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How to Decline An Interview: 3 Simple Steps

Sarah O’Mahoney

Marketing Specialist and Freelance Writer


Ensuring that a job is a good fit for you is key when on your job search. Getting called for an interview can seem like a great step in the right direction! Interviews take a lot of time and effort to prepare for, from researching the job and company, to making sure you know your resume back to front. 

Though this a usually a momentous occasion, let’s say the interview you have been called for isn’t exactly the job you thought it was. So now you have to figure out how to decline an interview. Don’t worry. We’ve got you!

Declining a job interview is nothing to be ashamed of, in fact, if you feel the job isn’t for you, it’s encouraged. Declining a job interview because the job doesn’t seem like the best fit for you, not only saves your time, but also saves the interviewing panel time and lets them focus on candidates who are fully interested in the job. 

Here are some things to consider when thinking about how to decline a job interview. Like everything in the job searching world, there is a right and wrong way to go about everything… let’s have a look! 

3 Reasons Why to Consider Declining a Job Interview

As mentioned above, the main reason you would consider how to decline an interview is because the job doesn’t seem like a good fit, but there are many other reasons why one may have to decline or cancel an interview. 

1. Taking the Job Would Be a Risk

If the interview is for a job that may seem risky to take, it may be worth considering how to decline a job interview. For example, if you have found out that the company is in financial hot water or is facing a big legal case, it may be best to steer clear of the company in the meantime. When taking on a new job, or even just interviewing for one, the hope is that you will have job security. If you are entering into a situation where a company is on the rocks, job security may not be likely. To avoid this risk, it may be best just to decline the job interview altogether. 

How to Decline an Interview (Reason # 2 depiction)

2. You Haven’t Heard Good Things About the Company

Word of mouth is very powerful when it comes to searching for a job. The insights you can gain about a company from online reviews, or people you know working there can give you a really positive feeling about a company, or the opposite. 

If it’s the case that you consistently heard bad or negative things about the company you are considering an interview with, it might be plausible to also prepare yourself for how to decline an interview. More often than not, the things you hear and read about a company are most likely true. For your own sake, it might be best to avoid interviewing for a company with such a bad reputation. The last thing you want is to spend lots of time on the hiring process, to find out everything you heard about the company was true. 

3. You are Overqualified for the Position

If you feel that you are overqualified for the position, then chances are, you are. If you have applied for a job that you are overqualified for, companies may jump at this as an opportunity to hire someone with heaps of experience for a job they are overqualified for. If you are getting the feeling that this is the case for the interview you have been called for, it may be time for you to consider how to decline an interview. 

The list goes on when it comes to reasons why someone may want to decline the job. The fact of the matter is that you know best. If you find yourself feeling nervous about an interview because it doesn’t seem like a good fit or you’ve heard bad things, you always have the option of declining. Don’t worry, the next one will suit you better! 

So, let’s have a look at how you would go about declining a job interview… 

How to Decline a Job Interview

1. Be Polite

For whatever reason you are declining a job interview, make sure to be polite. It’s important not to burn any bridges with any company. You never know when a job more suited to you may come up, and you may want to interview for that instead. 

You should also thank the hiring manager for the opportunity and express that you appreciate the hiring team taking the time to consider your application. Being friendly and polite goes a long way during your job search, you never know what opportunity may pop up in the future. 

2. Be Timely

If you have been offered an interview, try and respond as promptly as possible. It is okay to take some time to consider how to decline an interview, but the process of hiring the right candidate for a job takes a lot of time and effort. You should be considerate and remember that you are just one of the candidates that have been called for an interview. If you have decided to decline the interview, let the hiring team know as soon as you have made your decision. 

3. Be Honest

There is no harm in giving the hiring team some information on why you have decided to decline a job interview. Don’t worry, you aren’t expected to divulge too much detail. You can briefly mention that you have received a job offer in the meantime, or that you feel the interview you were called for doesn’t feel like the best fit. More often than not, the hiring team will appreciate your honesty. 

‘How to Decline an Interview’ Email Example

Subject: Interview for Business Analyst at Company X

Dear Mr. David Smith, 

I would like to thank you for inviting me to interview for the business analyst role at Company X. Although I appreciate you taking the time to consider and review my application, unfortunately at this time I have to decline the interview. After reviewing the job description again, I don’t feel this role is the best match for my skills and experience. 

I would like to wish you the very best of luck in the rest of the hiring process, and hopefully we have the opportunity to work together in the future. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Lucy Parker 

Email Example #2: How to Turn Down an Email Invitation

Conclusion

Hopefully this article gave you everything you need while you consider what reasons are appropriate and how to decline an interview. There will always be bumps in the road along your job searching journey. As we mentioned earlier, if you have to decline a job interview, hopefully the next one is a hit! 

Happy Job Searching!

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