In The Workplace

I received a job offer from another company giving me better pay and perks. I’m having second thoughts in accepting it because of my 15 years of service with my current employer, plus the fact that I’m comfortable with my boss, who is treating me like his own son. I’m also enjoying the company of my colleagues. Now that I’ve decided to reject the proposal of a prospective employer, I find myself at a loss how to reject such lucrative offer. Please help. — Triple Dimple.

It’s your call. You know too well about your current situation, where you’ve proven that money is not everything. Maybe, you’re still unmarried and are not yet thinking of the material demands of family life? Or maybe, you’re married to someone who can provide for almost everything? Or your family is sufficiently well off to provide for the whole family.

Whatever, you’ve made a decision and can’t be faulted for your choice.

Before doing anything, ensure that you don’t burn any bridges with the prospective employer and your current employer, who may see things differently. You should be thankful to your prospective employer for offering you that much and to your current employer who can’t afford a similar package. But you don’t have to tell your current boss about the offer as it can easily be misinterpreted.

Get on with your decision. And do it in style by keeping things professional. This means being physically present when you say ‘no’ to a prospective employer. You must be face-to-face with the offeror to show your genuine appreciation.

Send them an e-mail beforehand. Offer to discuss the matter in person. It’s not for you to request a higher bid or anything; instead, express your sincerest gratitude. You may also want to invite the prospective employer to dinner. If the employer doesn’t want to spend any further time with you, then cut cleanly and gently. The other party may not feel right after wasting considerable time and effort in conducting a series of interviews with you.

The essential counterpart to style is substance. Using diplomatic words and phrases, you can express your rejection, which should be clear and upfront. That means finding a better way of writing an e-mail. Try the following recommendations as appropriate to your personal circumstances:

Opening statement: Be authentic in expressing your appreciation. However, express your gratefulness without using any clichés or words that can be perceived as bland and insincere. Try this: “Just a short note of appreciation for your trust and confidence in my ability to help your organization in connection with your current job opening …”

Middle statement: Explain your decision clearly and decisively. Convey appreciation for the offer. Then proceed with a brief explanation of your decision to decline the offer. For example: “You have an excellent compensation package that is difficult to resist. However, after weighing everything about my current job, I must respectfully decline your offer.”

Closing statement: Express goodwill. Wish them well in one brief concluding sentence, such as: “Thank you for accommodating me during the hiring process. I wish I could meet you personally to relay this message. But if it’s no longer necessary, I hope you find the right person for the job.”

Remember that when you decline a job offer, there may be an adverse impact on other applicants in the shortlist. What if the number two and three candidates have already received their rejection letter? Imagine the complexity of such a situation. This means the prospective employer will be left holding the bag.

The disappointment can be much bigger for that employer.

This is also a valuable lesson for employers. Never release any rejection letters to the other candidates on the short list until you’ve received the acceptance of the number one candidate. Better do it after one month after the lucky candidate has acclimatized with the new work environment. Sometimes, it’s better not issue any rejection letters at all, so that employers would have a fallback later on.

In conclusion, a rejection letter is a double-edged sword. It can create disappointment in the rejected candidates and in the employer whose job offer was rejected by the number one candidate. While the intention is to create goodwill for both the employer and the applicants, there are times you may get the opposite result without warning.


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