Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah as he shares the right way to turn down a job offer, keeping the door open for future opportunities

Here’s a quick rundown on this week’s episode:

  • First, Isaiah encourages PhDs to treat employers with the utmost courtesy right up to the end even if they wind up accepting a different job offer
  • Next, he explains the protocol for turning down a job, step by step
  • Finally, Isaiah covers what PhDs can do to turn down a job offer and still reap the benefits of the experience

From This Week’s Show…

There’s A Right Way To Turn Down A Job Offer

Turning down a job should be done with as much care as you applied to your resume, your interview process or your salary negotiations. 


Because you don’t want to shut the door on the company or the people you met during the hiring process. 

Studies show that you’ll end up getting 20 job offers throughout your career. So knowing how to turn down a job offer makes sense. 

This is true even if the role turns out to be a bad fit. 

You put in a lot of work to get the offer – make it count for something. 

You May Not Take The Job, But That Doesn’t Mean You’ll Never Meet Again

First, even if you’re turning down the job, don’t lose touch with the people you met along the way. 

If you haven’t already, add those who interviewed you as connections on LinkedIn. 

Keep them in your professional network for the future. You will want to reconnect with them at the company later or reintroduce yourself to them once they change companies down the road. 

Either way, the hiring industry for PhDs is small and people talk, so above all be professional. 

Don’t Wait To Let Employers Know That You’re Declining Their Job Offer

Second, let the employer know about your decision as soon as possible. 

They have a position to fill, so don’t wait until the last minute to let them know that you won’t be the one to fill it. 

Consider that the employer invested plenty of their time with you during the interview process, and they’re probably excited to have you on their team. 

Here, etiquette strongly favors delivering your declination over a phone call as opposed to email. 

It’s normal to feel anxious about what you’ll say. Writing what you want to say ahead of time is not a bad idea. 

Make An Effort To Turn Down The Job Offer Over The Phone

If you call but don’t reach them, leave a voicemail and then send an email as soon as you get off the phone. 

Mention in your message that you tried to catch them over the phone but wasn’t able to reach them. In your voicemail and email, or over the phone, start by thanking them for the offer. 

Try saying this or similar: “Thank you for your generous offer to join XYZ Company as an ABC. I sincerely appreciate the offer and your interest in hiring me. While this role seems like a great opportunity, I’ve decided to go in a different direction.” 

Keep the reason general and don’t tell them specifics about why you’re not accepting the position.

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

Book a Transition Call
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly