Suppose you're on the job market for a while, found a position that interests you, sent an application, and received an email prompting you for an interview. In most scenarios, this would be great news.
However, there might be some scenarios where you'll have to turn these opportunities down before preparing for an interview. Before sending an email declining the offer, consider how you want to write it. A hiring manager might misinterpret the message as being rude or unappreciative of the opportunity.
Here are some insights on how to decline an interview without having your response backfire.
5 Reasons You May Need to Decline a Job Interview
While some people might consider turning down a job interview a waste of their efforts when seeking employment opportunities, there are specific scenarios where this course of action is necessary.
Before delving into how to decline a job interview, consider why you might have to turn down a potential role. These reasons also apply if you participated in multi-stage interviews.
1. You already accepted a job offer
There might be situations where a company requests an interview after you already accepted a job offer from another company. This scenario is more likely to occur if you spend ample time finding and applying to multiple positions.
2. You decided to cancel your job search
Applying for a job is a time-consuming process and puts a lot of pressure on people seeking the perfect job. You might decline an interview if you decide you need a break from your job search or want to reevaluate your career path. If you got promoted in your current job or don't want to leave yet, you can also cancel your job search until you're ready to move on.
3. You’re not interested in the role
Sometimes, the job you want might not be as suited up as you thought it would be. Some examples of why you might reconsider moving forward with a job interview include:
- Your skillset might not match the position
- You don't have the years of experience they need
- You might want to withdraw after the first-round interview if you think this position isn't something you want to do
4. The company or the people within the company
Another reason you might consider declining an interview with a company is because of their reputation. For example, you might not agree with some of their work ethics or how they handle leadership. On the other hand, perhaps your peers worked for an unruly manager and gave you firsthand accounts of how it's not a great work environment.
5. You have conflicting schedules that may conflict with your interview
Sometimes, life gets in the way of our plans and forces us to rearrange our schedules. For example, when a company asks you for an interview within a limited time frame, and you have other plans you can't miss, such as a doctor's appointment or a family get-together, you may need to cancel it if they can't reschedule it.
How to Politely Decline a Job Interview
Unsure of how to turn down an interview without sounding condescending? Here are a few factors you should consider before writing your email response. Combining each of these options can help you deliver your message without any ambiguity.
When declining an interview, consider replying or sending a separate email as soon as possible. For example, suppose the interviewer or hiring manager wants to fill out the position within a few weeks. By quickly turning down their interview offer, you give them more time to schedule interviews with other potential candidates.
When turning down an interview, your response must remain courteous and professional. There might be a chance that the company might have a position that interests you more, and if your message comes across as rude to the hiring manager, they may not accept any of your future applications.
Be direct, but don’t elaborate
You don't have to go into the specifics of why you want to decline an interview, but you should tell the company you can't interview to keep your relationship on good terms.
Example Email Template for Declining a Job Interview [general ]
Subject: Job Interview Invitation - Jasper Hekashore
Dear Hiring Manager:
Thank you for considering me as a candidate for the Contract Manager position and inviting me for this interview. However, I have to withdraw my application at this time.
I appreciate the time you took to look over my application and reach out to me, and I sincerely apologize that I can't pursue this opportunity. Here’s hoping we can speak with each other again in the future.
Example Email Template for Declining a Job Interview [accepted another job]
Subject: Thank you for reaching out about this opportunity
Dear Hiring Manager:
Thank you for the opportunity to interview with XYZ Corporation about the Marketing Writer position. However, after submitting my application to you, another company offered me a position, which I accepted, so I would like to decline this interview offer.
Although this role intrigued me, this other role was one I couldn't pass on. I wish you the best of luck in finding an eligible candidate for this position. Thank you once again for considering me for this role.
Huck Mason, Jr.
Example Email Template for Declining a Job Interview [not interested in this role]
Subject: Interview offer - Avery Boone
Dear Hiring Manager:
Thank you for reaching out about setting up an interview regarding the Copywriter role at YXV Inc. I was very intrigued by what your company had to offer.
Unfortunately, I don't think this role is the right fit for me as I'm seeking a more senior role. Please keep me in mind for other roles you may have in the future.
Thank you once again for your consideration. I hope you find the best match for this role as soon as possible.
Declining an interview might feel like a step backward, but it opens the door for new and better opportunities worth your attention. But, like a thank you email, you must keep sincere and professional, so you can sign off on a good impression.