The Art of Rejecting Consulting Jobs


Receiving an offer for consulting work is flattering. But what happens if you no longer want the job? It happens, and the way you decline an offer can either secure or hurt your chances for future opportunities with an organisation... Learn the fine art of declining a consulting job professionally and respectfully below.

Buried in offers? Learn how to decline consulting jobs politely.

Reasons to Turn Down Consulting Jobs

There are many reasons for rejecting a job, sometimes even when you applied thinking it would be a good fit. Reasons for turning down consulting jobs may include the following:

- You've received a better offer.

- This opportunity will cost you better opportunities by taking you off the market and out of the networking loop for a significant amount of time.

- It's a dead-end opportunity that will not help you get the type of consulting work you want to do.

- The job has the potential to hurt your reputation within your industry.

- The work pays too little.

- The opportunity requires too much time away from your family and may strain personal relationships.

- The job entails soul-crushing work that will cause your self-esteem and happiness to tank.

Method of Communication

Always pick up the phone when you're declining an offer. Although it seems easier to write out your thoughts in an email, that's a closed discussion. Talking on the phone allows for a more open exchange, and it's easier to communicate your tone and intent with your voice. It also demonstrates a level of professionalism and maturity to pick up the phone and acknowledge the time and effort the other party has put into the process.

Declining an Offer in a Professional Manner

Rejecting an offer gracefully is all about respect, and respect is essential if you want to protect your professional relationships and your reputation. Talk to the person who makes the decision to hire consultants, usually the hiring manager or recruiter. When you decline the offer, cite specific reasons why you're turning them down. For example, another opportunity may be a better fit because the position is more flexible, the location is nearer to your home or the hours work better for your family.

Don't mention salary specifically unless the difference is several thousand pounds. Even so, mention another factor so they don't think it's all about the money even if that was the primary basis for your decision.

End on an Appreciative Note

Make sure you end the call on an appreciative note. Thank them for their time, and keep your discussion positive. Do not say anything negative about the organisation or client. Finally, let them know that you'd like to work with them in the future, if that's the case. Stay in touch by adding them to your LinkedIn network or industry-specific networks.

Respectfully declining an offer can leave doors open for future opportunities.

Although you may not be interested in the opportunity now, declining an offer professionally may leave doors open for future consulting work.

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About the Author

Tony Restell on the hiring rebound in the consulting market

Tony Restell is the co-Founder of and the Founder of social media agency He’s spent 20 years working in and with the consulting industry, more recently becoming one of the UK’s most recognised experts in the use of social media to win clients and attract hires. Follow Tony on @tonyrestell