is unsuitable for you. On the other hand, if an organisation does not offer a candidate a career opportunity, it does not mean that the candidate cannot find fortune elsewhere.

As you decline the offer, aim to leave a positive impression with that organisation. You never know where you might meet the individuals you interacted with in future. The world is a small place.

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Fred Gituku, Human Resources Practitioner ([email protected])

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