11 tips to decline a job offer due to salary (+example)

Updated on August 9, 2023
5 tips to respectfully decline a job offer due to salary

Declining a job offer due to salary is one of the harsher realities of job hunting. If you have little to no experience, then you might feel a bit uncomfortable and guilty about doing it.

However, being honest is the best thing that you can do in this situation.

Let’s take a look at what steps you can take on how to decline a job offer due to a low salary and make the entire process as painless as possible both for yourself and the hiring manager.

Can you negotiate salary before declining a job offer?

It is possible to negotiate salary before declining a job offer. Engage in open and professional communication with the potential employer to discuss your salary expectations and determine if there is room for negotiation. This approach demonstrates your interest in the position and allows for potential compromise.

In fact, we asked 114 professionals what they would do if they were offered a job but they didn't like the salary. Here's how they responded.


Nearly all of them (106) said that they would try to negotiate the salary. Well, you know what they say: you lose 100% of the salary negotiations that you don't make.

What to consider before declining a job offer due to salary

So, let's imagine for a moment that negotiations are off the table and you're in a "take it or leave it" situation. Well, before you decline the job offer, remember that a job is more than just a salary after all.

Here are 5 important aspects you should consider before rejecting the job offer.

1. Look into what others are earning

before you decide, make sure you know what's the going rate for similar roles in your field. Have a little browse around to see if the salary offered is way off or just about right.

This way, you'll have a better understanding of what to expect and if you should reconsider the offer.

2. Check out the full package

So, the base salary might not be exactly what you hoped for, but don't forget to peek at the whole compensation package!

You never know, there might be some fantastic benefits, bonuses, or cool perks that make up for the lower salary. It's always worth taking a closer look!

3. Think about the company's vibe

Imagine working in a place where the company's culture and values just click with yours. Sounds awesome, right?

If you find that kind of match, maybe give it a second thought or try to negotiate the salary a bit. After all, enjoying where you work can be priceless!

4. Explore growth potential

Remember, it's not just about the salary today; it's also about where you could be tomorrow. Does the company offer exciting opportunities for growth, development, and promotions?

If so, maybe taking that initial lower salary isn't so bad, knowing that a brighter future could be just around the corner!

5. Reflect on your personal journey

Take a moment to think about where you are right now and what matters most to you.

Can you cover your living expenses with the offered salary?

Does the job align with your goals and dreams?

Sometimes, it's worth weighing the pros and cons to see if this opportunity fits your unique circumstances. Who knows, it might be the perfect stepping stone to something truly amazing!

How to decline a job offer due to salary

5 tips on how to turn down a job offer because of salary

So, how to decline a job offer due to salary without being too harsh and unprofessional? By the way, you should be certain that you're walking away for good. You cannot change your mind the next day.

Right now you might feel a little awkward but the sooner you take care of this the better for everybody. Here is what you can do.

1. Dont ghost the recruiter

You do not want to ruin your reputation by ghosting the job offer. Ghosting is quite rude and hurtful, especially if you are on the receiving end.

If you have applied for many jobs, chances are some companies have ghosted you so you know how it feels. So don’t be that person and make the effort to communicate your decision so as not to burn any bridges.

2. Give them your answer ASAP

There is no need to make a phone call or schedule an online meeting. Simply send them a short email with all the essential details. Avoid sounding too harsh or guilty in your email, there is no need to be too apologetic.

3. Be honest – tell your truth

It’s best to be honest and address the issue. But it doesn't mean you should be blunt and badmouth the position. Just tell them that you are not happy with the salary offer.

If there’s anything that they can do on their end, then give them the chance to do so. Who knows, maybe they will be able to come up with another better offer.

(Still, if you are going to decline anyway, you might as well try to negotiate the salary.)

4. Show gratitude

You should thank the recruiting manager for all the time and effort. It’s good to remember that we are all human – simple gestures of respect and gratitude are sometimes all we need to move forward without any bitterness and bad feelings.

5. Maintain professionalism and politeness

When figuring out how to turn down a job offer because of salary, it's crucial to maintain professionalism and politeness.

Remember that the employer has invested time and effort in considering you for the position.

Show respect and gratitude for their consideration, even when declining the offer, to leave a positive impression.

6. Provide salary research to support your decision

When declining a job offer due to low salary, it's helpful to provide research to support your decision.

In this case, you can share information about industry standards, average salary ranges for similar positions in your area, or your previous salary history.

