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Why you MUST reject a job offer gracefully
Sunder Ramachandran
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August 23, 2006

A premier news channel recently highlighted a new trend in the job market. Many young professionals are flooded with multiple job offers from various companies, giving them more options to choose from. This is good news for the candidates, but not necessarily for the employers.

Candidates often play it safe by accepting all offers, then choose the most lucrative one of the lot. In the process, they do not inform the companies they have rejected of their decision. Many candidates (especially in the IT industry) just do not show up on the proposed joining date. Obviously, the disappearing act proves inconvenient for the company.

"While you are excited about taking that dream offer, it is your professional responsibility to intimate other employers who also offered you a job," says Shashank Dixit, CEO of Pune-based Krawler Networks.

It could be the compensation, job profile, location or perhaps all of them, but saying 'No' appropriately will make sure the organisation keeps its doors open for you in future.

Be quick to say No

Intimate the organisation as soon as you have made your decision. Send an e-mail or letter addressed to the HR manager at least 7-10 days prior to your date of joining. The company may be counting on you to fill that opening, so this kind of advance notice will help them plan a back-up or offer the same position to someone else.

Be friendly, but firm

You do not need to feel guilty about not joining a company. Do not beat around the bush and be apologetic. Let them know you have decided not to take up their offer. Thank each person who interviewed you, and wish them and their company continued success.

"The job market, especially for techies, is overvalued. The bubble will burst soon, so it's time they rolled up their sleeves and got professional," says Shashank.

Keep it short and positive

If you are declining a job offer because you have accepted another, it is okay to say so. However, do not rub it in by saying, "I must decline your job offer, because I've already accepted a better one," or "I have accepted a job that pays better," or "I don't think I can meet all your expectations," or "I don't think your organisation is the best fit for me."

You can show your gratitude, but avoid mentioning details of the position you're accepting. Let the HR manager know you were impressed by the organisation and have carefully considered the offer, but you are accepting a position that better suits your career objectives.

The company already realises your value (which is why it has made you an offer), so don't tout your credentials and accomplishments. Keep your letter short and sweet.

A sample letter

Dear Mr Sharma,

Thank you for offering me the position of Marketing Manager. I appreciate your efforts in explaining the career advancement and growth opportunities in your company.

After careful consideration, I regret I must decline your offer as I have accepted another opportunity that is more in line with my career goals. I greatly appreciate the time and effort that you and Mr Dayal invested in interviewing me.

Wishing you and the organisation continued success.

Yours sincerely,

Anita Bali
(Mobile no)

Address: XXXXX

Get professional. And don't leave a bitter taste in the mouth of any potential employer.

-- The author is a training consultant and freelance writer based in New Delhi.

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