How to Reject an Interview Offer

Contact the recruiter in a timely manner once you've decided to reject an interview invitation.

Contact the recruiter in a timely manner once you've decided to reject an interview invitation.

When looking for a job, certain circumstances might prompt you to turn down an invitation for an interview. Regardless of whether you've accepted another job offer or simply decided the position isn't for you, you should reject the interview offer professionally and in a timely manner so as not to burn any bridges in the process.

Contact the Recruiter

If you’ve decided to no longer attend a scheduled interview, don’t wait until the last minute to call the recruiter to cancel, and in no circumstances should you simply not show up without notice. Employers put a lot of time, planning and, in some cases, expense into the recruiting process, and canceling with little to no notice will not make a good impression. Instead, give the recruiter a phone call to gracefully bow out of the appointment with ample time for the recruiter to find an alternate candidate. Whenever possible, do this at least 48 to 72 hours before the scheduled interview.

Be Honest

When speaking to the recruiter, you don't have to divulge every nitty-gritty detail of your decision to withdraw your application; however, you should provide the courtesy of an explanation. The employer will appreciate your upfront and honest communication, which will help minimize any negative reactions to your decision. In some cases, such as concerns about salary or work schedule, the recruiter may even be willing to accommodate your needs in order to retain your interest in the position.

Remain Professional

During your conversation, remain professional at all times and avoid saying things you'll regret later. Take care when choosing your words so as not to inadvertently offend or insult the employer. You never know if your paths will cross again, and you certainly don’t want to leave on a sour note. Avoid saying negative things about the company, even if these appear on your list of reasons for rescinding your application, and keep a positive tone. For example, instead of saying the business is too small to offer challenging work, say something like, “I’m honored to have been considered for a position with such a reputable company; however, I’ve accepted a position that better suits my career goals.”

Thank the Recruiter for the Opportunity

Before concluding your phone call, remember to thank the recruiter for considering you for the position and for time spent with you. If you think you may pursue other opportunities with this employer further down the road, be sure to mention that as well. Close the conversation by wishing the recruiter well in filling the position and apologizing for any inconvenience your withdrawal may have caused.

 

About the Author

Based in Virginia, Amanda Banach has been a writer since 2009. Her professional work experience includes roles in media advertising, financial services and human resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in human resources management and is PHR-certified.

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