This demonstrates that your decision is well-informed and based on objective data, rather than an arbitrary choice.

7. Remain open to further discussion

As you decline a job offer because of salary, remember that it's important to remain open to further discussion.

Indicate that you're open to negotiation or revisiting the offer if the employer is willing to adjust the salary package.

This shows your continued interest in the position and your flexibility in finding a mutually agreeable solution.

8. Keep the conversation focused on salary

When you reject a job offer because of salary, it's essential to keep the conversation focused on salary-related concerns.

So avoid discussing personal reasons or unrelated issues, as this can dilute the message you're trying to convey.

By keeping the conversation focused on salary, you demonstrate a clear rationale for your decision and help maintain a professional tone.

9. Reiterate your interest in the company

Even after you decline a job offer due to low salary, it's crucial to reiterate your interest in the company and the position.

This helps convey that your decision is based solely on salary considerations and not a lack of enthusiasm for the role or the organization.

It also leaves the door open for future opportunities with the company, should circumstances change.

10. Stay in touch

Tell the recruiting manager that you don’t mind staying in touch. You can add them on LinkedIn or any other social media.

Who knows, maybe some months on years down the line you will cross paths again. Staying in touch nowadays is easier than ever thanks to social platforms.

11. Follow up with a thank-you email or note

After you turn down a job offer because of salary, don't forget to follow up with a thank-you email or note.

Express your appreciation for their time, consideration, and any efforts made during the negotiation process.

This courteous gesture can help you maintain a positive relationship with the employer and leave a lasting impression of professionalism.

How to reject a job offer because of salary during an online interview

First of all, make sure to show up a bit early to your interview to ensure that everything will go according to plan. And second, the steps outlined above are absolutely applicable during a job interview – be it online or in person.

Simply apologize to the recruiter and tell them that the proposed salary does not match your current financial needs.

After all, consider that all sorts of things can go wrong during an interview. For example, you might be informed that none of your references responded. On your end, you might not be happy with the suggested salary.

At this point, you can gauge their reaction and wait for their next move. Perhaps they will be willing to reconsider their offer and come up with a better proposal. In case that’s not possible, then simply thank the recruiter for their time.

You can tell the recruiter that if they change their decision, they are free to contact you. This way they will know for sure that the salary is the one limiting factor. There is always a chance for them to reconsider during the next few days or so.

Reasons to decline a job offer due to salary

Let’s take a look at some common reasons why you’d want to decline a job offer because of salary issues.

1. It doesn’t match your expectations

It’s one thing to have unreasonably high salary expectations. But if you are a confident professional and the salary offer doesn’t match your expectations (and financial needs), then it is time to move past this offer.

2. It is below the average salary for the position

It would be a major red flag if the salary proposal is under the current average for the position in question.

And if you’re wondering how to find out what the average is, there are plenty of platforms that can quickly give you the stats that you need. Just search for salary comparison online and you’ll find plenty of options.

3. The recruiter is pretending that the salary is fair

If the hiring manager is trying to sell you the idea that the salary proposal is outstanding when you know for a fact that it is not, can you imagine what else is wrong with this company?

This is a sure sign that you are dealing with a toxic work environment and you should run in the other direction.

4. Negotiations are off the table

You are told that the salary number is non-negotiable. Well, what else is there to talk about? If your needs are not allowed to be discussed at this point, do you think there will be any chance later on? Give these people a reality check.

5. Other companies are openly offering more

There are plenty of legit companies that are willing to go the extra mile to hire hard-working capable professionals. Don’t settle for a company that is not making a conscious effort to be competitive on the job market.

You simply cancel your secondary job interviews in case you are skeptical about the salary negotiations and focus on the companies that will be willing to pay you more.

(If you want to appear more competent and to get your point across, consider bringing notes to your interview to compare salaries you have researched.)

How to decline a job offer due to salary (sample letter)

How to decline a job offer due to salary sample letter

Sending a rejection letter to a prospective employer after you've decided against the offer is a quick and effective way to communicate your decision. A rejection letter doesn't have to be long, so make it short and to the point.

Here’s how to decline a job offer due to salary sample email that you can use:

Subject: Response to Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear [Recruiter's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the job offer extended to me for the position of [Job Title] at [Company Name]. It was a pleasure to meet with you and learn about the company, its values, and the exciting opportunities this role presents.

