Your letter turning down a job offer will vary depending on your reasons for declining. In all cases, however, you want the letter to be polite and professional. You don’t want to needlessly damage your reputation or burn your bridges with the company. You never know, at some point in the future, you may want to apply for a job with the same firm.
Before turning the job down, however, you need to be sure you really don’t want it. If, for example, you like the job and the only sticking point is the salary, before telling the company that you are not interested, you should try negotiating for higher pay.
If the Company is Not Right for You
If after interviewing you find you just don’t like the company – its people, culture, way of doing things – a simple letter thanking the hiring manager for the offer and telling them the company is not the right fit is enough.
There is no need to get into details about what you find wrong with the company as this would probably be counterproductive.
If the Pay is Inadequate
You may like the job but find the pay too low. If you have tried to negotiate a higher salary but have been unsuccessful and the job just does not pay enough, send a letter again thanking the company for the opportunity, reiterating your interest in the job, but explaining that you have to turn it down because the salary is not enough.
This response may push the company into making a better offer. You should plan for this possible response and be prepared to make a counteroffer.
The Rejection Letter
At a minimum, a rejection letter needs to contain a statement conveying your gratitude for the job offer and a statement of your rejection. Send the letter to the person who interviewed you. Also, include your contact information.
Again, there is no need to go into detail about why you are turning down the job, especially since criticism may ruffle some feathers. You should, however, give some brief mention as to why you are rejecting the offer – because you accepted another offer, because you have decided to remain at your current job, or because the job doesn’t fit with your overall career goals, for example. Keep your explanation short.