How to Decline an Interview: With Tips and Templates to Help You Succeed

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Learn how to respectfully decline a job interview and, through the use of templates and samples, learn how to craft an email to let a recruiter down gently.
Jul 10, 2023 8 min read

Most of the time, receiving a message from a hiring manager would be a dream come true. But if you're already committed to another company or you’re not too interested in pursuing the interview process at that company, then you might want to just turn down the interview.

Even if you're extended an interview offer, you don't need to follow through on it. You can politely decline an interview if you don't think you'd be a good fit for the new job.

In this article, we'll discuss

  • Why does it matter how you reject an interview?
  • How to decline an interview without burning bridges
  • 6 valid reasons to refuse a job interview invitation
  • How to decline a job interview respectfully (with templates)

If you're interested in learning how to become a highly sought-after employee, speak with one of the career counselors at Enhancv. They can give you confidence and support to become a major player in your industry.

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Why Does It Matter How You Reject an Interview?

Well, the simple reason is that it's all about how you represent yourself in your industry. You don't want to make a name for yourself as someone that is rude or inconsiderate when turning down a job interview.

Think about it like this: the hiring manager is another person trying to do their job by finding the right candidate for the role. If you look down on them or treat them with contempt, then you'll be treating someone poorly for no reason.

You never know what future opportunities might be available to you if you don't burn bridges with potential hiring managers.

Who knows, maybe down the road you could find yourself in the running at that same company for a better position that fits your skills and ability better. Don't destroy all other potential opportunities in your future job search by being rude and burning bridges.

How to Decline a Job Interview Without Burning Bridges

There is a number of ways that you can decline an interview without burning a bridge. Check out some of the suggestions below to tailor your response in such a way that you can respectfully decline a job interview.

Offer gratitude and add value where possible

No person is an island, and every one of us should be grateful of the connections that we've made through networking. Be grateful that the hiring manager has sought you out because they liked your CV, and share with them how much you appreciate the offer.

No matter what, you're going to be flattered that you've been offered an opportunity to interview for a position, even if you didn't directly apply for the position. Pass your gratitude along to the hiring manager.

Be aware of your motivations for withdrawing from consideration

It's important to understand why you're choosing to not pursue the interview process with a company. You shouldn't make knee-jerk decisions to turn down an interview invitation, and that's why it's important to consider why you're turning down an interview.

Sure, it may not be your dream job, but it may still be a great position that offers splendid pay and the opportunity to make a difference. Always check your biases and make sure not to be too hasty to turn down an interview.

If you're still feeling unsure after some self-reflection, consider confiding in a trusted friend

It's always a good rule to check in with a trusted confidant who can help provide you with sound counsel. If you've got a friend who you go to when you have difficult decisions to make, check with them to see if they think you should turn down this interview. You may be surprised by what they tell you.

6 Valid Reasons to Refuse a Job Interview

You accepted another job offer

Job candidates may have several other positions that they've applied for. If you've already made it through the hiring process at another company and recently accepted a position, then it would be best to turn down an interview with another company.

You are unsure that you want the job

It may be something completely out of your skill set and previous work experience, or you may feel like the job description won't offer you a challenging work experience. If that's the case and you still feel unsure about a particular position, then leave it to other job candidates.

You also may be happy to stay at your current position which is also totally fine. Sometimes, you just want to confirm that you've got the best available job on the market.

Your life plans or career goals have changed

Maybe in the job description, you see that you're going to work late into the evenings or won't receive the same financial compensation for the role as the job that you're at. You may simply turn down an interview because it doesn't fit where you see your career going.

You don't want the role

Alternatively, you may simply not want the role because it may uproot your life or force you outside of your comfort zone. Maybe you'll be forced to relocate away from friends and family and move to another city hours away.

You know someone who worked at the company and had a bad experience

Second-hand knowledge of a company's culture and workplace through a close friend or family member can also decide for you to decline interviews. Always take someone's bad experience with a grain of salt, realizing that you may not go through the same situations that they did.