After careful consideration, I have decided not to accept the offer as it currently stands. Although I am truly enthusiastic about the position and the prospect of contributing to the success of [Company Name], the proposed salary does not meet my expectations based on my experience, skills, and the industry standards for this role.

I understand that salary negotiations may not always be possible; however, I believe that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached with a revised offer. I have conducted research on comparable positions within the industry and have found that the average salary range for a candidate with my qualifications and experience is between [Proposed Salary Range]. I would be more than willing to reconsider the offer if the salary package can be adjusted to better align with this range.

I want to reiterate my enthusiasm for the position and my strong interest in joining the [Company Name] team. I believe that my background and skills make me an excellent fit for this role, and I am confident that my contributions would be valuable to the organization. I appreciate your understanding of my situation, and I am hopeful that we can arrive at a mutually agreeable resolution.

Please let me know if you would like to discuss this matter further or if there is any additional information that I can provide to help in your decision-making process. I am looking forward to your response, and I truly appreciate the time and effort you have invested in my candidacy.

Thank you once again for considering me for this opportunity.


[Your Full Name]
[Your Email Address]
[Your Phone Number]

Even if you have declined, the hiring manager might tell you that they will think about it and give you another call later on.

My experience declining job offers due to salary

My journey as a project manager in my dream company wasn't always smooth sailing. Before I landed this amazing role, I had to navigate the choppy waters of job offers that didn't meet my salary expectations.

But I knew my worth and was determined to find a company that would value my experience and skills.

Before my current role, I received several job offers from well-known companies in the tech industry. On the surface, these offers seemed tempting—exciting projects, opportunities for growth, and the chance to work with talented teams.

However, the salary packages accompanying these offers simply didn't match the value I knew I could bring to the table.

With each offer, I had to make the difficult decision to decline. It wasn't easy, but I was determined to stand my ground.

I engaged in polite yet firm communication with each recruiter, explaining my reasons for turning down their offers and expressing my gratitude for their time and consideration.

I had moments of doubt and frustration, wondering if I was being too stubborn or if I was missing out on great opportunities. But I held on to my conviction that the right offer would eventually come along. And it did.

One day, I received an offer from a company I had long admired. The role was perfect—an international project manager position that would challenge me and allow me to make a real impact. The best part? The salary package not only met but exceeded my expectations.

With a mix of excitement and relief, I accepted the offer and embarked on the journey to my dream job. It was a hard-fought battle, but in the end, it was worth every rejection and negotiation.

Looking back, I'm grateful that I stood my ground and didn't compromise my worth.

My experience taught me that knowing your value and being willing to fight for it can eventually lead to the perfect opportunity—one that not only challenges you professionally but also rewards you financially.

Frequently asked questions about declining job offers due to salary

How do I know if the salary offer is too low for me?

To determine if a salary offer is too low, research the average salary range for similar positions in your industry and location. Take into account factors such as your experience, education, and unique skills. Websites like Glassdoor, Payscale, and Salary.com can provide valuable insights. If the offer is significantly below the average range or your expectations, it might be considered too low for you.

How can I maintain a positive relationship with the employer while declining?

To maintain a positive relationship, approach the situation with professionalism and courtesy. Be honest about your reasons for declining the offer, express gratitude for their time and consideration, and emphasize your interest in their company. A polite and respectful approach can leave the door open for future opportunities and keep your professional reputation intact.

Can I decline a job offer after accepting it due to salary concerns?

Yes, it is possible to decline a job offer after initially accepting it. However, it's essential to handle the situation delicately and professionally. As soon as you realize you have salary concerns, communicate them openly with the employer. Be honest about your reasons, express regret for any inconvenience caused, and show gratitude for the opportunity. Keep in mind that reneging on an accepted offer may impact your relationship with the employer and your professional reputation.

Can declining a job offer due to salary negatively impact my career?

Declining a job offer due to salary concerns will not necessarily negatively impact your career, especially if you handle the situation professionally and respectfully. Make sure to communicate your reasons clearly and express appreciation for the opportunity. Remember, it's better to decline an offer that doesn't meet your needs than to accept one that could lead to dissatisfaction or resentment. However, be mindful of your reputation in your industry and avoid making a habit of declining multiple offers without good reason.

Written by:
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co-founder / office worker
Alex has been an office worker for more than 10 years. He is dedicated to helping other office workers to achieve the perfect life-work balance through well-being, effective communication, and building productive habits.

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