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How to Decline a Job Offer Requiring Relocation

by Kristine Tucker, studioD

Turning down a job offer doesn't have to be tense or uncomfortable, especially if the reason for declining the offer is because you don't want to relocate. When you get a job offer or a promotion that requires you to relocate to another city, you might have to pass on the opportunity if it doesn't meet your personal or career goals.


Declining a job offer face-to-face might seem intimidating, but it's usually the best way to clearly express why you can't accept the offer. When you talk to an employer face-to-face, she's able to read your facial expressions and body language. Since relocation is an understandable reason for declining an offer, use friendly non-verbal cues to reassure the employer that it's nothing personal. Eye contact, smiles and relaxed body language help put everyone at ease. It's difficult to express tone in an email, so a face-to-face discussion gives you the opportunity to explain why relocating doesn't fit your current lifestyle or long-term goals.

Phone Call

If you can't get a face-to-face meeting with the employer or feel that a face-to-face discussion is too awkward, call the hiring manager on the phone. According to "Forbes," declining a job offer over the phone shows professionalism and proves you're not afraid or ashamed to speak with the manager directly. Express sincere appreciation for the job offer and let the employer know that relocation is the main issue. There's no reason to apologize if you don't want to move, so a courteous phone call is a positive way to explain why relocation just isn't the best option for you right now.

Be Specific

Since you're not angry or upset about the job offer and there's no hidden agenda, tell the hiring manager the reason you're unwilling to relocate. Maybe you have children in school and relocating would be too traumatic for them. Or, you're in a relationship and don't think a long-distance romance is the right decision for your and your partner. Another possibility is that you're married and your husband has a job he doesn't want to leave. If you feel comfortable giving a reason why relocation isn't an acceptable option, share it with the employer.

Another Offer

You might choose to decline a job that requires you to relocate in favor of a local job. According to the Virginia Tech Division of Student Affairs, it's acceptable to tell an employer that you've found another job that better fits your lifestyle and career goals. Explain to the employer that relocation is a deal-breaker and you've decided to take a local job. It's best not to be snarky about the other offer because you might end up applying again to the company whose job offer you declined. You don't want to burn any bridges.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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