How to Turn Down a Job Offer Professionally
In 2020, landing a position with an independent practice can be a challenge, particularly in the wake of a worldwide pandemic. In recent months, however, we’ve seen a significant uptick in the number of optometry and ophthalmology practices reopening across the country, and with it, the need to hire on associates to meet the pent-up patient demand that accumulated earlier in the year.
As an optometry or ophthalmology candidate in the midst of a job search, you’re likely to receive multiple offers from different practices at the same time, particularly if you’re working with a recruiter who already has connections in the area. This is a good thing, of course, as having multiple employment options provides ample opportunity to identify and select the best career move for you. The downside of having multiple offers, however, is that you’re now obligated to turn someone down.
While this may seem like a difficult or potentially awkward task, effectively turning down an offer in a professional and courteous way without burning any bridges is easier than you think. Here are some tips on how to turn down an offer:
Never Decline an Offer Over Text or Email
Texting and emailing are perfectly acceptable ways to communicate with a potential employer during the various stages of the interview process, as long as they’re comfortable with it. When it comes to accepting or declining an offer, however, it’s best to do so through a phone call. A phone call is more professional and direct, and shows you’re not trying to shy away from an awkward situation behind the convenience of technology.
Be Precise, Concise, and Honest
Think through the specifics of why you’re turning down the offer. Was the salary not up to your expectations? Is the practice’s equipment a bit too dated? Write down one or two specific points as to why you’re declining the offer, and present these in an honest and straightforward manner. Start by thanking the practice owner for the time and effort they put into the interview process, and then quickly list off the reasons why you’re declining the offer. Be careful to avoid mention of anything personal, though, such as “chemistry” or “personalities” that could be easily misinterpreted or taken the wrong way. Instead, stick to objective, clear reasons of why you’re declining and move on.
Timeliness is Critical
If you’re certain you don’t want to pursue an opportunity any further, don’t procrastinate in letting the practice know. A prompt response is both respectful and professional, and allows the practice to move on to other candidates who might be the right fit. Whatever you do, never “ghost” a practice by not responding at all, or wait an extended period of time before communicating your decision. Silence is the least professional response to a job offer and is a guaranteed way to burn bridges.
Always Remain Professional
In all communications with a potential employer, remain professional, friendly, and courteous, even if they fail to do the same. A hiring authority or staff member at one practice may move on to another in later years, and will likely remember your professionalism or the lack thereof based on how you respond. Be on-guard and protect your reputation at all times, as small details and communications may be shared with more individuals during the interview process than you think.
Offer to Keep in Touch
If the interview experience was positive but the opportunity simply wasn’t the right fit, offer to stay in touch with the practice moving forward. If you know of another professional contact who might be a great fit for the opportunity, feel free to refer them to the practice as well. Paying it forward can often reciprocate in unexpected and interesting ways. Plus, if the practice has another opportunity in the future that is a better fit for you, perhaps with a bigger salary or ownership potential, you’ll be top of mind when it comes time to start interviewing.
If you’re in the midst of a job search and need help finding opportunities, comparing offers, or just navigating the process, we’re here to help! Contact us today and let’s get started.
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