Personal Development
How to Decline a Job Interview: What to Do When in Demand

How to Decline a Job Interview: What to Do When in Demand

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Declining Job Interviews: How to Politely Refuse an Offer Without Burning Bridges

When in the midst of a job search, it is natural to feel compelled to accept every opportunity that comes your way. But it's important to remember that you shouldn't accept a job interview if the role does not take priority over your current job, the company has too many warning signals, the job no longer fits with other areas of your life, or the interview process is too rigorous. Knowing how to decline an interview politely and courteously is essential to preserving any potential bridges with potential employers. Here is what to consider when doing so.

Is it Unprofessional to Decline an Interview?

Many applicants may find themselves questioning if it is unprofessional to decline an interview upon receiving a job offer. The answer is no. It is not unprofessional to decline an interview, and in fact, you are doing the employer a favor when you politely withdraw your application. Generally, employers receive about 50 job applications, but only reach out to six of them.

Why Refuse a Job Interview?

Having the courage to decline an interview requires a strong understanding of yourself and your needs. Clarifying your reasons for rejecting the job offer should aid in any anxiety related to missing out on this opportunity. Here are some common examples of when you should consider declining a job interview:

  • You have accepted a different job offers
  • You have done informational interviews and don't think you would fit the company culture
  • Your current employer has given you a promotion and you no longer want to leave

How to Decline an Interview Respectfully

When responding to an interview invitation, it's important to be both prompt and respectful. Begin with a polite and honest message expressing your gratitude for the offer. Explain why you wouldn't be able to accept an interview at the moment. Lastly, show your appreciation for the time and effort invested in considering your application. Here are some sample email templates you can use when declining an interview:

  • Dear [hiring manager],
  • Thank you very much for considering me as a candidate for the [position] role at [company]. I am incredibly grateful and honored to have been considered. Unfortunately, I won't be able to move forward with the interview process at this time.
  • I am thankful that you considered me a viable candidate, and wish all the best in finding the perfect fit for the role.
  • Sincerely,
  • [Your name]

The Bottom Line

Declining a job interview is not unprofessional. It is an acceptable and even courteous way to withdraw your application from an employer. Before declining an interview, make sure that you have explored all of your reasons for doing so and understand your needs. Once you're ready, craft an honest and polite message expressing your gratitude and appreciation for being considered. The email templates shared here can also help in creating a respectful message. Remember that job seekers typically apply for 21 to 80 roles before receiving an offer - you're part of an exclusive club, and not leaving them empty-handed by withdrawing an application.

How to Politely Decline a Job Offer

When it comes to job searching, not every opportunity is the perfect fit for you. Knowing how to politely decline a job offer is key in leaving a positive impression and avoiding burning any bridges. Take the necessary time to make your decision and remain courteous and grateful in your response.

Acknowledge the Opportunity

Even if the company isn't a great fit for you and your needs have changed, it is important to acknowledge the offer in your response. Word travels fast in some industries and you don't want to leave a bad impression. Keep your message light and be sure not to provide too much detail.

Recommend Someone Else

If you know someone who would be the perfect candidate for the job you're declining, make sure they are comfortable with you mentioning them in your response. It's a great way to show gratitude and keep the relationship positive.

Exit Interview

When it comes to an exit interview, it is best to remain professional and focus on the facts. Avoid any emotional responses and don't criticize your coworkers or the company. The goal is to leave a positive impression.


Declining a job offer can be difficult, but polite and professional rejected is essential. Keep it short, thank the recruiter for the opportunity and be courteous. If you can, offer to provide a reference or recommend someone else who would make a great fit. Following these tips will help you reject the job without damaging relationships.

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