7 tips to politely tell a recruiter you are not interested in a position
You don't know how to tell a recruiter that you are not interested in the position that they are offering you. And you don't want to come off as rude or insincere.
It is recommended to unequivocally tell a recruiter that you are not interested in the position they are offering you when you are 100% certain in your decision. Just be polite and respectful when you tell them and give them your honest reasons for rejecting the position in case they ask you.
Don't worry, you are not going to hurt the feelings of the recruiter by being honest. In fact, it would be far more disrespectful to lie to them or to ghost them altogether.
Here you will find everything you need to know on how to reject the positions you are being offered and still remain on good terms with the various recruiters you encounter while job-hunting.
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How to tell a recruiter you are not interested in a position
There are certain things that you can do in order to minimize the impact your position rejection will have on recruiters. Here is what you can do.
1. Inform the recruiter as soon as possible
The best possible thing that you could do is to tell the recruiter that you are not interested in the position as soon as you can.
This way the recruiter will be able to move on and pass the offer to another promising candidate.
2. Give them a straightforward answer
There should be no room for doubt when you refuse the offer. Tell the recruiter that this is your final decision and there is nothing that they could do to change your mind.
3. Remain polite and respectful
Be polite and friendly when you speak to the recruiter. Don't insult or mock them in any way. And definitely don't boast if you've been offered a totally awesome position at another company with a much higher salary.
4. Stay confident
A confident tone is a must. A trembling voice will make you sound uneasy, which is the last thing you want to convey. By being confident, you will convey that you are firm in your decision to decline.
5. Give them your reason for declining
The recruiter might ask you what are your reasons for not being interested in the position. If it comes to this, you can be honest with the recruiter.
There is no point in lying and it wouldn't do you any good. If you want to help the recruiter, then tell them your honest reasons for rejecting the position.
Remember that you can be honest without being rude. For example, If you are not happy with the proposed salary, then don't be afraid to share this detail with the recruiter.
6. Show gratitude
When thinking about how to politely decline an offer for a position at a company, consider expressing some gratitude.
You should show appreciation for the time and efforts of the recruiter and be careful not to sound insulting or condescending in any way.
7. State that you’re happy to stay in touch
You can also ask for the interviewer's contact details. Maybe connect with them on LinkedIn? Who knows, one day this connection might turn out to be useful!
You declined the position but maybe you left some valuable feedback for them so you are parting ways on good terms and there is no reason to feel bad.
What are the reasons to decline a job position?
If you have a hard time coming up with an explanation for why you are not interested in the offered position, then here are some of the most common reasons.
- You are not happy with the proposed salary
- You are overqualified for the job
- You are underqualified for the job
- The location is too far away
- The company’s vision doesn't resonate with you
- The work culture doesn't suit you
- You've been offered a better position
Examples of what to say to a recruiter when rejecting a position
If you have a hard time finding the right words to explain why you are not interested in the position you are being offered then here are a few examples based on the reasons for declining listed above.
“I am sorry but the proposed salary doesn't match my financial goals so I am no longer interested in the position.”
“I think that I am overqualified for the position so I am not interested in it.”
“I believe that I am not the right person for this role because there are certain professional skills and knowledge that I lack.”
“The location of the workplace is too far for me to commute daily so it won't be possible for me to take the role.”
“The company’s mission, vision, and goals don't align with my career path.”
“I am afraid that I won't be able to fit into the company’s work culture.”
“I am sorry but I have been offered another position and I already accepted the offer.”
How to tell a recruiter you are not interested in a job offer anymore
While job-hunting, you might find yourself in a situation where you have to tell a recruiter that you are no longer interested in a position after you have accepted the offer.
This development might be a bit awkward but it shouldn't stop you from being proactive and telling the recruiter that you have changed your mind.
The best way to approach this is to contact the recruiter and tell them in a polite manner that there has been a change in your circumstances and you are no longer interested in the position that they have offered you.
Make sure to apologize profusely to the recruiter and thank them for their time. Here is what you can say or write to them.
"Hello, I just wanted to let you know that there has been a change in my circumstances. Therefore, I will have to refuse your offer.
I am so sorry for this sudden development. It wasn't my intention to waste your time like this.
I wanted to thank you once again for this opportunity. I hope that you will be able to find somebody who is perfect for this position."
How to decline a job offer over the phone
Declining a position over the phone might feel a little awkward but don't hesitate to do it if it comes to this.
Remember that declining in a timely manner is perfectly acceptable and it is preferable to completely ghost a recruiter.
Simply call the recruiter and thank them for the opportunity but tell them that you will have to respectfully deny it. Here is what you can say:
“I am thankful for the opportunity but I will have to reject the offer because of X, Y, or Z. I just wanted to personally thank you for your time and to wish you good luck in finding a more suitable candidate for the position.”
Don’t be surprised if the recruiter asks you for a more elaborate explanation. That is why it is important to be completely honest in these situations.
For example, if the proposed salary is the main issue, then the recruiter might be able to get back to you with a better offer. This type of back-and-forth is the basis of salary negotiation.
Also, if you are doing pre-screening job interviews over the phone, here is how to tell if they are going well or not.
How to decline a job offer over email
Declining a position offer over email is a lot easier because it is a bit more impersonal. Also, you have more time to carefully compose a response.
While doing so, remember to stick to a professional tone and remain respectful. Your reply should be polite, short, and to the point.
1. Reply to their email as soon as you can
It would be best to reply quickly if you have made your final decision. This way you will minimize the wait for the recruiter and they will be able to move on to other prospects for the job. They would be thankful for the swift reply.
2. Thank the recruiter
If you would like to be nice to the recruiter and make them feel valued, then you can thank them for the opportunity and their time. Being nice can go a long way.
3. State your reasons
If you choose to, you can state your reasons for not accepting the job. This can be valuable feedback for the recruiter that they can use to improve the company that they represent.
4. Say it is okay to stay in touch
To soften the decline of the job, you can tell the recruiter that it is fine for them to contact you in the future. This way you will part ways on good terms and there is always the possibility to come in contact once again.
Email example of rejecting a position
Subject: Position offer update
I wanted to get back to you as soon as possible so I decided to drop you a few lines.
I am thankful for the position offer but I will have to reject it because of X, Y, and Z.
I am sorry if I have wasted your time. And I hope that you will be able to find a candidate who is perfect for the position.
Once again, thank you for your time.”
How to tell a recruiter you are not interested in a position on LinkedIn
If you're contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn with an offer for a position, you can turn them down with one or two sentences. Just remember to be nice and respectful.
The recruiter is simply doing their job and trying to be helpful. You can simply apologize, decline politely, and tell them that they can move on to other candidates.
But how to politely decline a job offer from a recruiter on LinkedIn If they are very persistent and refuse to let go?
Well, you can focus on your reasons for declining or tell them that you have already accepted another offer. This should be enough to convey your refusal to take the position.
My advice on telling a recruiter you are not interested in a job offer
Keep in mind that most recruiters are experienced professionals. A job candidate rejecting a position is not something that is going to phase them.
That is why you shouldn't feel bad for rejecting an offer. The best thing that you could do is, to be honest, polite, and respectful. So take a moment to text the recruiter or send them an email with an update on the matter.
Also, if you are rejecting position offers because you have higher salary demands, then here is our complete guide on how to negotiate salary without losing the offer.