When you started your job search, it might have seemed impossible that you’d ever voluntarily withdraw your application with a company.
Especially if you’re unemployed or have been eager to make a change for some time, you may have started off eager for a job – any job. And now, here you are, trying to figure out how to leave the interview process with a prospective employer, before they’ve even extended an offer.
You may be wondering if it’s rude to drop out in the middle of the process, or if you’ll burn your bridges with the employer by leaving after they’ve invested time interviewing you. If so, it might help to know that you’re not alone.
Candidates end the job interview process with companies more often than you might think, and for all kinds of reasons.
Withdrawing also doesn’t have to sour the relationship with the employer or the hiring manager. Go about this the right way, and you’ll be able to work with these folks again later on, should your situation change.
Why Do Job Seekers Withdraw Their Applications?
You know why you’re withdrawing your application, but it may allay your anxiety somewhat to know that your reason is only one of many. Job seekers end the interview process for many reasons, including:
Accepting another job. Most professionals pursue multiple leads when looking for work, so it’s common to receive one offer while you’re still interviewing elsewhere. While it’s OK to ask for a bit more time to consider another offer that seems imminent, you may decide to take the one in front of you. In this case, you’d need to withdraw from the process with the other employer.
The hiring process. For some candidates, the hiring process itself can be an issue. A HireVue survey reports that some of the top reasons for withdrawing include the applicant's time being disrespected during the interview, poor rapport with the interviewer, the length of the process, and the job description not matching what was advertised.
Realizing the job isn't a good fit. During the interview process, you’ll learn about the company’s culture, goals, opportunities for advancement, salary, and so on. You may discover that your needs are incompatible with the employer’s requirements. If so, it’s a good idea to look elsewhere.
Relocation. Perhaps your spouse is being transferred out of town for their job, or maybe you’re going back to school or moving to a new area for personal reasons.
Family needs. A family member may be ill and need you to care for them, or perhaps your spouse is in the military and is deploying, necessitating a move closer to relatives who can help.
How to Withdraw Your Application
Whatever the reason, the most professional thing to do in this event is to notify the employer with a letter of withdrawal promptly.
People sometimes worry that withdrawing their application will burn a bridge with the company. In fact, if you are certain the job is not right for you, withdrawing your application is a favor to the company.
It saves them time and effort and allows the company to focus on candidates who are still interested in the position. Employers would prefer to avoid making job offers that are rejected. The key to avoiding any soured relationship is to be polite and prompt with your withdrawal letter.
What to Include in a Withdrawal Letter
In your letter, you don’t need to provide a reason for withdrawing your application. You are simply letting them know that you no longer wish to be considered for the position. If you decide to include a reason, keep it positive. If the job just isn’t a good fit, you can say so without implying anything negative about the company or their staff.
You should send the letter as soon as you know that you are no longer interested in pursuing the job, to allow the hiring manager to focus on viable candidates.
How to Format the Letter or Email Message
- Use standard business letter format. If you send your letter via postal service, you should format it as you would any professional business correspondence.
- Begin with your contact information, followed by the date and the employer contact information. Your letter should begin with a polite salutation, and then express the reason you are writing.
- Thank them for the time they have spent considering you for the position.
- End with a professional closing.
When you send your letter of withdrawal via email, you don’t need to include the employer’s contact information. The subject line should include your name and “Withdraw Application.” Begin the letter with your salutation followed by a paragraph (or two) stating your intention to withdraw your application from consideration, and thanking them for their time.
Close with your name and contact information.
Letter of Withdrawal Template
Download the withdrawal letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Microsoft Word) or see below for more examples.
Withdrawal Letter Email Examples
Take a look at our sample email letters of withdrawal to get ideas about what to say when you need to remove yourself from consideration for a job.
Letter of Withdrawal Email Example #1
Subject: Firstname Lastname - Withdraw Application
Dear Mr. Jones,
I sincerely appreciate your consideration for the account manager position with your firm. I regret to inform you that I must withdraw my application for the job. My husband has received an attractive promotion with his company that will require relocation to another state, and we will be moving at the end of the summer.
Thank you for the time you spent reviewing my qualifications and meeting with me.
Letter of Withdrawal Email Example #2
Subject: Firstname Lastname - Withdraw Application
Dear Ms. Smith:
Thank you for meeting with me last week to discuss the role of the marketing department. I enjoyed our conversation and was so intrigued by the projects that are in the works at XYZ company.
I'm writing today to withdraw myself from consideration for the position, however, since I was offered a role at another company and accepted the job offer.
Thank you again for your time and consideration.