How to Decline a Job Offer Due to Personal Reasons


how to decline a job offer due to personal reasons

Getting to the end of an interview process and receiving a job offer is an exciting accomplishment.

However, as you’re going through the application and interview process, unexpected changes in your personal life can happen. And those changes may cause you to re-evaluate if a particular job offer is right for you. 

To that end, this article will walk through tips for how to decline a job offer due to personal reasons politely and without burning a bridge.

Let’s dive in.

Can You Decline a Job Offer Due To Personal Reasons?

thinking person

Yes, you can decline a job offer due to personal reasons. In fact, you can decline a job offer for pretty much any reason that you want. 

Just because you received a job offer, it doesn’t mean that you’re obligated to take it. And even something as simple as your gut telling you that an offer is not the right one for you is reason enough for you to decline the offer.

A way to think about declining a job offer is that a job offer is similar to at-will employment. At-will employment means that an employer or employee can terminate a relationship at any time and for any reason, other than things like, race gender, or select protected causes. The same concept generally applies to job offers.

What is The Best Reasons to Decline a Job Offer?


There a variety of reasons why someone might decline a job offer and there is ultimately no single best reason.

You might decline a job offer due to salary, because you got a better offer, or simply because you changed your mind.

Generally, the reasons that feel the best and easiest to provide are the ones that are most black and white like whether or not a company hit your salary range, or provided you with something you requested in the negotiation process like the opportunity to work remote. 

However, declining an offer simply because it doesn’t feel right to you is perfectly find as well. The key is making sure that you decline the offer politely and professionally.

Tips for Declining a Job Offer Due to Personal Reasons


There are a few common tips for how to decline any offer politely and without burning a bridge. I’ve provided a couple of them below. For a full list, check out our complete article on how to decline a job offer without burning a bridge.

1. Express Gratitude

Communicating your gratitude for a job offer is an essential component to declining a job offer without burning a bridge. The company invested time in interviewing you and are giving you an opportunity that they could have offered many others.

So be sure to be thankful, and express gratitude for both their time, and the opportunity.

2. Give a Good, Short Reason

When declining a job offer, in general, I would recommend providing some guidance as to the reason that you’re declining. 

However, when it’s due to personal reasons, that can be a bit delicate.

If it’s a positive reason such as you or your significant other getting pregnant, I would encourage you to share that. It may even be the type of thing where the company can make some accommodations to ensure that you can successfully transition into the role, even in the midst of a big life change.

However, when the personal reason is more private in nature, it may make sense for you to keep the details to yourself and just keep your decline letter more general in nature.

How to Decline a Job Offer Due to Personal Reasons Sample Letter

request the offer in writing

Based upon the recommendations throughout this article, here is a sample template that you can use to decline a job offer due to personal reasons:

Dear {Hiring Manager},


First and foremost, thank you so much for the generous offer of {position name} at {company name}.


I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to get to know you and the team and have really appreciated all of the time that you put into this process.


That said, I wanted to let you know that I’ve decided to decline this offer.


Since we we started the interview process, {state the change in your personal life circumstances or say “there were some circumstances that changed in my personal life”}, which makes it so this is not the right time for me to accept this opportunity.


Best of luck in finding a great candidate to fill this role.


Warm regards,


{First Name}


Declining a job offer due to personal reasons is not a fun thing to do. But if you approach it well, and follow the tips above, you can maintain a good relationship even when delivering bad news.

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 writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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