How to Decline a Job Interview: Tips and Email Samples

how to decline a job interview tips
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During your job search, you might apply for a variety of job opportunities to maximize your chances of being seen and hired. Sometimes, by the time some employers contact you for the next step, you’ve decided to reject the job interview. 

You may end up rejecting an interview for several reasons. Perhaps, too much time has passed since you applied, and you already have another offer. Maybe your priorities have changed, and you’ve decided to reject the job interview to pursue a different passion. Or it could be that the employer offered more information that wasn’t previously in the job posting, and you’ve since realized this position doesn’t meet your needs. 

In those cases, you need to know how to gracefully decline a job interview. Whatever your reasons, it’s important to maintain professionalism when you decline an interview by email. You never know how this network connection could affect you later. It can be tricky to decline a job interview by email while being polite and professional. You want to make your needs clear without burning that bridge or causing offense. 

Things to consider before you reject a job interview

Getting an interview invitation can feel exciting. But not every opportunity is the best fit and it’s important to examine different elements before either accepting or rejecting an interview.

After receiving an offer for an interview, most people would re-read the job description to weigh several factors when they consider accepting or declining a job interview for a new position, such as:

💡 Job responsibilities

The job description is typically the first thing people notice when applying, since it tells them whether they meet the qualifications for that position or would find it appealing. 

💡 Salary and benefits

Salary is an obvious thing to think about when you consider rejecting an interview offer, as well as a benefits package.

But there are several other things that contribute to a person’s job satisfaction that won’t necessarily be written in a job description. Consider these details before you reject a job interview as well: 

💡 Personal career plan

If you have been job searching for some time, it might be tempting to accept the first interview offered to you. Before accepting or rejecting an interview offer, it’s important to consider whether this position meets your long-term goals and will contribute to your overall career plan. How will this position move you forward? If you feel this job might not support your chosen career path, it's in your best interest to reject the job interview. 

💡 Company culture

Another thing to consider before declining a job interview is whether the company culture is the best fit for you. This can be a little harder to figure out, but some research can make your decision easier. A company’s website might offer insight into their work culture, like whether they are inclusive, innovative, or purpose-driven. 

If a company’s work culture doesn’t seem like a good fit for you, it’s something to consider carefully before you reject a job interview. You can also sometimes find reviews from previous employees online, through sites like LinkedIn. Reach out to your network; you never know if you have a connection who works at that company now, or might have worked there in the past, and could provide insight into the work environment. Doing this research can help in your decision to reject a job interview.

💡 Company location

Another factor you could consider before accepting or declining a job interview is the company location. A long commute to work directly impacts your quality of life and may not be worth the trouble no matter how good the opportunity is. Carefully consider how long you want to spend driving or on public transit every day and have a clear idea of what you are willing to sacrifice before rejecting an interview.

If you have done your research and are convinced that this position is not for you, the next thing to do is decline the interview by email or phone.

Five tips on how to politely decline a job interview

🖋 Be courteous.

It can be hard to know how to decline a job interview without burning bridges. One crucial thing to remember is to always be polite and professional when declining a job interview offer. 

Networking is an important part of anyone’s career and making a bad impression on any employer could end up hurting your opportunities in the future. Be courteous and kind when you turn down the interview by email or phone. 

🖋 Be concise.

It’s also essential to be as clear as possible when declining a job interview. While letting them down gently is professional, don’t be ambiguous when you reject the job interview, as this will only create confusion. 

Let the employer know in clear and simple language that you won’t proceed with your application, but you’re grateful for the opportunity. If you are direct and clear when you decline an interview by email or phone, it shows you are candid and sincere. 

🖋 Respond quickly.

Don’t wait too long to reject a job interview. Even though you’ll be declining a job interview, waiting a while to respond can leave the employer feeling ignored or frustrated. They may be waiting on your reply, and a delay can seem unprofessional. 

Whether you are using a phone or email to decline the interview, try to respond in the first few days after you’ve reached your decision not to move forward. The employer will be grateful that you didn’t leave them waiting. Rejecting an interview promptly can keep your good standing.

🖋 Don’t offer unnecessary detail.

It isn’t helpful to be too specific about the reasons why you are rejecting an interview, and in fact providing too much detail could do more harm than good. You can simply say that after some consideration, you are not interested in this opportunity, and will be declining a job interview. 

The employer may be curious as to why you are rejecting an interview, but some of those details may be personal, or they could have to do with your opinion of the company. It is therefore not professional to share too much, but to keep your response short and sweet when declining a job interview.

🖋 Refer another candidate.

While you’ve concluded it’s best for you to decline a job interview, you might know someone in your network who would be a good fit for this position. 

With their permission, you can refer this person to the hiring manager when you reject the job interview. This can help both the employer and your connection and will reflect well on you.  

How to turn down an interview by email with samples

Using email to decline an interview is simple and straightforward. Important elements to include in your job interview rejection email are a greeting, the hiring manager’s name, a sign-off, and your name. Don’t forget to thank the employer for the opportunity.  

✉️ How to decline a job interview because of the job location

Perhaps you are rejecting an interview because the commute is too far. This kind of information is appropriate to include in your email to decline the interview. Here is an example of an email rejecting an interview due to the job location:

Good morning Mr. Williams, 

I wanted to thank you for considering my application for the Software Product Manager role. Unfortunately, at this time the job is too far from my home, and I believe the commute will be challenging. I will therefore be withdrawing my application. 

Thank you very much for your consideration, and I hope you are successful in finding the right applicant. 

Sara Patel

✉️ How to decline a job interview because of salary

Perhaps your salary expectation was not met, which is a valid reason to reject a job interview. There is a chance that salary can be negotiated, and it won’t hurt to include that in your email, especially if income is the primary reason you are rejecting a job interview. If you decline a job interview by email because of the salary offered, it might look like this:

Dear Mr. Williams, 

Thank you very much for reaching out to me with your offer to interview. While the Software Product Manager role is appealing to me, your compensation doesn’t meet my needs at this time. If the salary is negotiable, please let me know. 

Thank you again for taking the time to consider my application, and I hope we can connect again in the future. 

Sara Patel

✉️ How to decline a job interview after accepting another offer

If, during the hiring process, you have already been offered another position, it is appropriate to mention this when you are declining an interview by email. If you are rejecting an interview because of another offer, your email could look something like this:

Hi Mr. Williams, 

Thank you very much for reaching out to me about an interview. Since I had submitted my application to Entertainment Software Inc, I’ve been offered another position, so I regretfully must decline. I hope your search for a candidate goes well. 

Thank you for your time and understanding.  

Sara Patel

Interview rejection email template

The following is a template for declining a job interview by email. 

Dear [Name],

Thank you for your time and consideration of my application for the [position] role at [Company Name]. I appreciate your invitation for an interview, but unfortunately at this time, I will not be going forward with the hiring process. 

Thank you for taking the time to assess my application. I hope your search for a candidate is successful. 


[Your Name]

Whether it is the salary, commute, or work culture that isn’t the right fit for you, how to politely decline an interview isn’t easy. Be clear but courteous, and don’t give too much detail. Use the hiring manager’s name, and if you can, recommend another candidate. If you are respectful and grateful in your email, you can decline a job interview without making waves. Ultimately, being professional will help you keep this network connection, which may benefit you in the future. 

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--- Originally written by Tiffany Quinn ---

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