How Do I Decline A Job Interview After Accepting?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about declining a job interview:

I am trying to find the appropriate way to decline a job interview after I have accepted it. I am very sure of this decision after speaking with the interviewer over the phone for logistics. I didn’t feel right. What is the right thing to do? The interview is next Wednesday. Thank You.

Signed, Changed My Mind

Dear Changed My Mind:

Most employers–especially government offices or large companies–are well aware that people DO change their minds–even up to the point of AFTER the interview and a job offer. They will probably be interviewing several people, so for you to drop out may disappoint them, but not ruin their hiring process. I have had HR call a few minutes before an interview to tell me that someone dropped out of the process. I was always sorry to hear that we had one less candidate, but I knew we would find a good person anyway.

Even if you are the only person they were going to interview, they will move forward. Jobs don’t stay vacant for long, unless there is some very, very unique expertise involved.I say all of that to help you realize that all you need to do is call or write a courteous letter and say that you appreciate being given the opportunity to interview but there have been recent personal and professional changes that lead you to believe accepting the job there would not be the best thing to do at this time. That would be one short paragraph, which is all they need to know. Add one more short paragraph saying thank you, again.

You might want to personally mention any individuals who were helpful to you, as a way to give them a good feeling, and to leave the others with positive thoughts as well.If you call to talk to someone, which may be best on this short timeline, say the same basic things, keeping it brief. If you are asked for more specifics, just stick to that explanation.

IF there was some aspect of the process that should be stopped because it was inappropriate or created severe discomfort or stress for you, you may want to consider mentioning that, if you think someone higher in the organization would want to know about it. But it doesn’t sound as though that was the case.I hope this will help you develop the short letter or make the short phone call. That is all that is needed. Best wishes in your work!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.