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Turning Down a Job Interview

turning down a job interview

Turning Down a Job Interview doesn’t need to be the most excruciating letter or email you will ever write. You have taken the time to send in your profile; they have read it and invited you in. But something has made you change your mind.

Refusing a job interview is not a difficult communication, but it still has to be handled politely and diplomatically.

turning down a job interview

Is it The Right Thing To Do?

While it does seem a strange thing to do if you are looking for a job, it is a decision only you can make. And there are quite a few reasons to turn down the option of an interview. Some of them could have been eliminated before you started the application.

So, let’s take a look at a few of these reasons.

The Reasons Why

So what are the reasons you don’t want to go to this company for an interview…

You have heard that staff at the company are not happy

Who told you that, a reliable source or someone with an ax to grind? And how did you come by this information after you had applied? If you knew that before you applied, then why bother to apply in the first place.

Sometimes you can pick up information that has a distinct bias towards something. And jobs and companies are no different.

Unless you are one hundred percent sure that information is accurate, then I wouldn’t pay too much attention. You can resolve the issue yourself by going to the interview to see how you feel.

You have found that you don’t fit what they are looking for?

How? Without going to an interview, it is unlikely you could get that information. So, again not really a reason to turn down the offer.

Have you done some research and decided you don’t like the Company?

Where did the information come from? And the question is, why didn’t you find that out before you applied?

There are plenty of companies, even at the highest levels, who have a shocking reputation. Was it one of those? If so, it is your own fault for applying in the first place.

You don’t like the Idea of Shift Work or Long Hours

Did it not say shift work on the ad you answered? If so, why did you still apply?

There is a Location Problem

Now, after applying, you think that the company is too far away for a reasonable commute. Did you not think of that before? If after you have applied, they inform you that the position is located elsewhere, that is a different thing. But I don’t think they are likely to do that before an interview.

turning down the job interview

Undertaking the interview could put your present job in jeopardy

Of course, it could. Did you not think of that before? But if you are looking to leave your present job, that is the risk you will have to take on for any interview. Not just this one.

If you are going to find a new job, then that is what you will have to do.

You Have Been Offered What You Consider to be a Better Job

A valid reason. When we apply for jobs, we don’t apply for just one. And if one fulfills all that we need and comes up first, the others have to be canceled. As I said, a more than valid reason.

A Career Change

Maybe you have decided after applying that you would like a change in a career completely. That is another reason that is valid. In thinking about changing jobs, you have realized that it is not just a change of job you need. What you really need is a complete change of career.

I can sympathize with that as I did the same thing. Changing the workplace isn’t the answer. Changing what you do is.

Are Your Reasons Valid?

If your reason is a career change or accepting another job, then yes, they are. The others could have been avoided with a little bit of thought first before applying. But we’re not here to discuss that. I have included them because if they have affected your decision, perhaps you should think again.

But having considered it all, you have made your decision for whatever reason. And now you have got to politely decline their offer.

Don’t Rush Into Declining

I have already mentioned it, but make sure you are not canceling based on hearsay. Either about the job or the company. If you are unsure, it won’t hurt to go along and find out for yourself.

Turning Down The Offer

One thing to consider here is that you must ensure you portray yourself as a professional candidate. You may be turning down this job for whatever reason. But you never know if you will meet any contact you have made at the company in the future.

Likewise, you might apply again for another position at the company in the years to come. Make sure your dealings are polite, professional, and ethical.

turning down a job interviews

Don’t Wait Too Long

While you might need a day or two to consider your position, don’t wait too long to give your answer. They are waiting to hear from you.

They might be waiting to set up and schedule interviews with others as well. They won’t be too happy waiting for you to contact them only to find out you are declining.

Make The Letter Brief

It only takes a few lines to make your decision known. You haven’t got to embroider it with reasons. In fact, it is safer to not make any comment about reasons. Short and sweet is always better.

Be Polite

Once again, I will say this. It costs nothing to be polite and respectful. A ‘thank you for your consideration’ demonstrates a professional and thoughtful attitude.

How Do You Reply?

