After a couple rounds of interviews, a company has offered me a position and asked me to come in to fill out the paperwork.

I was quite OK with the offer, but have come to learn (from friends who have spoken with previous employees of the company) that the company's culture is bad and there are a lot of bad practices.

They are asking for a two-year commitment (if I don't stay for two years I will have to pay a huge amount). I was comfortable with this situation until I found out about all the negativity.

How can I professionally decline the offer?

I followed this link - How to decline a job offer in writing

Although my situation and point of concerns are somehow different from this, and they are as follows -

  1. The above link is only explaining about rejecting the offer but my thing is little different. They started the hiring process when I told them that I was looking for a job change - they instantiated the process.
  2. Saying "NO" is easy for me at this stage, but being in the industry I want to make it little more professional. If in the future I come across the HR or technical persons involved during the process, then this won't affect me at that time.
  3. What are the points I can mention for rejecting the offer, as I don't want to directly raise pointers at their bad practices involved which make me to think about this.
  • 3
    Related: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/2091/…
    – Oded
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 19:08
  • 4
    I'm voting to reopen this question as I don't think it's an exact duplicate of the question listed. If I was trying to find a polite way to turn down a job offer over the phone or in person after changing my mind, I wouldn't think to check out the question about turning down a job offer in writing. It's related, but I wouldn't call it an exact duplicate :)
    – Rachel
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 14:23
  • 13
    "if I don't stay for two years I will have to pay a huge amount" is a huge red flag - and its probably illegal.
    – Neuro
    Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 20:33
  • 5
    "They are asking for a two-year commitment" = yes, that's a gigantic red flag. Run away! Run away!
    – DA.
    Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 22:54
  • 2
    So if they fire you on day 1, you will end up owing them money. Can I offer you a job on the same terms?
    – emory
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 17:36

5 Answers 5


Saying "no" is easy. Call the person you have been dealing with in the company and tell them that you are no longer interested in the position.

I am assuming that you have got enough details about what "bad work culture" means to convince yourself you really don't want to work there. If you haven't got details, remember that one person's "bad work culture" might be another's "stimulating work environment". It doesn't matter who initiated the process - either of you can back out until an offer is made and accepted.

Finally, use this opportunity to remind yourself to research the next company you apply to before they interview you.

EDIT: having just read the comment about the "two year bond", unless you are in a country where this practice is normal (which is none I've ever had dealings with) or the company is providing you with expensive training, decline this offer. I understand you want to be polite, so just say you've changed your mind. If they press you for more information, either tell them what you were told, or say nothing if you are more comfortable.

  • 6
    +1 for "Finally, use this opportunity to remind yourself to research the next company you apply to before they interview you."
    – swapnesh
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 3:42

Once you said yes, they started the process of telling other candidates never mind. The longer you wait the more of the acceptable candidates they will have contacted. They will view your rejection of the position at this stage as a black mark. How long they will remember it is debatable.

If the rumors are true, you shouldn't apply to that company in the next few years because the odds of them changing faster than that are slim. Therefore the best advice to to reject the offer formally, as quickly as possible, and them move on. You don't have to go into great detail as to why you are rejecting the position. They are unlikely to change because of it, and if you are wrong about them, they still won't come running back to you.

I have never had to accept a job with a two year bond. I have known people who have to stay for a year to pay for some special training or moving expenses. I did have one place who wanted me to verbally commit to a year, then 30 days later they decided to in-source and told all the contractors they could only keep their job if they were hired by the government. Most contractors left as soon as they could find another contract.

If it is normal in your field to have the two year bond, then you must look very carefully at any new position. The actual work being done, the working conditions, the corporate culture are frequently mysteries when joining a new organization, knowing that you will face a big financial penalty unless you survive two years seems to be overwhelming.

Because rumors about working conditions made you balk, you might want to rethink your choice of companies/positions.

  • 1
    thx for the suggestion..personally I too feel 2 year bond is quite a long period to sign a bond in IT industry.
    – swapnesh
    Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 19:14
  • "Once you said yes, they started the process of telling other candidates never mind." I'm not convinced this matters; they can easily get in touch with their second choice and say circumstances have changed.
    – Andy
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 22:05
  • Any sane company would contact the person they want to hire FIRST. Then, only after getting an agreement to take the offer, would they contact their second and third choices. That's why if you don't hear back from a job quickly you are likely not getting it. They're waiting to get their first choice before telling you "No." Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 10:43
  • And they rarely would tell their second and third choices no, until the agreement is signed.
    – florian
    Commented Mar 24, 2022 at 12:02

If you've completed the paperwork that is acceptance of the offer, then the key becomes to find a way to terminate the contract which may be a challenge but then this is part of why you should have done more homework before accepting the offer.

If you haven't accepted the offer officially, then you should be able to decline without penalty I'd think though this may depend on the laws of your jurisdiction in either case.

  • no paper work is fortunately not done yet :) so i think its ok to say straighht forward NO to the company :) +1
    – swapnesh
    Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 3:43

Corporations are not people and do not need the same approach as when dealing with people. "Just say NO!"

Do not accept any commitments, unless they are reciprocated - you will find they are not. The usual answer is "I am not authorized to commit to you." But there will be no hesitation is asking for a commitment.

Suggestion: If you find any clause in any employment clause unacceptable, just mark it out and initial it. Then get it accepted before signing it. There is always room to negotiate, they just do not want you to know it.

Dear {{person}},

 Thanks you for your offer. I have chosen another position.



Tell the company you are interested, but you can't accept the 2 year lock in. Perhaps also attempt to negotiate a higher salary. You can then accept the job, but you have an escape hatch if it turns out to be as bad as you have heard.

If they turn you down you have lost nothing, and perhaps gained some confidence.

If the negative stories are exaggerated and they give you what you have asked for, you have the job, plus a little more money and a good negotiating position.

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