How To Turn Down an Interview: Remaining Professional (Plus templates)
There will be times that you receive an email to interview at a company that may not appeal to you for several reasons. In today’s article, we are going to see how to turn down an interview professionally and maintain the relationship with the recruiter.
Most of the time, you are in the driver’s seat and are searching and sending out resumes to companies that have roles that are of interest to you. However, there are times that recruiters come across your CV or Linkedin profile and invite you to interview with their company. Normally in this invitation email, the recruiter will provide the role description or a link to it.
The role may not be very interesting to you, but before you go making a quick decision and discarding the invitation, do your homework.
Do Your Homework Before You Turn Down an Interview
Perhaps you weren’t enthused by the job description or the company, but you need to at least do your homework to learn more about the company and position. Review the role description’s link and see how well the job description matches your professional experience. Also, does it fit with what you want to be doing in the future?
Visit the company’s website and learn more about the company. Read the front page and about page, review the mission and vision statements, and read a few blog articles to get a better idea of what the company is all about.
Go to Glassdoor and review the company. Look at the Overview section, employee reviews, salary, benefits and any other useful information. We can’t take the salaries at face value, but they can at least provide a ball park figure. As you look over the reviews, find ones that are for the specific location of the job. If the job is in New York, avoid the reviews from Miami for instance. That is a different office and things may be better or worse there. Also look for recent reviews, no more than a year old. Things change at companies and you always want up-to-date information.
Do you have any friends or colleagues who work at this company? Anyone in your secondary connections on Linkedin? If yes, reach out to them and ask them how they like working at the company? How has their experience been? Tell them that you have been invited to interview at the company.
Do a Google search about the company. Try to find out additional information about what it is like to work there. You may type something in like, “Working at Google Quora” etc. Look for posts on Quora and Reddit. Many people leave reviews and posts on these sites and they can give you the inside scoop on what it is like to work there.
Just remember, don’t turn down an interview because you read one or two bad reviews. There are always disgruntled employees out there and you can’t please everyone. Do your homework before determining if you should turn down an interview.
Don’t Ignore The Interview Invitation – Create a Good Impression
No time to be vindictive here. Although interviewers may have failed to reply to you about an opportunity that you applied to in the past, it’s not a good idea to reciprocate. Don’t be remembered as an arrogant, unresponsive person. Let’s look at how you can turn down an interview with professionalism and still maintain a good relationship for future opportunities.
Decline Promptly: Don’t take weeks to respond to the invitation. If you get an invitation today, try to review it and get back to the person by tomorrow at the latest. Try to make the recruiter’s job easier. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but they may be willing to consider you for other future opportunities with the company. Drop the recruiter a short email stating that you are not interested in that particular position, but you are open to others. Be concise and always think about future opportunities!
Use Email: Email is the easiest and fastest way to turn down an interview invitation. It is best to avoid calling as the recruiter may be busy, or on another call with other candidates. Send an email.
Always be Respectful and Professional: If you decide to turn down an interview, make sure you are respectful. Show your appreciation for being considered for the role at the company. See some examples in the templates below.
Reasons to Accept the Interview
Personally, I advise you not to decline an interview. It is a great way to practice your interviewing skills, network with others, and other things may come out of it. Let’s explore more.
Real-Life Interview Practice: There is nothing better than the real thing. Interviewing is an art and you must practice to get better at it. Having the opportunity to interview is a great way to practice in a real-life setting.
Explore Other Opportunities: Sometimes when you interview for a position, both you and the recruiter realize that it is not a good fit for you. However, if the interviewer likes you and thinks you have good professional experience, you could be considered for other, more appealing roles.
Bad Description = Great Role: Job descriptions don’t always do justice to the job. Occasionally a job description is poorly written and does not convey what you will really be doing in the position. When you have a live talk with the interviewer, you can further explore the position, and sometimes to your surprise, it can be a great role.
New Market Perspective: Interviewing at companies in different segments widens your horizons and helps you understand different markets and possible new opportunities for you.
Reasons To Decline An Interview
Sometimes there are very specific reasons to turn down a job interview. Let’s explore.
You Already Know What To Expect: You have colleagues and friends who work at the company and they dread it. They are counting the days to get out of there.
This Company Is Going Through Tough Times: You have read in the news that the company is downsizing, cutting costs, laying off a big part of the workforce, revenues are down etc. Your feeling is that jumping on board with this company is currently too risky.
You Have Just Accepted Another Job: You have been actively interviewing and already accepted a role at another company.
You Are Currently Employed: You see participating in the interview process as being risky and putting your current position in harm’s way. “What happens if my company finds out I am interviewing for other companies?” You feel it is safer to decline the interview opportunity.
Second or Third Interview: Many jobs these days have multiple rounds of interviews. It can range from 3-6 interviews depending on the level of the job. If after your second or third interview you deem that this is not the right job for you or not a good fit, you may turn down any subsequent interviews.
You’ve Interviewed At The Company Before: You already know what it is like to interview with the company and have a good idea of what the organization is like.
Extensive Commute: The job is a two-hour drive every day. You can’t imagine losing 4 hours of your day just sitting in the car.
Low Salary: The salary does not meet your expectations or is well below the market average.
There are many other possibilities that could be deterrents and reasons for you to turn down an interview. You have just seen the main ones.
Create a Great Impression Even When Declining
You have now done your homework on the company and you realize that this is not an opportunity that you want to pursue. Let’s see a few tips to follow to not burn bridges. After all, there could be future opportunities through this recruiter.
Send To The Recruiter: if you were in talks with the recruiter, no need to include others in this email. If there was a team of HR members, you may want to send each one an individual email.
Be Professional: The idea is, you don’t want to end your relationship here. You never know if the recruiter will have other future opportunities that could be a great fit for you and be worth your time. If you have established a good connection with the recruiter, consider adding him on Linkedin and keeping in touch. It can’t hurt.
Do Not Provide Specifics On Why You Rejected The Position: Your best bet is to keep it vague here. You don’t want to say something you should not have said and jeopardize future opportunities with the company and or recruiter. I say recruiter because he or she may move to another company in the future and could consider you for other opportunities.
Dear (Hiring Manager’s Name),
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me for the (name of position) role.
It has been a pleasure discussing with you about (specific aspect). However, I have decided it is best for me to go in a different direction at this time.
I look forward to (….)
Thanks again for the opportunity to interview with you.
Thank you very much for considering me for the position of (Job role). However, I need to respectfully decline the interview at this time.
I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to contact me, reviewing my qualifications, and considering me for this role.
Thank you again for your consideration.
I greatly appreciate the opportunity to interview for the (position name) and learn more about your (company/organization).
Unfortunately, at this time I must decline this opportunity. (you can continue the sentence if there is a specific reason like, “I have just accepted another job. Etc”)
Thanks again for your consideration!
First of all, thank you for considering me for the (job name) role. I greatly appreciate it! I have just received a promotion at my current job and have chosen to stay here.
Thank you again for your consideration!
There are certain things you should not mention when declining an interview. You should never mention that the salary was too low or you didn’t find the company appealing etc. You don’t want to create a bad impression by saying this. Keep it professional.
In most cases, accept the interview as an opportunity to practice and network with someone else in the industry. It can’t hurt.
Have you had this experience before? Did you turn down an interview or was thinking about it? Tell the community in the comments section below.