Determine the Reasons First
Before you pick up the phone and politely decline the offer, what are the reasons for rejecting the new job? Make a list of reasons why you feel the job isn’t right for you and counter the negatives with what would be acceptable. Include things such as:
Distance – You realized it would take three hours in travel time each day—much longer than you had anticipated. Your ideal travel time is no more than forty-five minutes per day.
Salary – The salary offered is a little less than expected, but you’ve been job searching so long, it seemed good at the time. What is your salary range? How much money do you need to cover all of your living expenses? Are you looking for a job that offers bonuses for goals reached or incentives?
Job Duties – The job seemed interesting but once you accepted, you now find some of your responsibilities are too much or not enough. What types of job duties and daily tasks did you expect? What is it you really want in your career? What skills do you feel you don’t possess that would make the job hard for you? Are they skills you could learn quickly?
Growth – You forgot to talk about company-offered training and now find there isn’t any, or room for advancement is pretty slim. How important are continuing education credits, in-house training or advancing in your career at present? If these things are important to you, this may not be the job for you.
Benefits – You did briefly cover the benefits, but now that you have the job, they don’t offer spouse or family benefits. Personal and sick days are also not included. Make a list of what you need as far as benefits including retirement, healthcare, dental and why sick or personal days are necessary for you—for example, do you need a personal day here and there to go to your child’s events?
Specifics – You totally forgot the job would require you to wear uniforms and hide your tattoo. Why are uniforms a turn-off and do you feel your civil rights are being violated by hiding your tattoo even though it’s legal for an employer to ask you to? Think of other things that are job specifics or turnoffs.
Word on the Street – As soon as you told your family and friends about the job, you hear the word on the street is high turnover, bad bosses, and unfair practices. Here, you may choose to believe what you hear or not, this is a personal choice on whether or not declining the offer is the best thing to do.
The point here is by making a list of the things you don’t like about the job that are giving you reservations about accepting the job offer, perhaps certain elements can be modified via a discussion with a supervisor or human resource representative. If after looking at the pros and cons of the job, you think you might be able to negotiate, call the person who offered you the job immediately and politely discuss your concerns. Prepare to make some adjustments. For example, they may offer you the salary you want but just don’t offer personal days.
Or, if the job is really not for you, how do you turn it down without seeming like you don’t appreciate the offer?