How to Decline an Interview Invitation Professionally

As you look for jobs, you are bound to secure some interview invitations. It may seem ridiculous to reject an interview after a long job search but there will be instances where you realize you don't actually want the job. There are a few things you should note before you decline a job interview as you will see in this article.

But first, you need to justify whether declining the interview is the right thing to do and why you should resort to that decision.

Why would you want to reject an interview?

If you're confident that you don't want the job then you should cancel job interviews that you are no longer interested in. Do the right thing so that you're not wasting anyone's time. But your left with the question of how to decline an interview and ensure that you don't make enemies with your prospective employer?

  • Cancel the interview after accepting another offer

    As an active job seeker, you're bound to have a long list of job applications. During good times, you'd schedule your interviews back-to-back hoping to find your ideal job. There will be times when better job offers appear while you are still in the midst of the interviewing stages. If your job offer is so good that you're confident you won't be able to find it anywhere else, be straight about it and turn down the interview with the other group.

  • The position isn't a fit

    Your job search strategy should be to send your resume to various companies. In this case, you will find a lot of companies may not fit well with your goals. Usually, it is after learning more about the job responsibilities that you know if the job aligns with what you want. Before you get called to the next stage, it is better to be honest and decline the job interview then.

  • Unfavourable terms and conditions

    As with any jobs, employees must abide to a company's terms and conditions. Generally, it includes working hours, number of leaves, paid time off, holidays, vacations, and reasons for termination. All these will be known to you during the second or third phase of interview. If you're not happy with what you're hearing, think twice. Decline the job interview if you don't feel right about any of these conditions.

Different types of interviews

Companies that request you for an interview may send you an invitation in different ways. You need to respond appropriately to these messages accordingly.

  • Decline the job interview via e-mail

    In today's modern world, companies tend to send an interview invitation via e-mail. Proactively communicating through emails can save you and the company time and communication costs. Pay attention to the way you word your email to the hiring manager, and if your intention is to reject, convey it in a proper manner.

  • Decline the job interview via phone or text messages

    A company may also send you an invitation via phone call or text messages. Similarly, if you're looking to cancel job interviews that you are no longer interested in, do so politely. If you feel that informing the hiring manager through text messages isn't formal enough, you can opt to give them a call.

Learning the principles of declining an interview

Once you have decided to decline, your objective is to still leave a good impression. If you are contacted about arranging a time and date for an interview, there are several principles you have to bear in mind. Here is how to decline an interview with true professionalism.

  • Be honest

    The most important criteria when it comes to declining an interview is to be honest and truthful. If you're straightforward when it comes to this, you're more likely to gain a good impression. The hiring manager may know other contacts you are talking to in the field, and if you are caught lying, your job hunt is not going to end well.

  • Be clear

    To avoid any misunderstandings, you should always strive to be clear in what you want to convey. Keep it professional and on point. You don't have to send a seven-paragraph email or have a one-hour conversation on the phone to say that you will decline the job interview.

  • Be formal and polite

    No matter the reason why you choose to decline the job interview, you should never bash a person or a company. Have your answers ready and when you are asked to state the reason why, maintain your formality and be respectful towards your hiring manager. You don't want to burn bridges because who knows, you may need their help in the future.

  • Never ignore

    When you've decided to not proceed with an interview, it can be tempting to just ignore the request. Even if you had your resumes ignored in the past, never do that to a company that is seeking out an interview slot for you. By responding appropriately, you will at least walk away with your reputation intact.

Email Sample on How to Decline an Interview

Email Subject: Regarding <Company's Name> interview-<Name>Response

Dear sir/madam/hiring manager:

I'm thankful that you considered me for the <Job Title>position in your company and offered me an interview opportunity. However, circumstances I didn't anticipate make it necessary to decline the interview at this time.

I hope that you will find a suitable candidate for this role and I look forward to the company's success.

Once again, thank you for your time.

Best wishes,

Turning down an interview isn't the easiest thing to do. However, you must make your choices and sometimes, it is “No, thank you!”. Learn to acknowledge someone's time and effort in reaching out to you with screenings and interviews. Knowing how to decline an interview properly will definitely benefit your job hunt.

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