Recruitment

How to Politely Decline a Job Interview

Bryan Brown | 2 November 2022 | 2 years ago

How to Decline a Job Interview

It is always a difficult situation when you receive a job interview that you know you do not want to attend. However, it is essential to remember that first impressions are important, and how you handle this situation can make all the difference. When declining a job interview, it is crucial to be professional and polite. Remember that the person who extended the invitation is likely to be in a position of power and influence, and you don’t want to burn any bridges. After all, there may come a time later on when you will want to apply for a job with this company or another one that this person is associated with.

In this article, we will explain how to decline a job interview without coming across as ungrateful or ruining any future opportunities. We will also provide some sample responses that you can use as a starting point.

Reasons to Decline a Job Interview

There are several reasons why you might decline a job interview and decide to keep looking or stay in your current job. Some of these reasons include:

You have researched the company and don’t like what you’ve found out

This is a valid reason for declining an interview. If you’re not impressed with the company, then it’s probably not somewhere you want to work. For example, if their values don’t align with your own or if they have a bad reputation, then it’s probably not worth your time to interview with them. Perhaps they have a poor environmental record or there have been issues with fire and rehire. Whatever, the issue, it is usually not worth taking the risk.

You are Overqualified for the Position

This is another valid reason for declining an interview. If you feel like the position is beneath your skill level, or pays beneath your levels of qualification, then it is likely to be the wrong job for you. Explain this when declining the interview so that the company understands you are not rejecting the company itself, but the specific position. This means that if a more suitable role comes up in the future, you would be open to interviewing for that.

You’re Simply Happy Where You Are

This is a perfectly acceptable reason for declining an interview. If you’re content in your current position, then there’s no need to pursue other opportunities. Just be sure to thank the company for giving you the opportunity to interview and let them know that you appreciate their interest but that you’re not interested in making a change at this time.

The Position Would Affect Your Personal/Family Life

If the new position requires you to relocate or travel extensively, it could disrupt your family’s or your own personal life. This is an important consideration, especially if you have young children at home or other responsibilities that cannot be easily uprooted. There may be some way to negotiate a more flexible arrangement, but it is important to weigh all of the pros and cons before making a decision.

decline job interview over employee benefits

You Have Received a Better Offer from a Different Company

If you have been interviewing with multiple companies and have received a better offer from one of them, it makes sense to decline the other interviews. There is no point in continuing to pursue a position that is not as attractive as another option. Again, make sure to weigh all of the factors before making a decision, such as the salary, benefits and work/life balance. It is worth explaining this to the other companies because they may consider matching the offer to secure you.

The Company’s Financial or Legal Status Seems Suspect

If you have concerns about the company’s financial stability or legal standing, it is best to decline the job interview. It is not worth taking on the risk of working for a company that could soon be out of business or embroiled in scandal. Make sure to do your research before accepting any job offer, so you can avoid any unpleasant surprises down the road.

You are Suspiciously Underqualified for the Role

If the job description seems to require more experience or skills than you possess, it is probably best to decline the interview. It is possible that they are willing to train someone with less experience, but it is also possible that they are just looking for someone to fill a position that they cannot otherwise fill. Either way, it is not worth your time to interview for a position that you are not qualified for.

You Don’t Want to Risk Your Current Job

If you are happy with your current job and do not want to risk losing it by interviewing for another position, then there is no shame in declining an interview. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and there is no point in putting your current job in jeopardy if you are not actively looking for a new role. Of course, if you are unsatisfied with your current job and are actively looking for something new, then this reason does not apply.

You Have Already Done Multiple Rounds of Interviews

Finally, if you have already interviewed multiple times with the same company and feel like you are being strung along without any real progress being made, it may be time to politely decline further interviews. There is no need to waste your time on a process that is going nowhere. Sometimes it is best to cut your losses and move on.

always be polite and respectful

How to Decline a Job Interview Properly

It is not enough to just text back to a job interview invitation saying “No thanks.” You want to ensure that you are declining the interview politely and professionally, in a way that will not damage your reputation or burn any bridges. Here is how to properly decline a job interview:

1. Respond Promptly

When you receive a job interview invitation, the company will usually give you a deadline by which to respond. In most cases, you will have around one week to let them know whether or not you can attend. It is important to try and respond as quickly as possible so that the company has time to make alternative arrangements if needed.

If you are not sure whether or not you want to attend the interview, it is better to reply and say that you need more time to make a decision. This shows that you are interested in the position and are taking the invitation seriously. You can then get back to them at a later date once you have made your decision.

2. Be Polite

When declining a job interview, the most important thing to remember is to be polite and professional. Even if you feel like the position is way beneath you or is not a good fit, it is important to be respectful in your response. This is not the time to vent your frustrations or give your honest opinion about the company. The person who extended the invitation is likely doing so out of courtesy, and you don’t want to come across as ungrateful.

