how to decline an interview

How To Decline An Interview Professionally

When actively searching for a job, it can seem ridiculous to turn down an interview. There are always reasons to attend it even when the position isn’t a good fit; after all, who doesn’t want to try their luck at potential greener pastures? However, it’s okay to drop out of one if the circumstances don’t allow it, as long as you do it politely and cordially. We cover below all the tips you need on how to decline an interview professionally without burning bridges.

Why would you decline a job interview?

You Have Accepted Another Job Offer

If you have accepted another job offer, it’s only fair that you inform the other hiring manager of your decision. But before you send that email or call the HR team, be sure of your decision. Also, keep in mind that the recruiter can revoke the interview due to various reasons such as unexpected budget constraints or restructuring. That’s why it’s only wise to decline interviews without burning bridges. 

You’re Okay With Your Current Job

If you’re satisfied with your current job and there’s no chance of leaving, it may be best to turn down the interview as soon as possible to avoid wasting anyone’s time, including your own. 

The Role Isn’t a Good Fit

There are times when you might apply for a job thinking it’s a good fit only to realize the responsibilities don’t align with what you want. In that case, it’s best to cancel the interview to avoid wasting the recruiter’s time. 

The Company Has a Bad Reputation

It’s good to research a company before an interview. If you find negative information about the company, take note of it but do more research. An anonymous online platform might exaggerate the story or be biased. But if you know a colleague, friend or relative who worked there and had a bad experience, that may be a good reason to reject the interview.

How to decline an Interview?

Now that you know it’s not unprofessional to turn down a job interview, and there are legit reasons to decline one, you need to figure out how to do so professionally. Outlined below are a few pointers on how to frame your communication on this.

Be Sure

There are several reasons to turn down an interview invitation, but whatever the reason, you have to be sure of that decision. Take time to consider your reasons because it could be just fear or anxiety. Make sure you’re declining the invite for a good reason to avoid future regrets. 

Be Diplomatic

Once you decline an interview, avoid telling lies to the recruiter. You might need them in the future, and if you made the wrong impression, then your goose is as good as cooked. 

Suggest Another Candidate if Possible

If the company’s reputation is high, you can refer anyone interested in that position. By helping a friend, you also gain trust with the recruiter while expanding your job network

Respond Promptly

Though you should take time to decide, you must let the recruiter know your decision as soon as possible. Respect the opportunity given to avoid wasting the time that could be used filling the position. 

Keep It Vague

Your email should be sincere and concise. Don’t get into the details of your decision. Citing a reason could be seen as inconsiderate, which can destroy your chances of being employed in that organization in the future. Furthermore, you may end up sharing too much unnecessary information. 

Templates on How to Decline an Interview

If you’re wondering what to write to the employer, here are two templates that you can personalize to fit the message.

Template 1: Commending Another Candidate

Dear [Company Contact],

I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to interview for (job title). I appreciate your consideration and time. 

Unfortunately, I regret that I must decline the opportunity at this time due to unavoidable circumstances. 

However, my colleague, [First and Last Name], would be a good fit for this position. You can reach them via email at (email address) or through (phone number.)

All the best, and I hope we get another chance to work together. 

Best Regards,

[First and Last Name]

Template 2: Withdrawal Application

Thank you so much for considering me for the (Job title) position. Unfortunately, I have decided to pursue another opportunity. Wishing you all the best and hope you find a suitable candidate for the job.


[First and Last Name]



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There are many scenarios that can occur while declining an interview. Let us look at some common scenarios and tips on how to handle each of those scenarios. While I have covered the most common scenarios, you should remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that you can use to get out of the situation. Please use this as a broad framework based on which you can customise your response to your individual situation.

Common Scenarios & how to handle them

How to Decline an Interview Last Minute

If you want to cancel an interview last minute, it would be best to call the hiring manager first and then follow up with an email. That way, you can be sure they got the message.

How to Turn Down a Job Interview but Keep the Door Open

If you have decided to turn down an interview for now but would like to keep the door open, it would be good that you communicate that to the recruiter. Let them know that you’re declining the opportunity for now but would like to work with them in the future, especially if the reason preventing you from attending the interview is temporary. 

How to Decline an Interview for a Promotion

If you have turned down an interview due to a promotion, it means you have decided to stay in your current job. When informing the interviewer, let them know that you have decided to stay in your current job for now. However, if a higher position arises in the future, you would appreciate being considered.

How to Decline an Interview Due to Low Salary

You can do this by respectfully telling the recruiter you would be glad to work with them, but the pay is not enough to sustain you for now. They will understand because, after all, you were most likely switching jobs to find greener pastures. 

How to Decline an Interview Over the Phone

Declining an interview over the phone should be a follow up after sending an email. However, if circumstances don’t allow you to send an email immediately, you can call the recruiter and explain the situation politely. 

How to Decline an Interview Due to Location

Location is a significant factor when choosing a job. If the site is not favorable to you, let the hiring manager know that you would love to work with them, but for now, the location is a hindrance. Also, notify them that if you decide to move, you might reconsider. 

How to Decline a Second Interview  

Let the interviewer know that you’re no longer interested in the position after much thought, and you can explain your reasons concisely and politely.  

If you are reading this article then it is only a matter of time before you land a new job of your choice. Do you have a plan for how you would make maximum impact in those first few crucial weeks on the new job? Our First 100 Days plan which is part of our comprehensive Career Reboot Roadmap has everything you will need and more.  .   


how to decline an interview

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