How to Decline an Offer of Employment Due to Low Salary

by Filonia LeChat; Updated September 26, 2017

In sluggish economies, it may sound unwise to decline any job offer that comes across the table, but taking a job with a salary that's too low may also be foolish. You may miss out on other higher-paying opportunities and also discount your skills in the eyes of your employer. Because salary can be a touchy subject, navigating around declining an offer because of the suggested payment requires a light touch. Shift the focus for the decline off of the salary and onto giving thanks for your time with the interviewer.

Step 1

Open a word processing program or select a piece of business stationery or card stock to use for handwriting a note. Declining an offer of employment in writing may help you avoid pressing questions about the financial reasons for your decline — you're in charge of writing the letter and can shift the focus to the reasons on which you want to concentrate.

Step 2

Address the letter to the person who extended the job offer, which may be the hiring agent or the person who would have served as your supervisor. If the letter is being addressed to a hiring agent, you may also address a copy of the letter to the person who interviewed you or the supervisor.

Step 3

Thank the person for his time interviewing you. Include a snippet of conversation you had, such as “Thanks for telling me about the latest product release” or “I enjoyed learning about the new direction of teaching used in your organization.”

Step 4

Write that you regret to not be able to accept the employment offer. Although you're not required to say that it's due to the low salary offer, you may include text such as “I have accepted another offer” or “I was unable to pass up another employment situation,” if applicable. Don't mention that the other employer paid a higher salary.

Step 5

Exclude any details such as “I have bills to pay,” “This wasn’t going to be enough to help me pay back my loans” or “I was making more money before.” If you feel you must reference the financial situation, write something as simple as “Unfortunately, I do not feel this salary was equivalent to my years of service, experience and education, so I am unable to accept.”

Step 6

Close the letter with a simple thank you for his consideration of your resume and the hope that he finds the best fit for the job opening.

About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.