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Career Hub
June 4, 2020
June 28, 2022

How to Decline a Job Interview

Dave Fano

At some point throughout your career, you will have to decline a job interview. In this article, we'll discuss how to decline an interview invitation and also how to reject an offer during your job search.

At some point throughout your career, you will have to decline a job interview. In this article, we'll discuss how to decline an interview invitation and also how to reject an offer during your job search. The key is being polite and gracious.

Companies don't expect every candidate to accept their offer. However, you never know when you will cross paths with the hiring manager or recruiter again so you always want to keep things professional.

We'll break down how to decline a job offer and how to turn down an interview. With these tips, you will have a better understanding of the best way to decline an opportunity.

How do you politely decline a job interview?

Most employees have received an email asking them if they would be interested in interviewing at a different company. You could be at a point in your career that you are not interested in pursuing a new opportunity though and there could be many reasons you don't want to leave your job. Here are a few tips to ensure you don't burn any bridges.

  • Always respond. Even if you aren't interested in the opportunity, let the recruiter know the timing isn't right.
  • Keep your options open. Let them know you would be interested in future opportunities and to keep you in mind.
  • Use your manners. When you send an email back, use polite language. Phrases like, thank you for considering me and I appreciate you reaching out, work really well.

Here is a sample email you can send back to a recruiter if you want to turn down a job interview. By sending even a short response, you are at least showing the recruiter you are professional and respect their time.

It's a bad idea to ignore an email from a potential employer. It only takes a few minutes to shoot off a quick reply to an interview invitation.

Thank you so much for considering me for this position. At this time I am not interested in interviewing. While this is the wrong time, I hope you will keep me in mind for future opportunities. Thanks again!

How to turn down a job offer

Sometimes candidates get an offer for a new job and need to turn it down. There are numerous reasons to decline an offer. It could be a salary issue, you accepted a job with a different company, a counteroffer from your current position, or other personal reasons.

While the hiring manager and team might be disappointed, this does happen, and they will find another candidate. You want to make sure if you are declining a job offer that you handle it the proper way. Here is a sample note you could send back if the offer came via email.

Thank you so much for the offer to work at your company. After a lot of thought, I have decided to move forward with a different opportunity. This was not an easy decision to come to and I hope you understand turning this down was not a reflection of my option of the organization. During my job search, I realized I would not be a good fit and have decided to stay in my current role. I think this is the best option for me at this time. I am happy to provide any additional details or information you may need. Thanks again.

If you are offered a position over the phone, you should call back to decline. If the offer came from the hiring manager, make sure that is who you ask to speak to. You will want to say something like this to the person that offered you the role.

Thank you very much but I will be declining your offer. Although it was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in my career, I decided to stay at my current job. All of my interviews were wonderful and I hope you find the right candidate for the role.

If you have to leave a message, do not decline the job in a voicemail. Leave a simple message asking them to call you back. Once on the phone, you may need to provide the reasons you are not taking the job.

Here are a few reasons candidates decide to turn down an offer.

  • Your current company made a counteroffer and you have decided to stay.
  • You already accepted another offer.
  • You applied to your dream job and want to see the process through.
  • Your current situation has changed and you are no longer looking to leave your job.
  • After some thought, you realized the job is not a good fit for you.

Personal reasons to turn down an interview or offer

There could be personal reasons you decide not to take a job or an interview. These could be unrelated to the job you have submitted an application to.

Whatever the case, you should always contact someone at the company to let them know. If you are in the middle of the interview process and your circumstances have changed, reach out and let the recruiter know.

It's okay if things change but it's best to touch base as soon as possible. It's never a good approach to ignore a meeting request or phone call. It's important that you handle everything related to your job search with care and professionalism.

It's just common courtesy. In the end, whatever decision you make should be what's best for your career in the long run.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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