How to Decline a Job Interview

Two Parts:Determining if You Should Decline a Job InterviewDeclining a Job Interview

Having lots of job interviews lined up is a good problem to have. But if you have too many interviews or if you have an interview with a company that you don’t want to keep, you may need to decline an interview. Before you decline a job interview, you should make sure that you really want to decline it. If you decide to decline the interview, you can do so by following a few simple steps. Keep reading to learn how to decline a job interview.

Part 1
Determining if You Should Decline a Job Interview

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    Identify the reasons why you may want to decline the interview. If you are thinking about declining a job interview, then you probably have one or more reasons that are influencing you. Still, it is a good idea to identify those reasons and think about whether or not you really want to decline the interview. Some common reasons for wanting to decline a job interview include:
    • Receiving a job offer from a different company
    • Having concerns about the commute, pay, or management
    • Feeling like the company is not a good fit for you
    • Hearing bad things about the work environment
    • Having worked for the company before and not wanting to return[1]
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    Consider the work environment and other contributing factors in your decision. If you are on the fence about accepting a job interview, take time to weigh all of the factors that are influencing your decision to accept or decline the interview. One way to determine if a job is a good fit for you is to make a list of pros and cons.[2]
    • To weigh the pros and cons, list all of the potentially positive aspects of working for the company alongside all of the potentially negative aspects. Determine if the pros outweigh the cons. If they do not, then you should probably decline the interview.
    • Keep in mind that you can often negotiate things like pay, hours, and other aspects of the job that are not quite in line with your needs.
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    Trust your instincts. If after all of your soul-searching, you still think this job is not for you and you want to decline the interview, do it. Chances are that your gut instinct to a company, manager, or position are correct. The only exception would be if your instincts are telling you to decline the interview because you are afraid of being rejected or if you are just nervous about job interviews. In this case, you should push yourself to complete the job interview.[3]

Part 2
Declining a Job Interview

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    Use the most appropriate method of communication for your situation. If the employer contacted you via email, then you should send your message via email as well. If the employer has contacted you by phone, then you should pick up the phone to deliver your message. Don’t send a fax or letter via snail mail unless you have been contacted by the employer using these methods.[4]
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    Write out your message. Whether you will be sending your message or delivering it over the phone, you should write out your message. Make sure that you include the following elements in your message to decline a job interview offer:
    • A greeting such as “Dear ____,”
    • A thank you message such as, “Thank you for offering me the opportunity to learn more about the _______position at your organization.”
    • A brief explanation of why you are declining the interview, such as “At this time I regret that I must decline because I have accepted a position with a different company.” Just make sure that you do not provide a reason that might be considered rude or ungracious. If you can’t think of a nice way to phrase your reason, don’t provide a reason at all.
    • A request for confirmation of message receipt, such as “Please reply/call back so that I know you have received my message.”
    • A brief closing message, such as “Thank you for your time and consideration.”[5]
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    Decline the interview as soon as possible. While you may not want the position, there are likely many other eligible candidates who will be thrilled to take your place. Make sure that you respond to the company in a timely fashion so that the recruiter can arrange for someone else to interview in your stead.
    • It is important to be prompt with your response if you plan to decline an interview. Your prompt response will be appreciated by the recruiter, which will help you to maintain a good reputation with the company. If you decide that you would like to interview for a position with this company in the future, a good reputation will be crucial.[6]


  • Be honest and polite when declining a job interview. It is important not to burn any bridges when you are searching for a job, even if you really don’t like the company. Your reputation may be damaged by an dishonest or ungracious response.[7]

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Categories: Interview Skills