Certainly not through the dreaded social media if there is a contact. A letter or an email is the preferred choice. Another no-go is by sending a text message.

Where To?

Just make sure you narrow down the options of where to send the mail or letter. You don’t want it to get swallowed up in their other company business and not seen.

It is likely to be sent by the interviewer or their department. If there is no contact mail, then you can phone for one. If you are going to send a letter, make sure it is addressed to the right person and department.

Rejecting a Second Interview

We have so far been discussing declining the opportunity for a first interview. A second interview is a slightly different situation. You have now had the opportunity of meeting with them.

You have seen the job, possibly met some of the people. You have heard about what they are offering. But you have decided to decline to not take it further.

The Wording of the Letter

Not quite the same. This time you need to include thanks for taking the time to see you and for courtesies while you were there. But you also need to carefully say that after careful consideration, you have decided not to pursue the opportunity.

Depending on how keen they were to get you back for a second, there could be a response. If they were very keen on you, then they might write again asking for your reasons. This needs to be handled with a certain amount of diplomacy.

Don’t Ignore Them

Ignoring their response is a very poor way of dealing with what they are asking. They are writing for two reasons.

Firstly to see if they can resolve any issues and get you in for that second anyway. Or secondly, because they want to be sure there isn’t something wrong with the job. Or possibly the way it was presented to you.

Carefully Considered Responses

These are usually the best solutions in this situation. Don’t be critical of the company, job, or anyone you happened to meet. Just say that in your opinion, the ‘fit’ wasn’t quite right. Thank them again and wish them luck, and end it. You don’t need to say more.

The reply can be in the same medium that they contacted you. Either by email or letter.

Retain Your Professionalism At All Times

As I mentioned already, this is a priority in situations like this. How you present yourself could have a positive effect somewhere at a later date.

If you are considering writing rather than sending an email, here are some suggestions to allow you to create a good image.

Matching good quality and envelopes always gives a good impression; I suggest the 28lb Cream Linen Resume Paper & Envelopes – 40 Sets as does using exceptional paper that can be used in a printer or for a handwritten letter such as the Southworth Linen Business Paper.

Personalized stationery can look nice as long as it doesn’t feature some cheesy designs. I would recommend the SIMPLICITY FLAT – Personalized Professional Office Stationery.

Need More Professional Interview Advice?

We have everything you need for your all-important interview, so check out How Would You Describe Yourself, how to Answer Why Best Candidate Position, How Do You Handle Conflict, the Strengths And Weaknesses For Job Interviews, What Are Your Career Goals, What Are You Most Proud Of, or, the Best Questions To Ask In An Interview in 2023.

You might also need to know the best way to answer Why Do You Want To Work Here, How Do You Handle Stress, How To Answer What Are You Passionate About, What Makes You Unique, and Why We Should Hire You to fully prepare.

For some online research, we found Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview, or Hiring Squirrels: 12 Essential Interview Questions to Uncover Great Retail Sales Talent, or maybe Amazing Interview Answers: 44 Tough Job Interview Questions with 88 Winning Answers, as well as INTERVIEW with DESIRE and GET HIRED!: How to Ace the Interview, Sell Yourself & Get Your Dream Job for the ultimate in interview preparation.

Or how about How to Answer Interview Questions: 101 Tough Interview Questions or my personal favorites, The STAR Method Explained: Proven Technique to Succeed at Interview and The STAR Interview: How to Tell a Great Story, Nail the Interview and Land Your Dream Job.

Don’t forget the STAR METHOD Interview Journal for practicing your answers, which is also available online today.

Final Thoughts

When you make that first application, you are never sure exactly what you will be confronted with. That is why it is always best to do a little homework before just sending applications out to everyone.

Find out as much about the company and, if you can, the position before making the application. That way, you are not going to waste your time and everybody else’s. And you will be able to narrow down the field somewhat.

All the best with your job search.

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About Calvin Miller

Calvin has over 20 years of experience in a leading employment agency in Tucson, Arizona, and is passionate about finding the perfect position for everyone who uses the company’s services.

He lives with his wife, Annette, and their two sons Jake and Joseph.

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