How to Decline a Job Interview?

How to Decline a Job Interview?

Not every day is the same. There are times when we want something today and no longer want it tomorrow. It might be a change in mindset or a change in situations around you. There might come a time when you might not want to go through an interview for a job position. In such cases, declining to attend the interview is much better than wasting your and the company’s time unnecessarily. And then the question arises, how to decline a job interview?

Make up your mind to be completely sure before you decide to decline the interview. The key is always to remain polite while drafting professional communication. You will not want to miss out on opportunities with the company in the future. Depending on the reason, decide whether you want to state the reason or keep it vague. And try to communicate to the hiring manager well before the date of the interview. This gives a chance to give the employee a chance to consider other potential candidates. 

This article will guide you to make a decision and make sure you communicate without creating a negative impression on the recruiting team at the company. 

To Decline or Not to Decline:

The question will always pop up in your mind, that should you appear for the interview anyway? 

 Not to decline: Some career coaches claim that it is always a good idea to show up for an interview. Monster Worldwide states a few benefits of appearing in the interview. 

  • Every interview is an opportunity to practice your skills. 
  • You might not seek the opportunity you have been asked to interview for but taking up a job in a company always opens up new opportunities. 
  • The job might have been improperly described in the advertisement and in actuality, the job suit you. 

The possibilities are endless. You might appear for a job position but then be selected for a better opportunity. 

To Decline:

  • If you have already accepted a job offer elsewhere, then there is no point in appearing for the interview. In fact, you might as well end up creating a negative impression on the current employer. 
  • It is already 2nd or 3rd phase of the interview and you are sure that the working culture at the company doesn’t fit you. 
  • There has occurred some change in personal life which makes it difficult to take up the job. 
  • You know a friend of yours who is unhappy working at the company. 

How to Decline Without Creating a Negative Impression?

  • Make up your mind: Declining an interview without making up your mind might lead to a lot of regrets. And again, if you take back this decision, then you will come across as inconsistent. You can reach out to the company if you have some questions before deciding anything. No one is forcing you to take the job. If you are unsure about the position then you can decide once you are offered the job. Know your reason for denying to appear in this interview and be sure about it. 
  • Approach Politely: You don’t want to list the company as inapproachable when some better job opportunities come up in the future. Draft your communication professionally without coming across as rude. 
  • Try to be Vague: It is up to you if you want to mention the reason for not being able to attend the interview. But it is recommended that you try and avoid stating the reasons if they are personal. It also carries the risk of jeopardizing your chances of working with the company in the future. You can mention it if you have been hired somewhere else before being called for this interview. 
  • Prompt Decision: It is advisable not to keep the recruiter waiting.  Value your as well as their time. If you are not interested in the position, then someone else might get a chance at the interview. 
  • Mail or Phone Call: An email is a fairly popular way of official communication in the present day. You can draft the mail stating what you want to, without being subject to a conversation that might demand some answers. Sending mail will also save time for everyone. However, some people might want to follow up the mail with a phone call seeking a better impression. 
  • Recommend a Candidate: It seems like you have given some extra efforts 

Sample Drafts for Declining an Interview through Mail:

Draft 1: Hired for Another Job

If you have started working someplace else, taking an interview will create a wrong impression at the workplace. When you have to decline the interview in such a situation, you can easily cite the reason. 

SUBJECT: Call for interview (Mention the job position)

Dear Recruiting Manager,

Thank You for considering me a suitable candidate for the (enter job post) and allowing me to be hired at (company name). However, I will have to inform you that I have taken up another job. I will have to withdraw my application.

Please keep me in mind when new opportunities come up in the future. I would love to get an opportunity to work with your company at a later date, whenever there is a suitable vacancy. 

Thanking you again for the opportunity and time. 



Mail ID

Phone Number

Draft 2: Location Issues

Location convenience is essentially considered before joining a job. A case might arise where you are being asked to take an interview for a job at a location that is inconvenient to travel to every day. Thus, you might let the employer know if they will consider remote work for this position. You can even request the recruiting manager for a job at some other office location.

SUBJECT: Call for interview (Job Title)

An employee is supposed to travel to the job location every day. 

Dear Recruiting Manager,

Thank you for accepting my application and considering me a suitable candidate for (enter job post) at (enter company name). I weighed my modes of transport to the job location after looking into the details and I believe the daily commute would be tough for me. I would be happy to be referred for a position at the (enter location) office. 

If there is an alternative option of remote work in a similar position kindly let me know. 

Thanking you,

Name (Include Mail ID and Phone Number)

Draft 3: Recommending Another Candidate

Selecting you as a candidate for an interview might show that the recruiting manager thinks of you as a reliable candidate for the job. Thus, there are chances that they will value your opinion. You can someone you know as a potential candidate for the role.

