5 tips to respectfully decline a job offer due to salary

Updated on March 30, 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.

You can decline a job offer due to salary by telling the hiring manager your honest thoughts. Keep a polite tone but be direct and don't try to come up with other excuses. This way they will be able to make decisions and adjustments based on your honest feedback.

However, this is just a general recommendation so let’s take a look at what steps you can take on how to decline a job offer due to low salary and make the entire process as painless as possible both for yourself and the hiring manager.

5 tips on how to turn down a job offer because of 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. Don’t ghost the company

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. 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.

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

First of all, make sure to arrive 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. 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.

5 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:

Hey [use the name of the recruiter],

I wanted to thank you for the job offer.

However, I am sorry to say that I will have to decline because of the salary proposal.

It doesn’t correspond to my current financial needs.

Still, I’d love to if we are able to stay in touch – you can add me on [social platforms].

Here’s a link to my profile/s: [link]

Once again, thanks for everything and have a great day!

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

We asked over 100 professionals what they would do

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.

Key takeaways on how to turn down a job offer because of salary

  • The best way to decline a job offer due to low salary is to be honest and polite.
  • When you come to a final decision, simply contact the hiring manager to give them the news.
  • You can send them a short and precise email, there is no need to call them.
  • Make sure to highlight that the low salary is the only problem that you see.
  • Tell them that you would love to stay in touch. They might contact you with a better offer.
Written by:
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galin office topics square
co-founder / office worker
Galin has been an office worker for 8+ years. He has dealt will all kinds of situations at work, so he knows a thing or two about management, co-worker relationships, and productivity. Galin specializes in digital marketing and dabbles in web development.

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