I've been offered a return offer for a summer internship at a firm in a different country than the one I reside in. I would love to return, but salaries there are significantly lower than the country living I live in, to the degree that internships typically pay 2-4 times what they are offering.

I may move to this country in a few years and would like to get a job with this company if I do. The salary they are offering is very competitive there, just not here.

Should I explain to the company that I am rejecting their offer for financial reasons? On the one hand, I want them to know that it's not for any negative reason and I would like to continue with them later on. On the other hand, I'm afraid that this sounds unprofessional and may offend them.

Note that this is a small firm and the managers will definitely remember me later on.

  • If you are feeling concerned that they would hold this reason against you, remember that you are not expected to give a reason. "Thanks, but it isn't quite what I'm looking for at this time" is more than sufficient. – keshlam Feb 3 '17 at 6:23
  • Why did you apply knowing that salaries are so much lower? How you decline and what reason you give depends a lot on your thinking going into this and whether it's a reason that you really should have considered before going though the interview process. Actually rereading this I'm not sure you really applied so if there was no interview/application but more a "We'd love to have you back if you're interested" then that's obviously different. Can you edit that info into your question? – Lilienthal Feb 3 '17 at 9:08
  • @Lilienthal: Note the "return offer" part. I did not interview - I have previously worked at this firm, in that country. – Gree Feb 3 '17 at 15:21

Dear Sir,

I really loved working for you in [year XXXX, could also add project/superior if the person was not your manager before], and I would love to return to your company. However, that offer would not cover my financial needs, and it is not located in the country where I currently live.

Would you agree to discuss the salary and/or the location with me, so that we can come to an agreement ? I am available by phone, or can come to discuss it on [your availability].

Thank you for your consideration... [polite conclusions]

If you are having a written discussion, something like the above would do just fine.

Remember that you are not forced to give a reason, and can simply decline, but this kind of argumentation is rational and reasonable. If they want you back, and have some room for negotiation on their side, they will at least agree to talk.

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Bearing in mind that you live in a different country, merely stating that fact would be sufficient.

Just say that you are not looking to move at the moment.

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