SUBJECT: Call for Interview (Job Position)

Dear Recruiting Manager,

I appreciate that you considered me suitable for the (enter position). This allowed me to learn about (company name). However, I have to regretfully inform you that I will have to decline this opportunity. 

However, I have someone in mind who would fit the position. (Enter name) is my colleague. They might be suitable for the company according to the requirements named. They can be contacted at (phone number) or email ID (email address). 

I hope that I get an opportunity to work with your company. 



Mail ID

Phone Number

Draft 4: Change in Circumstances

If you cannot be upfront about the reason for not being able to take up this opportunity, you can still drop a mail declining the interview. Skip mentioning a why and be polite about it. 

Subject: Call for Interview (Job Position)

Dear Recruiting Manager,

I am glad that I have been considered for (job position) at (company name). However, I am sorry to inform you that due to a change in my circumstances I will have to decline this opportunity. 

I hope that I do get an opportunity to work with your company in the future. 

Thanking you,

Name (Mail ID, Contact number)

Script for Declining over Phone Call:

Hi, I am (name). I wanted to talk about the interview for (position). I wanted to call and inform you that I will not be able to make it to the interview which I was invited for. Thank you for the opportunity. 

Tips to Draft the Mail:

  • Make sure you don’t burn the bridges: Be respectful while addressing the hiring manager. If you want to negotiate some of the terms of employment, you say it politely. A polite request for a more appropriate opportunity might look like this:
  • “I would request you to consider me for the (name of position). I want to explore my direction along that line and I also have some work experience at (company name) that might be relevant.”
  • You can also add a line that shows that you will like to work with the company in the future if a suitable position comes up. 
  • Always Respond: To appreciate the opportunity given and respond to the recruiter is a professional courtesy. If you do not want questions regarding the reasons, you can just drop an email or leave a voicemail. Keep the content of the response concise. Responding to the recruiter leaves an impression that you respect their time.
  • Let go of the interview gracefully: Do not go on to write the mail in detail. Keep it short and crisp. The hiring manager would be interested to know the status of the interview. If you want to give a reason for not being available for the interview then, state it in one or two lines. Make sure you identify something positive about the role or the process, this will open up your doors to other opportunities within that company in the future.
  • Be honest and direct: Recruiters appreciate people who know what they expect from their job. If the position does not fit your criteria, you can be upfront and speak about it. 
  • “The job offered doesn’t seem suitable for me and I believe this opportunity can be bagged by someone who is a good fit for the role.”
  • Create a positive relationship: You can deny attending the interview on a good note by referring someone fit for the role. You can also track the developments within the company and appreciate the work, company has been doing. 
  • Always respond with clarity: Be clear about your decisions. If you are still second-guessing, then you might as well give the interview a try. You need to have a strong reason to give yourself for not taking up on the interview. This reason doesn’t matter if included in the communication, or not will give clarity. You might say something like:
  • “I have carefully thought about this and even though I appreciate the offer, I will not be able to take upon this opportunity.”
  • Respond Quickly: You might take time to think over the pros and cons but as soon as you reach the conclusion, let the recruiter know. Once you decline the interview, a recruiter can start looking for other potential candidates. 

Declining Interview Last Minute: 

  • Instead of leaving messages with some subordinate or on the company mail. Directly reach out to the company representative/ hiring manager who notified you regarding the interview. This helps in avoiding any more delays. 
  • It is probably a good idea to contact them over the phone rather than by email. Even if the person doesn’t pick up the phone, make sure you leave a voicemail. Be humble and polite. Keep the message short. 
  • Make sure you thank the hiring manager for giving you an opportunity. 


The key lies in being straightforward but polite about canceling an interview. People remember you when you treat them with respect. In an interconnected industry, a word of unprofessionalism might close your doors. You wouldn’t want to create a negative impression of yourself even though you do not aspire to work with the company in the future. Not showing up delays the process of recruitment. Careful handling of such situations will help you going ahead. It would be advisable for you to get a confirmation of the interview cancellation from the recruiters.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How unprofessional it is to cancel an interview?

Some people might argue that it is rude as well as unprofessional to cancel. But some situations might arise where there is no other option but to cancel the interview. You might be sick or decide the job isn’t the right fit for you. Canceling an interview is better than not showing up for the interview without any notice in advance.

  1. How can one decline to cancel an interview due to personal reasons?

You can cancel an interview via email. While drafting the mail make sure you are clear about which job position you are talking about. Keeping a formal and clear subject line is important. Let the employee know that there is some change in your circumstances due to which you regretfully have to cancel the interview. 

  1. Is it okay to for an interview you don’t want to?

Many suggest that appearing in an interview irrespective of the fact that you want the job or not is always the right choice. No one can force you to take up the job. Appearing an interview will help build up your skills and gain some practice. It might also open up the chance to be hired in a more suitable position.

How to Decline a Job Interview?

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