Too many red flags

Whether you noticed inaccuracies in the job description or you found little to no website and social media presence in your research, spotting a red flag may put a bad taste in your mouth for the position. On paper, the position may seem great, but if your initial impression is that something seems "off" then you might want to turn down the interview.

Is It Possible to Turn Down an Interview for The “Wrong” Reasons?

You are afraid of rejection

Every person is afraid before an interview. But if that fear keeps you from applying for a position, then you may be losing out on great opportunities. Maybe you feel that you're not a suitable candidate or that you don't have the skills to properly fill the opening.

If this is you, take the words of the great one, Wayne Gretzky, to heart, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

You can't (or won't) put in the time

If you lost interest in a role and don't feel like pursuing it, just know that you may be missing an opportunity for a great work experience. If, after careful consideration, you still don't feel like a good fit, then you have legs to stand on and you can know that you made a great decision.

How to Decline an Interview Via Email

Respond quickly, but not too quickly

You're going to want to make sure that you time your response accordingly, making it look as though you took the time to think it over carefully. You don't want it to seem like you knew right away that you were going to turn down an interview.

Keep it light on details

You don't have to share with a recruiter that you found a great job and one that pays 1.5 times what they're offering. Keep it short, and to the point, and whatever you do, don't waste an interviewer's time.

Recommend someone else, if you can

If you know someone else that would be a good fit, pass their name along to the interviewer. Chances are that you know one person in your network who would be a great fit for the position.

How to Decline an Interview Examples and Template

Hello (name of the hiring manager),

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to extend to me an interview for (job title).

Although this seems like a great opportunity, upon careful consideration, I will have to decline a job interview at this time.

Best regards,

(Your name)

One of the best things about this email template is that it is straight to the point. It's a succinct message that shows respect for an interviewer's time. It also leaves the door open, as it states that the candidate would not like to pursue an interview "at this time". As well, in this email, the author introduces themselves and shows gratitude for the position which, "seems like a great opportunity".

How to decline an interview after accepting another offer sample email

Hello (name of the hiring manager)

I greatly appreciate your consideration for this role. I found it to be an exciting job opportunity, and I want to thank you for taking the time to reach out to me for an interview.

Unfortunately, I will have to decline the offer for a job interview, as I have recently received a job offer from another company.

I hope that you find the perfect candidate for this position in the near future.

Best regards,

(Your name)

You can't go wrong with getting straight to the point. This sample explains that they'll be turning down a position because they've found another role. There's no beating around the bush, but the author of the email easily explains the reason why they're declining an interview.

Declining an interview template

This template is simple and easy to follow for the next time you need to turn down an interview.

  • Salutation: Hello followed by the hiring manager's name
  • First Paragraph - Show gratitude: Show gratitude for being offered the position. Mention how pleased you were to be selected for an interview. If possible, include the name of the job position in this section
  • Second Paragraph - Let them down gently: Share with them that, "Unfortunately, I will be declining the opportunity to interview for the position." If possible you may want to qualify that statement with another that mentions that you recently found another position or that you know someone who would be perfect for the role.
  • Sign-off: End the email with a simple sign-off, like "Warmest regards" or "All the best". Lastly, include your signature, and your name.


Whether you're sticking around at your current job or you don't feel that the new role is your dream job, there might come a time when you'll have to turn down a position. If that's the case, don't waste the interviewer's time and get straight to the point of the message. Also, be respectful and grateful that you've been offered the position.

If you're looking to take your job search to the next level speak to a career counselor at Enhancv. They can help you to learn the interviewing skills to succeed in your next interview and land your dream job.

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Dave Van Kooten
Is a human resource expert that helps passionate jobseekers to put their best foot forward to prepare for an interview. He believes that success can be achieved through going out of your comfort zone.
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