How to Resign and Turn Down Offers

It’s been a great market for strong candidates – a record number of our candidates have received offers in the past three months! Here’s some advice we share with our candidates when they are ready to resign or are turning down one of their offers. How you handle these sensitive moments can make the difference between wounding business relationships or leaving them in a good place.

Here are some tips we share with our candidates when they have found the right job and are ready to resign:

  • Always begin the resignation expressing gratitude for the opportunity and refer to something specific you learned or had the chance to do
  • Stress how this new opportunity is something you can’t pass up and has nothing to do with “failures” at your current place of employment
  • Offer to finish out any projects you are in the midst of and to transition projects to colleagues before you leave. If you can write up any best practices for things you created or managed, great!

Please note that this is not the time to voice your criticism of the role, Firm or management! You may want to do this and may even have legitimate reason to, but please refrain. Your goal for your resignation should be to maintain a positive relationship with your former employer.

If you get multiple offers or receive an offer you don’t want to accept, here are some Do’s and Dont’s for declining an offer:

  • Do let them know as soon as you have made a decision!
  • Do let them know how appreciative you are of your interviewers’ time and for the great opportunity!
  • Do communicate if there was something that the job did offer that you are committed to having in your next role.
  • Don’t ghost! So many people go MIA after receiving an offer because they are uncomfortable saying no. I have experienced this many times over the years and it always reflects poorly on the candidate’s professionalism.
  • Don’t go to your current employer and try to negotiate a counter-offer. If you want to stay at your current job and believe you deserve more money, show them how you are under market – if they want you they will increase your comp. Pursuing a counter-offer, on the other hand, can make both parties feel like they’ve been manipulated. I believe counter offers damage relationships with both the prospective and current firm, and result in mistrust in the long run!

How you resign or decline an offer is critical because it reflects on your professional reputation. Remember this is a small world and you never know when you will run into these people again! Maintaining great long term relationships reflects on your brand.

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