How To Decline a Job Offer Due to Salary (With Sample Response)

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At the end of the day, salary is one of the most important factors when deciding on a job offer. And as excited as you might be about an opportunity, there are many cases where the salary that you’re looking for, and the budget that the company has available, simply aren’t aligned.

In cases like what I described above, you’ll have to decline a job offer due to salary. And throughout this post I’ll provide some tips for how to do exactly that.

This article will start by discuss some key considerations prior to declining an offer due to salary, then transition into tips for how to do it professionally. Finally, it will end with a sample response script that you can use.

Let’s get started.

Considerations Prior to Declining An Offer Due to Salary

decline-offer-due-to-salary

Understand if what you’re looking for is realistic

Prior to declining a job offer due to salary, the first thing that you’ll need to do is ensure that your salary goals are in line with the typical pay for that type of job.

Sure we’d all like to make lucrative salaries, but it takes time to work up to that, and you need to have a realistic, data-backed viewed of what you can expect.

There a variety of good sources to find salary comps for the position that you’re looking for out on the web. I’ve provided links to salary tools below that you can use to get a sense of the typical range for the role, based upon your location.

For each of the tools below, you just type in the job title and/or the location of the role, and they will all give you an estimated salary range for that position:

A comparison of the salary range across each of those tools will give you some unbiased third party data that you can use to know if what you’re looking for is realistic, or if you need to adjust your expectations.

Try to negotiate

Whether it’s for a new car, a salary, or whatever it may be, negotiation can feel awkward and challenging. However, I would highly recommend doing it prior to rejecting a job offer due to salary.

A way to think of it is if you’re going to reject the job because the salary is too low, what do you have to lose by negotiating?

Recommendations on how to negotiate are beyond the scope of this article, but here is a good resource with tips on how to effectively negotiate your salary.

Evaluate the overall offer

The last consideration prior to declining a job offer due to salary is to make sure that you evaluate the full offer, and not just the salary.

What I mean by that is that you’ll want to consider factors like benefits, bonus, and other variables as a part of a total compensation package.

Many people just look at the salary, and they fail to factor in the worth of a benefits package into their evaluation of a comp plan. The difference between a generous benefits plan, with things like a 401K match, a strong company contribution to healthcare, etc., and a lackluster one can make a significant difference in a compensation package. Please be sure to factor that into your evaluation.

Tips for declining an offer due to salary

saying-no

If you’ve followed the considerations above, and still can’t get to a salary that you’re happy with, then you may need to decline an offer. Included below are three tips for how to decline an offer due to salary effectively and professionally.

Clearly and confidently explain your decision

If salary is the reason that you can’t move forward, then it’s ok to communicate that. It’s important to a) know your worth and b) know what you’re looking for when it comes to salary and if those areas aren’t met, then you can simply communicate that the salary wasn’t a match with what it will take for you to accept the position.

Express gratitude for the opportunity

Even though it may be frustrating that you couldn’t make the salary work, it’s still important to express gratitude for the opportunity. The company invested a good deal of time in interviewing you and in offering you the opportunity and it’s important to express gratitude for that.

And gratitude is especially important with this next tip in mind…

Keep the door open if something changes

Just because the company doesn’t have the budget for the role now, it doesn’t mean that won’t change in the future. There are many instances where a company goes through an interview process and discovers that they simply can’t find the right person at the level and budget that they’re currently working with.

So, be sure to express gratitude, decline the offer professionally, and maintain a good relationships, so you’re top of mind should the company ever get approval to up-level the position.

Sample Response

Based upon the recommendations above, here is a sample response that you can use to decline a job offer due to salary:

Dear {Hiring Manager},

First and foremost, thank you for the offer and {job title} at {company name}. I appreciate the opportunity and all of the time that you’ve put into the interview process.

 

That said, I need to decline the offer at this time. Unfortunately, the compensation package is not in line with my financial goals. As much as I would love to join you at {company name}, I need to make a decision that is right for my family and I and the compensation is not where I need it to be to make a move at this time.

 

Should the compensation range for the position change, please let me know. I would love to restart a conversation if and when that’s the case.

 

Best Regards,

 

{First Name}

Conclusion

Declining a job offer that you’re excited about is never an easy thing to do. Especially after a long interview process and especially when you can’t come to an agreement on compensation.

However, needing to decline a job offer due to salary is a reality that we face. And I hope the tips above are helpful to you in navigating that.

Best of luck in your job search!

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and is a business professional with over 10 years of experience. He has been a hiring and people manager on multiple occasions, and has also gone through the hiring process himself at a variety of different companies. Dan serves as a career counselor on the side. He writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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