- Be honest. I'm a fan of honesty being the best policy. When you receive an offer let the company know you either need time to weight your options or that you have another offer you are entertaining. Companies that are serious players will make their move here.
- Karma's a ******(you know). Don't wait until the last minute or day before you start the new job to decline the offer. This leaves the company with a bad taste in their mouth. It's a small world and you never know when a hasty decision will come back to bite you.
- Be respectful. When declining an offer, a phone call is best. Don't send some random and poorly written email. Rehearse your script and be professional. The company invested a great deal of time, money, and effort in recruiting and interviewing you. Give them the attention and respect they deserve even if they don't really deserve it.
- Leverage your relationship. Burning your bridge is not a good option especially when you don't know what your future has in store. I have built relationships with candidates who declined my offer initially, I kept in contact, and one year later a different opportunity arose that was a better fit for that candidate.
- Follow up. It's okay to contact the hiring manager or recruiter for feedback or to make them aware that you are interested in additional opportunities. Recruiters are not always the best at getting back with you, however, I have been known to forward or direct candidates to other opportunities from those within my network that might be a better fit for them.