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Wondering how to turn down an interview in a way that won’t burn bridges with the company?
According to CareerPlug, last year only 20% of applicants received an interview. It means you shouldn’t take an interview opportunity for granted – it can require a lot of time and many applications to land one.
However, there are occasions when the right thing to do is turn it down – we’ll discuss those reasons shortly, because some are more clear-cut than others.
If you’re struggling to get interviews for the jobs you prefer, make sure you know how to write a stand out CV to secure those interviews.
So, are you in two minds about how to turn down an interview? We’ll explain the best way to do it in this article.
Before thinking about how to turn down an interview, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
Sometimes, candidates reject an invitation because they overthink things. These are some of the common ways applicants turn down an interview offer for the wrong reasons:
However, we’re not saying you should always go to every interview you’re offered – far from it.
There are definitely times when you need to know how to turn down an interview courteously during your job search.
Here are some situations where the right thing to do is cancel your interview:
When planning how to turn down an interview, make sure you do so in a way that avoids any negative repercussions further down the line.
Your paths may cross with the company or the interviewer again one day, and there’s a chance they may hold it against you if they remember anything unprofessional about your actions.
Don’t burn any bridges and above all, be polite and courteous – don’t be rude, ever.
They’ve taken the time to review and progress your application, so thank them accordingly. Even if their communication or procedures haven’t been ideal, there’s nothing to gain by trying to settle some scores and declining an interview unprofessionally.
A key point to remember when thinking about how to turn down an interview is not to go into too much detail about your reasons for turning down the opportunity. Save yourself and the reader some time.
And if you have any misgivings or criticisms to make about the process so far, this isn’t the best forum for them.
Try to be prompt too – give the interviewer as much notice as possible. They may have had to set aside other work or move some meetings around for your interview, so don’t cancel at the last minute unless it’s completely unavoidable.
There are some commonly accepted phrases to use in situations like this. While they’re not unique and don’t provide much detail, employers accept them as polite and courteous ways to decline an interview.
These are important to bear in mind when planning how to turn down an interview offer. For example, the key statement in your message could be:
If you’re turning down a second or third round interview, add a polite acknowledgement about the process up until this point, such as:
Polite statements to use when wrapping up your message include:
You may, or may not, receive a reply acknowledging your message – so don’t worry if you don’t hear back.
Sometimes, unless you’ve been offered another job, the company may be interested in finding out more detail about why you’re declining an interview.
It’s still a good idea to reply with a relatively general statement though, for example:
Again, we don’t recommend making any unnecessary criticisms or highlighting something you disliked about their process.
We hope this article has helped you think about how to decline a job interview the right way.
Remember that if you want to go to the interview but just can’t make it work with your busy schedule, don’t just turn it down – ask if you can rearrange it.
Sometimes, you may find yourself rejecting an interview but knowing someone else who could be a good fit. If so, check with the candidate you have in mind first and if they approve, you could recommend them to the employer at this stage and pass on their details.
If you do decide on going for the interview, make sure you know how to tell if the interview went well or not.
We’ve also written recently about how to decline a job offer, following a successful final interview.Thinking about how to turn down an interview, but still looking for a new role? If you need any help writing a CV or cover letter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.