Tips for Rejecting a Job Transfer Offer

Rejecting a job transfer can be a sensitive, stressful process. The most common rejection standard is based on practical decisions and must be handled diplomatically. Presenting the case for rejecting the transfer needs to be done on a strictly credible business basis.

Job transfer issues

The main issues in rejecting any job transfer are:

  • Career considerations: Some transfers don't achieve career goals, in fact some can lead in the wrong direction or to dead ends. A common reason for rejection of transfers is that the new position is an unproductive potential inclusion on the resume.
  • Job issues: Transfers may equate to a demotion, may not deliver on salary needs, or result in sidelining in promotional terms.
  • Personal business: The job transfer or may involve domestic issues like difficult hours which are incompatible with family needs.
  • Working conditions: In some cases the working conditions involved in a job transfer are unacceptable.
  • Job severance considerations: In a situation where a transfer was made in context with a possible layoff as the alternative, the severance package may be a preferred option.

Each of these issues is a valid reason for rejecting a job transfer. They represent a series of possible negative results for the employee. These results can be quantified and used as the basis for explaining rejection.

Presenting the rejection to an employer

The employer has made a commitment by making the offer. When responding, you will need to be very clear about your reasons for rejecting it. To effectively explain your decision is critically important.  It's important to show that the decision has been made on a very sound basis and to present your case well:

  • Respect the business relationship with your employer: Keep your response courteous and professional at all times. The offer of a position was made on the basis of retaining your services. It's important to keep your relationship with the employer on good working terms, even if you're taking a severance package instead of the transfer.
  • Make sure the employer understands the basis of your decision: An employer will be more able to work with a clearly explained decision which can suggest alternatives. This is where your quantified basis for rejecting the offer can be most effective, showing where the problems are, and allowing the employer to understand the issues better.
  • Don't be negative when informing the employer: Don't disparage or seem uncooperative in rejecting the offer. That can send exactly the wrong signals to the employer, who may decide to close the subject completely.
  • Suggest positive alternatives: You can tell the employer you're still interested in a transfer, if you can get around the issues which make you unable to accept the current offer.
  • Replying in writing: Use a formal business style letter, outlining the basis of your decision. Keep the letter simple, and give the reasons for your response in the forms above.

Rejecting an offer of job transfer is a case of situation management. The better you present your reasons, the better your chances of achieving a good productive result.