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How to Decline Job Offer Due to Salary

Many times, you may find yourself interviewing for a position with a potential employer who meets all of your criteria.  It’s relatively close to your home, they’re a well-known and respected company, they value a work-life balance, and they offer work from home opportunities.  Everything is going great, better than expected actually, until you are finally made an offer and are hit with a low-ball salary.

Receiving a low-ball salary offer can be disheartening and demoralizing.  You may feel that your time was wasted and that your prospects for a new position have shrunk.  The time you spent attending the interviews, preparing yourself mentally, and picking out your wardrobe all appear for naught.  But before you reply to the recruiter or hiring manager with your decision to decline the offer, take a step back and fully evaluate both the position and the offerings.

Evaluate The Offer

A job offer is more than just a base salary.  There are a lot of considerations that should go into your decision.  “You need to evaluate not only the salary being provided, but also where you want to be in 5, 10, and 15 years from now” says Robert Moses from The Corporate Con/noisseur.  “What is included in the offer besides the salary.  Is there a generous paid-time-off policy, does the company have flexible work hours or allow employees to work from home on an as-needed basis?”

Furthermore, look into the opportunity costs.  Is the location of the company closer to your house, will it shorten your commute considerably?  In addition, what about the benefits?  Does the company offer excellent healthcare, dental, and vision insurance?  Do they offer bonuses, stipends, and budgetary allowances?  Do they offer free breakfast or lunch or snacks?  Is the company a start-up with a bright future, would you be able to get in early and receive equity or stock options?  In addition, would this move help you pivot into a new, exciting, and up-and-coming space?  Will you have additional responsibilities that will help you to advance your career?

Take these questions into consideration before making your decision.  While the salary may seem low, there may be additional opportunities to recoup the costs or make it up in the future.  Also determine what a low salary is.  Is the salary a few thousand below your current base?  If so, would you be able to handle that cut?  I wouldn’t recommend taking a major pay cut, which I would consider anything that would be 10% or more.

Take Your Time

We’ve previously indicated that you should take your time with your response.  Ideally, you will want to respond with an answer as-soon-as-possible, but don’t do so and regret your decision.  You may feel pressured to answer immediately, especially if the recruiter or hiring manager gives you the offer over the phone.  Feel free to express gratitude and thank them for the offer, but that you will need to think over the offer and peruse the benefits package before making a decision or commitment.

Once the offer has been made, take up to 24-hours to review the offer and weigh the benefits package.  Be sure to ask yourself what your total income loss would be and what, if any, you would make-up for in additional benefits.  Be completely honest with yourself and understand the decision ultimately rests with you.  Never feel pressured or coerced to accept a position you do not want or feel hesitant about.

Also understand that once you’ve made your decision, it is final.  You cannot take back or change your mind once the email or call has been made.  As-such always give yourself the time you need to make the correct and best decision for yourself and your family.

Examples On How To Decline The Job Offer Due To Salary

No matter the decision you make, you will want to remain courteous, professional, and polite in your response.  You should also be gracious and appreciative, leaving open the possibility and opportunity of working together in the future.  Most industries are extremely insular, and employees tend to shift from similar and few companies between.  You don’t want to burn any bridges or create divisions with future colleagues.

How to Decline Job Offer Due to Salary

Example Number 1:

Dear [INTERVIEWERS NAME],

Thank you so much for offering me the [JOB TITLE] position at [COMPANY NAME].  I truly appreciate the recognition and the opportunity to work for such a well-known company.  However, after careful deliberation, it appears that our salary expectations are not aligned.  The overall compensation package, while impressive, does not meet my current needs.

I truly wish you and the team nothing but success and the best of luck in finding a suitable candidate.  I hope that we can continue to remain in-touch and that we may have the chance to work together in the future.

Thank you,

[YOUR FULL NAME]

Example Number 2:

Dear [INTERVIEWERS NAME]

I would like to humbly reject the position of [JOB TITLE] at [COMPANY NAME].  I truly appreciate and thank you for the opportunity, however it appears to not be a good fit at the present moment.

Thank you,

[YOUR FULL NAME]

Example Number 3:

Dear [INTERVIEWERS NAME],

Unfortunately, it appears that the compensation package is not in-line with my current expectations.  I truly appreciate and thank you for the time and consideration, however I will need to humbly reject the offer.

Thank you,

[YOUR FULL NAME]

Example Number 4:

Dear [INTERVIEWERS NAME],

Thank you for sending me the offer of employment at [COMPANY NAME].  I am truly honored to have been considered for the role and the position.

Unfortunately, I do not believe that we will be a good fit at the moment.  I look forward to keeping in contact and working together in the future and hope you the best luck in finding a candidate for the role.

Thank you,

[YOUR FULL NAME]

Example Number 5:

Dear [INTERVIEWERS NAME],

Words cannot describe how thankful I am for the job offer and the opportunity to work at [COMPANY NAME].  I am truly appreciative for the opportunity and for your seeing my skills and qualities.

However, the current compensation package is currently under my expectations.  I will have to reject the offer, though [NAME OF THE COMPANY] remains my top destination and priority.

I do hope that my decision does not sever any ties and that we may remain in contact and work closely together in the future.

Thank you,

[YOUR FULL NAME]

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