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How To Smartly Decline A Job Offer You’ve Already Accepted?

Applying for a job takes time and effort. After creating and sending the resume, one must also appear for a round of interviews before landing a job. Hence, one must have a good reason to decline the job even after receiving the offer.

Declining a job offer after accepting it is not as uncommon as you may think, and there could be several reasons for doing so. However, one must do so professionally and be mindful that the employer would have to look for a replacement after you have declined.

You may feel a little guilty while declining the job offer. It is natural, as you may think you wasted your recruiter’s time. However, it is far better to decline the job in the initial stages rather than join and continue with an unsatisfactory job, which will make things more difficult for you later.

If you do it correctly, the employer will not mind that you declined the offer after accepting it. You will also leave the door ajar for returning to the company later if you ever want to.

Can You Decline a Job Offer After Rejecting?

Can You Decline a Job Offer After Rejecting?

Suppose you do not have any legally binding contract. In that case, you can decline a job offer even after accepting it. Many applicants don’t know about it and go on to continue with the job and end up missing opportunities later.

You can reject a job offer based on “employment at will.” It applies to many states in the USA where an employee can quit a position at any time unless they have signed a contract stating otherwise. Sometimes, there are agreements of good faith, but if you do it correctly, that is usually okay.

Be mindful of your employer’s time and respect their needs. It is far better to decline the job at the beginning than go through the onboarding process and tell your employers that you won’t continue.

Not only will your employer lose money that way, but they would also have to start the hiring process all over again because, by this time, other suitable candidates may have also joined elsewhere. If you inform them soon after, they can immediately contact the other strong candidates who came after you and offer them the position.

Reasons to Reject a Job Offer After Accepting it

Reasons to Reject a Job Offer After Accepting It

There can be many reasons for declining a job offer after accepting it, and you should do it if that is best for you.

  • You learned that your job role encompasses much more than initially thought, and you are no longer okay with the salary.
  • You have to move suddenly because of family obligations.
  • You applied to multiple organizations and got a better offer from another company.
  • You learned that the company has a toxic work environment, and you no longer feel comfortable working there.
  • The work hours are too hectic, and you are expected to work overtime frequently, making you rethink your work-life balance.
  • Your job description does not match what you will be expected to do, and you feel it will not contribute towards your growth.

You can talk to your employer and try to solve some of the issues that led to your decision to reject the offer. If your boss agrees, you may not have to quit.

Things to Consider While Declining a Job Offer After Acceptance

While you can always reject a job offer after accepting it, you must take care of a few things to make the right decision.

1. Make Up Your Mind

Make Up Your Mind

You need to look into all aspects and decide to reject the offer. You will have very little time to do so, and it is important to understand all implications before you decline the offer.

Remember that once you have declined the offer, you cannot ask to have it back again. You cannot reject the offer and then call up again after a few days and ask for the job back.

Moreover, you must be very sure while speaking to your employer about the matter and be clear while doing so. It will portray that you are indecisive, and your employer may think it is best you did not join. They may also be apprehensive about working with you in the future if this goes on the records.

2. Your Finances

While there may be some good reasons for declining a job offer after accepting it, one of the biggest concerns is your finances.

Is your credit in order? Will you be able to manage your money and get by comfortably even after rejecting this offer? Will it be okay even if you do not start drawing a salary immediately? Consider these points before you decline the offer.

3. Another Job Offer

Another Job Offer

While declining a job offer after accepting it, you may have another job waiting for you. It could be the reason why you are declining the offer. However, you have to think carefully about other alternatives if there are other reasons.

What will you do after rejecting this offer? Have you applied to other companies yet? Do you have to move to another location urgently? Have you researched the job market there, and how soon will it be before you can get a job?

Or do you want to start your start-up? In that case, do you have enough to sustain yourself till it takes off? Looking into your alternatives is essential before you decline the offer.

4. Agreement Rules

Suppose there was a written agreement when you accepted the offer initially. In that case, you must go through it thoroughly before rejecting it. Go through it thoroughly to ensure nothing in it can land you in legal trouble if you reject the offer.

If you need clarification on any clauses, then ask the HR. Even if there was no written agreement and only verbal acknowledgments, it is still a good idea to speak openly and honestly about your reasons to avoid any false notions about you in the industry.

5. Be Quick

Be Quick

If you have second thoughts about the job offer and want to reject it, you should do it by the first week or before the date of your formal joining.

Your employer must look for a replacement once you decline the offer. Being mindful of your employer’s needs is a sign of professionalism, and your recruiters will appreciate you for it.

How to Reject a Job Offer You Have Already Accepted?

Instead of simply not turning up on the day of your joining, you should be professional about informing your employer that you will have to turn down the offer, even though you accepted it initially.

Since you may be looking for jobs in the same industry after that, you should ensure the recruiters do not form a negative impression about you. Here is how you can do it.

1. Speak in Person First

Always speak to your hiring managers or employers about your decision before telling anyone else in the office. Always talk to them first; to do so, call the office and request an appointment.

Speak to your boss about why you have to reject the offer, and then tell them you will also send an email confirming it. It makes the interaction more personal, and your employer will appreciate that you spoke to them first.

2. Write an Email

Write an Email

After speaking to your employer in person, send an email confirmation that you will not be joining the company, although you accepted the offer. Since you have already stated your reasons to your employer while speaking to them, you do not have to go into much detail in the email, especially if it is too personal.

Be formal in your approach, but avoid sounding too sorry or guilty about your decision. It should not look like you are regretting your decision or second-guessing yourself.

3. Be Grateful

It’s of paramount importance. Just because you are not going to be a part of the company anymore, do not sound complacent and forget to express your gratitude that the company offered you the job in the first place. Some candidates do this when they get a better offer from other companies.

If circumstances had been otherwise, you would have liked to be a part of the team very much. However, you should always thank your employer and express gratitude for giving you the opportunity. Showing appreciation goes a long way and establishes you as a humble and professional person.

4. Be Truthful

Be Truthful

Be honest about your reasons as to why you are declining the offer even after accepting it. Sometimes, your employer might even try to fix the issues so that you change your mind about rejecting them and start working for the company instead.

Since you may continue working in the same industry, honesty always helps. You won’t have to worry about covering your statements later; it makes things much more transparent and easier.

5. Talk About the Future

By being polite, professional, and honest, you leave the door open to applying to the company later. It’s especially true if you had to reject the offer mostly due to personal reasons like family matters or because you had to move unexpectedly.

In such cases, you can always tell your employer that although you have to decline the offer, you will gladly apply again and express your interest in working for the company if a vacancy arises.

Your employer will also remember your professional attitude, which could open up new possibilities.


You never know what can happen in the future. Although you may have to decline a job offer you have already accepted, you could want to return to it someday. Even if you don’t, it is always a good idea to think things through about a sensitive matter such as this.

Being polite and honest will always open new opportunities for you. Whether it is a start-up or a multinational corporation, employers expect courtesy and professionalism from those they offer jobs. You will only create a good image for yourself if you follow the protocol while declining the job offer.