How To Decline an Interview (With Templates and FAQ)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When a potential employer is interested in discussing your employment with them, they may invite you for an interview. If you no longer wish to work with the company, you may need to decline the interview respectfully. If you're in this situation, you may want to learn about common reasons for declining and how to do so politely. In this article, we explore the steps you can follow to decline an interview, typical reasons for declining, frequently asked questions and templates for turning down an interview.

Related: 4 Interview Invitation Email Examples To Make an Impression

How to decline an interview politely

There are many reasons why you may need to decline an interview. To maintain your professionalism, it's important to decline interviews politely. You can follow these steps to politely decline an interview offer:

1. Ensure it's the right decision for you

There are several reasons that would cause someone to decline an opportunity to interview. Whatever your reason may be, just make sure it's a valid one before sending your letter of regret. This is one decision you cannot take back without losing credibility. Here are a few tips to help you decide if you want to refuse the interview:

  • Time for consideration: Though you should gauge whether you and the company are the right fit throughout the interview process, you could easily get the wrong impression too soon. If you have concerns, perhaps you should respectfully address them in the next interview.

  • A job interview isn't the same as a job offer: Interviewing, even if you're unsure about the position or the company, can provide opportunities to practise your interpersonal and interviewing skills. If you're unsure about the job, showing up for the interview could still be an informative experience.

  • Motivations for withdrawing: Consider whether anxiety, fear or nervousness are making you want to decline the interview.

  • Advice from your friends, family and trusted colleagues: The process of voicing your concerns could be beneficial in itself, but their feedback may give you valuable insight, too. The people who know you best can help you determine if the opportunity is right for you.

2. Focus on using courteous language

Even if you're uninterested in this particular position at this time, there could be future opportunities with the company that you want to be considered for. Be sure to remain polite and professional in your communication to maintain a positive relationship.

3. Only include relevant information

Your email should be simple, sincere and concise. It's unnecessary to provide any specific reasoning for your decision to decline the interview. Citing a reason could be mistaken as rude or inconsiderate, harming your reputation and any chances of being employed with the organisation in the future. It could unnecessarily extend the conversation. If you accepted a job offer with another company, it's acceptable to include that as a reason for your decision.

4. Respond to the offer promptly

Though you should take the time to be sure about your decision, it's important that you let the hiring manager know as soon as possible. Be respectful of their time, as well as the opportunities of the other job candidates. Your withdrawal may cause an opportunity for someone else who is interested in the position.

5. Consider referring another candidate

A good way to show your initiative and regard for the company is by providing another suitable candidate for the job. If you have someone in mind, be sure to discuss the job with them beforehand to ensure they are interested in the opportunity. You can include their name and contact information in your email.

Related: How To Write a Compelling Post-Interview Thank You Note

Reasons to decline an interview offer

These are some of the reasons you may decide to decline an interview with a potential employer:

  • Incompatible values: While researching the company or learning more about it, you may realise that your values don't align. It's important to understand your values and determine if you'll be comfortable in the new environment, so this is a good reason to decline an interview offer.

  • Personal changes: Between the time that you apply for a position and when you receive the interview offer, you may experience personal changes. When your situation changes, you may pursue a position with different requirements or compensation.

  • Better opportunity: You may need to decline an interview offer if another company or organisation offers you a better opportunity in terms of career growth, benefits or pay. If you have already accepted another job offer, it's acceptable to mention it when declining the interview offer.

  • Over-qualification: You may acquire more qualifications between the time of application and interview, in which case you might decline the offer for an interview to pursue other positions.

Related: Common Job Interview Questions and Answers for Freshers and Experienced Professionals

FAQ about interview offers

If you're actively pursuing a new position or career, it's important to understand how to approach various situations regarding interview offers. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about politely declining interview offers:

Is it unprofessional to cancel an interview?

Cancelling an interview is not inherently unprofessional. Depending on your situation, you may need to cancel an interview. If the position is no longer the best career decision for you, it's best to cancel your interview. To maintain your professionalism when doing so, be sure to cancel with as much advance notice as possible. Show gratitude and respect when contacting the company to inform them you need to cancel. Be sure to thank them for the opportunity.

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples For After the Interview

How do I reject an interview via text?

If your potential employer contacts you about the interview using a text message, it's acceptable to decline the interview in the same fashion. However, if the company contacts you through email or via phone call, it's respectful and professional to decline the interview through the same method. While doing so, address the person with respect and maintain a positive tone.

How can I decline an interview and maintain a professional relationship?

If you want to maintain a professional relationship with a contact or company after declining an interview, be respectful when declining and express your gratitude for the opportunity. Professional social media websites are an excellent way to maintain contact with those you don't frequently work with or see often. Developing your charisma and communication skills is also important when maintaining a professional relationship. You can use these skills to congratulate others on their professional achievements.

What's the best way to decline an interview in person?

If someone offers you an interview in person, your body language can be very important in communicating your gratitude. Be sure to employ respectful eye contact but firmly state that you're not currently interested in the opportunity. If you're speaking with someone you know, they may attempt to convince you. If you're unsure about completing the interview but are uncomfortable communicating that in person, consider telling them you'll think about it, then e-mail them to inform them of your decision.

Related: Email Examples: How To Respond to an Employer Interview Request

Templates for turning down a job interview

Though you can personalise the message with unique details, here are some basic email templates for declining a job interview:

Template 1: Withdrawing application

This is a template you can follow to respectfully withdraw your application from consideration:

Subject: Invitation to Interview for [position]

Dear [Recipient's name],

Thank you so much for considering me for your [job title] position with [Company name]. However, I regret that I have to withdraw my application at this time.

I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you for your time and consideration.

[Your name]
[Phone number]

Template 2: Recommending another candidate

If you have a colleague or friend you believe would make a good fit for the role, consider recommending them using this template:

Subject: Interview Invitation for [job title]

Dear [Recipient's name],

Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about your organisation and interview for [job title]. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Unfortunately, I have to decline the opportunity at this time.

However, my colleague, [Name], would be a great fit for this position and would be a valuable addition to the [Company name] team. You can reach them at [phone number] or via email at [email address].

Good luck, and I hope that we can have another chance to work together at some point in the future.

[Your name]
[Phone number]

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