How To Decline A Job Interview

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How To Decline A Job Interview

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How to Turn Down an Job Interview Invitation

If you’re here to find out how to decline a job interview, then you know the importance of doing it right. Still, for many job seekers, this is a moment that is regularly treated lightly. After all, even though you applied for the job, for any reason, the bottom line is that now you don’t want it.

It’s tempting to just ignore the email invitation or and simply not show up at a scheduled interview. And if you do that, no one is going to call you out on it either. So, why bother taking a minute to write an email and respectfully decline that interview? Because it shows your professional integrity. 

How To Decline A Job Interview

It’s important to treat people and their time respectfully when there’s a chance you’ll be working with them. However, your conduct with someone you may not be seeing again is what really shows that you’re a true professional. 

Yes, there will be no applause, no immediate reward, but done right, you maintain a relationship that may even help you in the future. That’s the reason it’s worth taking a minute to learn how to decline a job interview.

However, before we get into how to do it right, let’s look into some of the reasons why you may want to say no to an interview after applying for the job offer. 

Reasons to Decline A Job Interview

  1. You’re no longer interested in the job offer: 

There is a chance that you applied for the job, but after doing more research you found that the role is not well suited for you. If you feel that the job does not align with your career goals or values, it’s a valid reason for declining an interview. 

Decline A Job Interview
  1. You got a better job offer:

Most applicants apply to multiple job offers and the majority of good candidates get called to more than one interview. If you received a better offer in another company or even with your current employer, you may want to turn down the other interview and save your and the hiring managers’ time. 

  1. Your life circumstances changed: 

It’s possible that between the time you applied and received the call to interview, something changed in your personal life. You may have to decline an interview if you relocate to another area; perhaps you graduated or upgraded your qualifications. You may be re-thinking your time commitment to a job after pregnancy or sickness or even the need to focus on personal projects.

To Give or Not To Give A Reason?  

One common question when deciding how to decline a job interview is whether or not to mention the reason for declining the interview. Here are two questions that will help you decide:

  • Do I value my relationship with the hiring manager? 

The motive behind declining politely and graciously is to not burn your bridges. Even though you are not interested in interviewing right now, there may be another opening in the future with the same company that interests you. If you feel that that might happen, it’s good to explain to the hiring manager why you are turning down the interview. 

Giving a reason will lend more credibility to what you are saying and, in effect, will reduce any negative impact on your relationship with the hiring manager. 

  • Will I reconsider an updated offer? 

It’s not uncommon for companies to revise and update their offers for outstanding candidates. Therefore, don’t be afraid to give a reason. However, do so gracefully and never draw any overt comparisons between two offers. 

For example, say “I’m respectfully declining the interview scheduled for 10.00 AM this Monday, as I have been offered a position with XYZ COMPANY”. Go on to then state your reason “I feel that the position of customer care manager offered to me by XYZ COMPANY allows me to better leverage my skills in designing training modules for new recruits”.

If done correctly, you’ll be giving the other company a chance to revise its offer for you. 

Tips on How to Decline A Job Interview: 

No matter what your reason for declining a job interview, here are important tips to keep in mind: 

  1. Decline through e-mail: 

While it’s true that a phone call is a more personal way to decline an interview, it’s easier to craft a tactful email that will deliver the point without taking too much time. There is also an unexpected element to an impromptu conversation that everyone is not prepared to handle. To make sure that you deliver your point without taking much of your recruiting manager’s time, email is your best option. 

  1. Be prompt:

Let the hiring manager know as soon as you are sure that you will not be interviewing. This shows respect for the company’s time and is appreciated. If given enough notice, the hiring manager may also contact another candidate to interview in your place. 

  1. Be definitive:

Be sure whether you’re declining the interview or not ,and then communicate it clearly. Using words like “might not be able to” or “may not be inclined to” shows indecision and helps no one. Use polite but definitive phrasing like “respectfully decline” or “regretfully will not be able to”.

  1. Be polite and humble: 

Even though you don’t want that job, there is no reason to forget that you’re dealing with another person. Turn down the offer with utmost respect and humility. Maintaining a high standard of behavior at all times is a key component of maintaining professional contacts. Further, hiring managers frequently network with other recruiters, so there is no reason to create any bad will with anyone, anywhere.

Tips on How to Reschedule or Cancel A Job Interview

There may be a time when you have accepted the interview and now due to changed circumstances have to re-schedule or even cancel. All the tips mentioned above remain applicable. Here are a few additional things to keep in mind while requesting the hiring manager to reschedule or cancel your interview:

  • Apologize: 

Scheduling interviews takes time. If circumstances at your end are forcing you to reschedule or cancel an interview that you have previously accepted, then open with an apology. 

How to Turn Down an Interview Invitation
  • Give a reason: 

When you are trying to persuade the hiring manager to reschedule your interview, you are essentially asking for a favor. Give a brief reason for why you need to re-schedule. Using the word “because” is a very powerful persuasion technique, as explained by Robert Cialdini, professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University, in his book “Influence”. Asking for something, then simply adding “because” and following with a reason can drastically improve your chances of success. 

Brief Summary:

Tips on how to decline a job interview:

1. Take a minute and craft a polite and tactful email when you have to decline a job interview to ensure you do not burn any bridges.

2. Losing interest in the job offer, receiving a better offer, or changes in your life circumstances are all valid grounds for declining a job interview.

3. When you mention why you are declining an interview you allow the company to update or revise their offer.

4. Decline an interview through a prompt, polite, and definitive email.

Other Resources:

CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.

To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:

Top 10 Customer Service Rep Interview Questions
Ace Interview Question: “Do You Want to Tell Us Anything Else About You?”
How to Conduct a Reference Check After an Interview
10 Transferable Retail Skills to Add to Your Resume

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