Declining a Job Offer for Personal Reasons via Email: Things You Need to Know

There are many reasons people decline job offers. However, the commonest reason is that they got a better one. You may find yourself in a situation in which, though you are desperate for a job, you realize that you have to decline a job offer for personal reasons. This article considers effective means of declining a job offer for personal reasons via email.

A lot of companies request job applications via online portals or email. Hence, your invitation for a job interview and subsequent job offer would likely have come via email. Therefore, it is fair that when declining the job offer, that you use email also. There are certain things that you would need to keep in focus when declining a job offer for personal reasons via email. We will elucidate these factors and give tips on how to write an appropriate email.

Points to Consider before Declining a Job Offer

Why are You Declining the Job Offer?

It is important you are clear about your reason(s) for declining a job offer before sending the email. This is particularly important when you are in a difficult economy or if the type of job you are seeking for is scarce. As a professional and a responsible person, ensure your reason(s) can be explained in simple words without appearing to be unprofessional or downright lazy.

Are Your Reasons for Declining the Job Offer Genuine?

It is one thing to have a reason for declining a job offer, it is another thing for the reason to be genuine and objective. What does this mean? Since our focus is on personal reasons (other than another job offer), it means that you should be able to convince anyone that taking up the offer will bring a form of harm to you or your family. By “harm” here, we mean physical, psychological, social or any other form of harm. It could also be that a personal or family emergency came up, hampering your ability to take up the offer.


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Are there Potential Professional Consequences for Your Action?

You should be able to determine if declining a job offer in your career or professional has any consequences. Of course, no one will force you to take up a job. However, some individuals or companies may take it personally and probably use it against you in the future, one way or the other. Therefore it is important you are aware of any potential consequences.

Do the Benefits of Declining the Offer Outweigh the Potential Professional Consequences?

After being sure of your reason(s) for declining a job offer, ascertaining its genuineness and noting the potential consequences, you would need to do an important comparison. It is important to compare the benefits of declining the offer with the possible negative outcome of the decision. It is recommended that this is done objectively. If after this you still choose to decline the offer, then go ahead and write that email.

The Importance of Communicating Your Decision

It is polite to inform the company whose job offer you are declining of the choice you have made. It is unprofessional to decide not to show up for work and remain silent about your decision. By sending an email to the company that you are declining their job offer, you would enable them to quickly search for a replacement. Hence, your decision will not affect the company’s productivity.

When declining a job offer for personal reasons via email, you are actually doing yourself a favor by contacting the company. Your professional reputation would be damaged and you may completely block your chance for working in that organization in the future if you do not. Your decision to professionally decline a job offer via email with genuine personal reasons can help ensure that your professional standing is maintained.

Declining a Job Offer for Personal Reasons: Email Writing Tips

Formal Style

The entire email, from the subject line to the signature, should be written in a formal style. It is a professional (formal) email and hence it should be written as one.

Subject Line

When declining a job offer for personal reasons via email, use a simple, clear and formal subject line. The subject line should also be properly edited and well formatted. It should be written: Job Offer Decline/Position being Offered. For example, Job Offer Decline/Operations Manager.

Opening Greeting

As noted earlier, this should be formal. For example, you can write “Dear Human Resources Manager” or “Dear Sir or Madam”. It is best, however, to specifically address the person who sent the job offer email to you.

Saying Thanks

Genuinely thank the company for the job offer. When declining a job offer, showing your gratitude means a lot to the company offering you the job. For one, they will not likely feel insulted by your action. It will also help to make your reason(s) more acceptable to them. Finally, it is just good manners to say thank you.

Apologizing Honestly

When declining a job offer for personal reasons via email, you must apologize without holding back. You should bear in mind that most people accept their job offers. That means that the company will not be expecting your email. Hence, they will receive the response with some surprise and would have to make arrangement for another person. This will likely disrupt the company’s schedule or goals. Besides, you need to ensure that they are not offended by your decision.

Giving Reasons

Present your reasons as logically and as clearly as possible. Also, make sure that you keep it brief. Since your reason(s) is (are) personal, you are not obligated to disclose so much detail. It is necessary, however, to present a picture that will show that your decision is the appropriate one for you and/or your family.

Proper Closing

Your closing remark should be that of wishing the company well. Just preceding this, you should express your regrets again and appreciate them for the job offer. You may now add your signature at the end of the email.

In Conclusion

Keep the email concise and professional. Ensure it is devoid of grammatical and typographical errors by reading it through thoroughly. You may invite someone to help you peruse it as well to ensure it meets up to a professional standard.

Email Sample: Declining a Job Offer for Personal Reasons via Email

Subject Line: Job Offer Decline/Operations Manager

Dear Hiring Manager,

Thank you for giving me this great job offer. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity that you have given to me to work for your company.

I am so sorry that I will have to decline the offer.

Few hours before I got your email, I was informed that my aunt was admitted to a hospital in another state. She was just diagnosed with cancer. My presence and resources are needed immediately at the hospital because I am the only relative she has. I was informed that she may be on admission for the next three months.

I apologize for this unfortunate situation, and also for any inconvenience that my decision may have caused the company.

Thank you again for the job offer, I do not take your faith in me for granted.

Best regards,

Paula Johnson

Dr. Kelechi Duru
Dr. Kelechi Duru
Dr. Kelechi Duru is a physician with a keen interest in healthcare administration and business management. And yes, he rather writes about business than the latest clinical trials. He enjoys building castles in the air with his wife (they currently live in one) and has a wild fascination for nature.

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