How to Turn Down a Job Offer You Already Accepted

Tips for Telling an Employer You Changed Your Mind

••• uniquely india/Getty Images

What should you do if you accepted a new job, but decided you'd rather decline? Turning down a job offer after you have already accepted can be an uncomfortable experience. However, as long as you have not signed an employment contract with the company, you are legally allowed to change your mind. It's better to decline the offer than it is to take it, then quit if you find something better or the job doesn't work out.


How to Turn Down a Job Offer You Accepted

What's the best way to let an employer know that you don't want the job after all? There are ways to turn down the offer and hopefully still maintain a positive relationship with the employer.

Below are a few suggestions for how to make the conversation as smooth as possible. Also review a sample letter or email message you can use to politely say you have had second thoughts about the job, and want to withdraw your acceptance.

Don't Wait – Let the employer know as soon as you realize you no longer want to accept the job. The sooner you let the hiring manager know, the sooner the employer can start looking for your replacement.

Be honest but tactful – Let the employer know why you changed your mind, but do so without insulting him or her, or the company. If you realized that you don't think you will get along with the other employees, simply say you do not think you would fit in with the company culture.

If you found a job that you are much more interested in, explain that you were offered a job that is more in line with your skill set. Do not say anything negative about the employer or the company.

Express gratitude – Be sure to thank the employer for the opportunity to meet and to learn about the company.

If there was anything in particular you liked about the employer or company, say so.  Explain that turning down the job was a hard decision. You do not want to burn bridges with the employer – you never know if you might want to work with them in the future.

Know your bottom line – The employer might try to negotiate with you to get you to come on board. Before speaking with the hiring manager, decide what your bottom line is. Would you stay for more pay? Better benefits? There are some benefits and perks that are negotiable. If you decide you do not want to negotiate, be clear about this with the employer. If you do opt to negotiate, know what would entice you to accept. Keep in mind that the hiring manager may not be thrilled that you are willing to counteroffer after you already said "yes" to the offer.

Method of contact – Speaking with the employer directly (either on the phone or in-person) is often the best strategy, because it allows you to explain yourself more clearly and increases your chances of maintaining a positive relationship with the employer. You should also follow up the conversation with a letter or email confirming your conversation.

If you are nervous about speaking with the employer directly, or if you are worried you will not be able to fully explain yourself over the phone, you can send a formal letter to the employer.

Below is a sample letter turning down a job offer after accepting.

Sample Letter Turning Down a Job Offer After Accepting

Firstname Lastname
123 Walnut Dr.
Barrington, IL 60011


Melissa Peterson
Financial Manager
ABC Financial Group
456 South St.
Chicago, IL 60612

Dear Ms. Peterson,

Thank you so much for offering me the position of Financial Analyst at the ABC Financial Group. It has been a pleasure speaking with you and learning more about your company.

Unfortunately, after giving a great deal of thought to this career opportunity, I have decided that it is in my best interest, as well as the company’s, to turn down your gracious job offer. I have recently decided to accept another position that I believe is a better fit for my abilities and skill set.

I am so sorry for any inconvenience my decision may cause.

I continue to be impressed with ABC Financial Group’s role in the international marketplace, and particularly with the great work you have done as manager of the company’s Midwest branch.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. I hope to see you at the upcoming Financial Management Conference in October.


Firstname Lastname (signature)

Firstname Lastname (typed)

Related Articles: How to Turn Down a Job Offer | When to Turn Down a Job Offer | Job Offer Letter Samples