How to Decline a Job or Internship That Isn’t the Right Fit

By April 15, 2022News

It’s good practice to apply to several jobs or internships to ensure you do receive an offer. If you’re lucky enough to receive offers from several companies, you’ll need to turn down all the ones you don’t want. It could be that you landed your top choice, or perhaps you realized a position wasn’t right for you as you progressed through the interview process. Whatever the case, you’ll need to be considerate in informing employers that you’ll be declining the offer. By using tact and being timely in your reply, you can maintain a good relationship with the employer and keep open the possibility of working at the company in the future.

1. Thank the Employer

Start your response by thanking the employer for offering you the opportunity. The company will have dedicated a large amount of time to interviews and the decision-making process and then chose you over the other options. Make sure you acknowledge that you are grateful the employer held you in such high regard.

2. Make Your Intentions Clear

Above all, it needs to be clear that you’re declining the position. Not being direct wastes everyone’s time and ruins your chance to maintain a good relationship with the employer. Vague language may confuse the employer, who will need to message you back — and this will result in an uncomfortable situation for you both. Plus, it means you’ll delay the employer offering the position to someone else.

3. Recommend Someone Else

It’s possible that no one else the company interviewed was suitable and that the hiring manager will be conducting another round of interviews. If you know someone who would like the position, now’s your chance to make a recommendation.

Employers often appreciate this, as it gives them another candidate without them needing to advertise, and your friends or classmates will definitely be happy if you put in a good word for them — especially if one of them ends up with an offer.

4. Stay in Touch

Tell the employer that you want to stay in touch — and be true to your word, as maintaining a connection with the company could work in your favour. Set a reminder to send another email around six months from now. You could use the chance to highlight the fact that you’ve now gained experience and would be qualified for a more senior position. Alternatively, the job or internship you do accept may not turn out as you expected or your career goals could change.

5. Message Individuals at the Company

Your initial email will likely go to the hiring manager. However, if you met others at the company or there was anyone who helped you gain the interview in the first place, make sure you reach out to them as well. Thank them for their time and let them know you want to stay in touch. They may be able to let you know about other opportunities in the future, either at the same company or elsewhere.

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