Should I turn down an internal offer?

I interviewed for two positions at the same time, one internal and one external. It looks now like I am going to receive offers from both, but my preference is for the external position. Right now I have received the external position offer in writing but I need to clear a background check which will take about 2-3 weeks. The hiring manager for the internal position sent me an email today saying he wants to meet sometime in the next week to hash out details.

What is the best way to turn down the internal offer without hurting my relationships in the company? I can’t officially resign till my position until I clear the background check, but I wouldn’t want to waste the hiring manager for the internal position’s time unnecessarily either.

1 reply
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Don’t turn down the internal offer until you’re ready to quit. It’s fine to start the intercview process internally and then take another job. Totally standard. Be gracious upon exit– always the best way to not burn bridges.

    I have written a lot about how to quit because so much of quitting is not when or why you are quitting but the kindness you express upon your departure. This is true for most anything – not just work. Here’s one of those posts:


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