It is also important to remember that the person you are corresponding with is likely an influential person in your industry. If you cause any offence now or create a bad impression, it could come back to bite you later on. For example, if a vacancy comes up for a higher position in the same company later, you don’t want them to remember you as being rude or unprofessional.

A huge number of people who are invited for a job interview but aren’t interested do not even bother replying at all. Just the fact that you have made the effort and taken the time to respond shows that you are a considerate and professional individual. This is likely to leave a positive impression, even if you do not end up getting the job.

3. Respond in Writing

Sending a text or WhatsApp declining a job interview can seem tempting because it is a quick and easy solution. However, this is a formal situation, and you want to make sure that your response comes across as professional. That is why it is always best to respond in writing, either by email or letter.

These days, an email is usually better because it will be received instantaneously and there won’t be any chance of it getting lost in the mail. Furthermore, in most cases, you will have received the job interview invitation by email so responding directly to that email is the most logical route.

email to decline a job interview invitation

What to Consider When Writing Your Email

When declining a job interview invitation, there are various things to consider if you want to make a good impression and not damage any future opportunities. Some of these considerations include:

Thank Them for the Invitation

Even if you have no intention of attending the interview, it is important to show your appreciation for being invited in the first place. This shows that you are grateful for the opportunity and are taking it seriously, even if you ultimately decide not to attend.

You can do this by thanking them for inviting you and expressing your appreciation for them considering you for the role. Something like “Thank you for inviting me to interview for the XYZ position. I am grateful for the opportunity and appreciate your consideration”.

Keep It Short and Sweet

When declining a job interview, it is important to keep your response short and sweet. There is no need to go into great detail about why you are not interested or to list all of the reasons why you think the company is not a good fit.

If it is literally a timing issue, then explain this and the interviewer may be able to reschedule. If you are simply not interested in the job, just explain that you are happy in your current role but you would like to keep communication routes open in case of potential joint opportunities in the future.

Refer Someone Else for the Position

If you know somebody who would fit the position well, there is nothing wrong with referring them. This makes you look good because it shows that you are thinking of the company’s needs and not just your own and could also help out a friend or colleague who needs a job.

An example of how you could do this would be “Although I am not interested in the job myself, I know somebody who would be perfect for it. I would be happy to put you in touch with them if you like”.

Three Sample Job Interview Rejection Emails

Now that we have gone over some of the key points to consider when writing your email, let’s take a look at three different job interview rejection email templates that you can use.

Template 1:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for inviting me to interview for the XYZ position. I am grateful for the opportunity and appreciate your consideration.

However, I am happy in my current position so will not be able to attend the interview.

I wish you all the best in your search for a suitable candidate.

Sincerely,

John Doe

Template 2:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I very much appreciate you inviting me for the position of XYZ. I have been a long-term admirer of your company so it was a difficult decision to make.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the interview as I am already committed to another engagement at that time. However, I would love to keep communication lines open for potential future opportunities.

Thank you again for your invitation and consideration.

Sincerely,

John Doe

Template 3:

Dear Mr/Ms X,

Thank you for inviting me to attend the interview for the XYZ position.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the interview as I was recently offered a position with a higher salary and the opportunity to work one day from home.

I wish you all the best in your search for a suitable candidate.

Sincerely,

John Doe

more jobs available

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide on how to decline a job interview will help you to do so in a way that is both professional and polite. Just remember to keep it short and sweet, show your appreciation for the opportunity and keep future doors open. The most important thing is to fully weigh up any position before you decide to reject it. What may seem like big issues may actually be workable and you could find yourself with a great opportunity on your hands.

Related Topics

How to Write a Good Job Advert: 5 Ways to Make People Apply For Your Roles
20 April 2023

How to Write a Good Job Advert: 5 Ways to Make People Apply For Your...

Read More →
5 Ways to Save Costs of Recruitment
19 April 2023

5 Ways to Save Costs of Recruitment

Read More →
Can I Ask Job Candidates to Carry Out Sample Tasks?
17 April 2023

Can I Ask Job Candidates to Carry Out Sample Tasks?

Read More →
How Much Does a Recruitment Agency Charge?
14 April 2023

How Much Does a Recruitment Agency Charge?

Read More →
How To Write A Thank You Email After A Job Interview
10 November 2022

How To Write A Thank You Email After A Job Interview

Read More →
How can IT businesses source the best talent from a jobs market suffering from skills shortages?
7 February 2022

How can IT businesses source the best talent from a jobs market suffering from skills...

Read More →

If you enjoy reading our articles,
why not sign up for our newsletter?

We commit to just delivering high-quality material that is specially crafted for our audience.

Join Our Newsletter