What to do when turning down a contract

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As a contractor, you’ll receive a multitude of assignment opportunities during the course of your career. Some will be extremely exciting, others not so much.

One of the many benefits of contracting is your ability to pick and choose your assignments, so inevitably you’ll have to turn down those that aren’t suitable. Although rejecting an offer isn’t easy for some, it’s an essential skill to master.

Here are a couple of points to consider:

Think carefully

There could be many reasons why you may not want to accept on assignment on face value, however you should always take time to think about your options and not make any rash decisions.

In particular, you should think about:

  • Financial – If you turn down this contract will you be financially stable?
  • Assignments – Do you have other contracts in the pipeline?
  • Reputation – Will turning down the role damage longstanding relationships?

Be professional

If you are confident in your decision to decline the project, it’s crucial you maintain a professional standing with the agency and/or company.

A good way to approach a client is to be honest. If it’s appropriate to tell them your reason or declining the opportunity, make sure you don’t speak negatively as it could damage your chances for any future work.

It’s also vital you let them know immediately you’re unable to take on the assignment. This will avoid wasting their time processing your details and give them enough notice to find another candidate. If you know someone who would be interested, recommend them to show you’re still co-operative.

Thank them for their interest

It may seem like a no-brainer, but taking the time to thank the client for thinking of you goes a long way. Ensure you communicate that you appreciate the offer, as even this small act of courtesy can make a big impression.

Give them something for free

If a particular assignment is outside your range of expertise, don’t be afraid to let the client know and point them in the right direction of someone that could be a better fit. This will help ensure that they think of you the next time a more suitable opportunity comes around.

Have your say

Are you a contractor? How do you reject an assignment offer? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

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