Every industry segment gets smaller as you climb the ladder. For that very reason it is important that when you turn down an offer of employment, you do it in a fashion showing respect and a desire to keep in touch. You never know who might be your next boss and/or employer. So, no matter how upset you were with the offer or the scope of responsibilities, it is in your best interest to be respectful.
- Give the prospective employer a sincere reason why you are turning down the job offer. This must be done by phone not by voice message or e-mail. If you cannot afford to make the move, be upfront about it. If your spouse and family are against the move, you need to be specific as the prospective employer will want to know why this came up so late in the process. If you feel the role is too limited in scope, you need to let them know it. If you feel the financial condition of the employer is too shaky, you need to tell them that you cannot take the risk.
- Thank them for giving you consideration and making an offer. Show gratitude.
- Follow up by keeping in touch. Build a bridge; don’t let the bridge built at the offer fall apart.
In my years of human resources and executive recruiting, I have seen long-standing feuds between individuals which started over how an offer was declined. These feuds could have been avoided.