How to Decline a Job Interview With a Letter Sample

Image by Theresa Chiechi © The Balance 2019 

After applying for a job, you may find that the position no longer seems like a good match. It's not worth your time, or the employer's, to interview for a job you don't really want. One possible exception would be the chance that a role that's a better fit may become available from the employer.

If you are contacted about arranging an interview for a job that you are no longer interested in, you will need to decline the job interview politely. The simplest way to turn down a job interview is via email.

Reasons to Decline a Job Interview

There are many reasons you may have decided, after submitting your application and resume, that you no longer want this particular job. Take, for example, the following:

  • You may have done more research about the position or the company and discovered that your goals aren't compatible with the company's mission or culture.
  • You may have been anticipating a relocation and then had a change in plans.
  • The position you applied for might have been less than you are qualified for, and in the time since you first applied, you have been offered a more appropriate job.
  • You may have already received a job offer and accepted the position.
  • Your schedule may have changed, making you unavailable for the work schedule the job requires.

There is no need to give a reason for turning down the interview. It's best to keep your letter simple and concise, because you may be interested in applying to the company again in the future.

Tips for Sending a Letter Declining a Job Interview Invitation

Be Sure: Once you've declined the job interview, you can't change your mind. So before you send the letter turning down the interview, be sure about your decision. You won't be able to say yes to this interview opportunity after you've said no. Change your mind, and you'll risk coming off as unreliable, flaky, indecisive, or worse.

Respond Quickly: While you need to be sure about your decision not to go forward with the interview, you should also respond to an employer's invitation as quickly as possible. This is especially true if you've already made solid plans for a formal interview. Here's how to cancel the interview, if you've already scheduled a meeting. Be respectful of the hiring manager's time and priorities.

If you're not going to go forward with the interview process, it's important to step aside as soon as possible so that an interested candidate can take your place.

Be Courteous: Be polite and gracious in your email to avoid burning any bridges. After all, you may want to apply for open positions at the company in the future. Most industries are tiny worlds, and hiring managers do network with human resources personnel at other companies to identify and help place qualified job candidates. Be rude in your communications with the hiring manager, and you might wind up shut out of other jobs that are more in line with your goals. You certainly would nix any chance for employment with their organization in the future.

Be Vague: The purpose of the letter is to let the hiring manager know that your plans have changed so that he or she can move forward with another candidate. You don't need to provide specific reasons why you're no longer interested. However, do be sure to communicate clearly that you are declining the interview opportunity. 

Sample Letters Declining an Interview Invitation

Basic Email Withdrawing Application

Here is an example of a letter sent via email to decline a job interview:

Subject: Interview Invitation - Your Name

Dear Name:

Thank you very much for considering me for the position of Job Title and for inviting me to interview with Company Name. However, I would like to withdraw my application for this position.

I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to review my application.

Again, thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,

Your Name
Email
Phone

Example Accepting Another Job Offer

If you accepted another job offer in the interim, you might want to share that update. Here's a sample email that does so:

Subject: Thank you for the interview opportunity

Dear Name:

I'm grateful for the opportunity to interview at Company Name for Job Title. Since I initially put in my application for this position, I was offered—and accepted—a job at another company, so I'm respectfully declining this offer.

I wish you all the best for your search for a candidate.

Thank you again for considering me for this position. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Your Name 

Email
Phone

Example Mentioning a Change in Circumstances

Here is another option for how to phrase your email declining the interview:

Subject: Interview for Job Title – Your Name

Dear Name:

Thank you so much for the invitation to interview at Company Name. I appreciate being considered as a candidate.

However, due to changes in my circumstances, I must decline this opportunity.

Thank you again and best of luck in your search.

Best Regards,

Your Name
Email
Phone

The Bottom Line

Although you might feel like you need to apologize or justify your decision not to interview, any explanation you offer will most likely be viewed as a rationale for your rejection of an employer's interest in you.

It's best just to let them know that your intentions have changed without explaining why. Most interviewers will let it go at that and be thankful that you kept them in the loop and allowed them the time to arrange an interview with an alternate candidate.