Turning Down a Job Interview

I have been casually interviewing for a new job since March. In some cases, I’ve completed the full interview cycle and with others I didn’t make it past the application phase.

Just this week, I had just been screened by a recruiter from a fantastic company with great benefits and great potential to grow in a data analysis role I was looking at. We were actively making plans to schedule an accelerated interview, but I came to a realization that I wanted to put a pause on the whole interviewing process.

I had never thought that I would put myself in a situation like this. It felt awkward to want to tell the recruiter “thanks, but no thanks” and I felt guilty since it was a wonderful opportunity that I had a good chance of getting. But more important than that was my reason.

Why would you ever decline a job interview?

This varies from person to person. In my case, I felt a stronger pull to stay where I’m at, but I was also feeling overwhelmed from balancing my full-time job, full-time grad school, and interviewing.

Common reasons to decline a job interview are because:

  • You decided to stay where you’re currently at
  • You’re overqualified for the position
  • The employer is no longer a good match for you
  • You have already received a job offer elsewhere
  • There are changes in your personal life or schedule that make you unavailable for this role and its expectations
  • You need some time to recuperate (take time for mental health & burnout)

How do you decline a job interview?

Be Sure About Your Decision: Before anything else happens, be sure this is what you want! Be clear about your statement and explain that you are declining the interview. Remember that once you send that message to your recruiter, you can’t change your mind or undo it.

Respond Quickly: As soon as you make your decision and are comfortable with it, let your recruiter know! Regardless of where you’re at in the interview process, letting them know asap. This is being respectful and courteous towards both the recruiter, interviewers, and hiring team’s time and priorities.

Leave that Door Open: In the words of Bruno Mars, you’ve got to “leave that door open”. Remember to be polite in your email and thank whoever was involved for their time (recruiters, interviewers, hiring manager, peers). While the opportunity or company isn’t right for you right now, it might be in the future, so avoid burning any bridges.

Be Vague: The email you send doesn’t need to list out specific reasons as to why you’re no longer interested in moving forward. You don’t need to apologize or try to justify your decision to anyone. As long as you let them know in a timely manner and keep them in the loop, that should be enough.

Best of luck as you’re navigating your interview process or working to decline an interview! I’d love to hear what strategies have worked for you!

Let’s connect on Instagram at LatinaTech or Feel free to explore more stories on the LatinaTech Blog!

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