How to politely decline an interview invitation

How to politely decline an interview invitation

Most job candidates are thrilled to be asked to attend a job interview. But there are also a wide range of reasons why you may need to decline an interview invitation.

Here are some tips on how to decline an interview invitation while keeping your professional reputation intact.

Reasons to decline an interview invitation

A lot can happen between submitting your resume and being asked to attend an interview.

You may already have accepted another role, or you may have decided that you are happy with your current job.

Or, you may already have gone through one round of interviews for this role already – and decided that the job or the organisation is not for you.

Alternately, you may have spoken to friends or professional contacts, who have advised you against taking your job application any further.

Whatever the case, it is always important to decline an interview invitation politely and with good grace.

You may not be interested in the role today but you never know when you will cross paths with the company – or the hiring manager – again. And it is important that you stay on good terms and take a professional approach.

This being the case, it is worth taking a two-step process to decline an interview invitation

Step one – Promptly decline the interview invitation

Do not keep the hiring manger waiting. Send an email as soon as you are sure you want to decline an interview invitation. This allows the hiring manager to consider other candidates.

Importantly, be diplomatic. You don’t need to provide the exact reasons why you want to decline the interview invitation but it does pay to keep your message short, polite and professional.

Instead of making excuses, it can help to be honest without divulging details. It is sufficient to write a note stating:

Thank you for the opportunity for an interview. However, I regret that I need to decline your interview invitation as I have already accepted a job offer with a different company.

Step two – Follow up with a phone call

Be sure the hiring manager knows you want to decline the interview invitation with a follow up phone call. While this is a professional courtesy, it can also be a step that you should handle with care.

The hiring manager may press you for reasons why you wish to decline an interview invitation. Be prepared for this. Have your answer ready, and if you are pressed for details simply state you are continuing your job search or pursuing other opportunities.

Don’t just ignore the hiring manager

If you have decided the role is not for you, it can be tempting to just ignore the request for an interview.

But even if you have had your resumes ignored in the past, resist the temptation to ignore the hiring manager’s invitation for an interview.

Maintaining a professional approach always provides benefits. Even if you don’t cross paths with this hiring manager again, by declining an interview invitation promptly and professionally, you will at least walk away with your reputation intact.

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