Circumstances can change. While you were excited about applying for what looked a great new job, you are now in two minds. Problem is you have an invitation to a job interview and you don’t want to go. Now you need to know how to decline a job interview.

Slow down tiger

Before refusing the job interview, you need to be sure you are not missing an opportunity that may not come around again in a hurry.

You might have heard something about the organization you are not happy with, and that is how you have arrived at your decision. Check the facts.

When you are absolutely sure, don’t leave it too long. No more than a day, and move to step 1.

How to decline a job interview – Step 1

Depending on the lines of communication you have been having with the recruiting company or agency, I would start with a phone call. When organizations are recruiting, they put a lot of effort into the process and they can invest time and hope in certain candidates, so don’t leave them waiting.

If you want to turn down a job interview because of something negative about the organization, I would keep your reason vague – a change of circumstances. No point causing offence or burning bridges. It is OK to say you have another job offer.

A call along the lines of:

“This is [your name], I applied for the role of [job] and you have asked me along for an interview which I greatly appreciate.

“Unfortunately, due to a change in circumstances/another job offer, I have to withdraw my application.

“Thank you for your interest in me and all the best recruiting for the role.”

If they press you for a reason, stick to the line of ‘a change in circumstances.

If you are aware of another candidate who may be suitable, by all means suggest them, but make sure it is someone who would do a great job and they are happy for you to refer them.

Declining a job interview – Step 2

After the call, follow up with an email. Send it to the main contact. The email will be short and sweet confirming the details on the call:

Subject: Interview for [Job Title or Reference]

Dear [Main Contact],

As I said on my recent phone call with you, I’d like thank you very much for giving me the chance to interview for the role of [Job title]. I appreciate the opportunity.

However, due to a change in circumstances I have to decline the inteview and withdraw my application. [having accepted another position – if relevant]

I have spoken to a colleague, [Name], who may well be a suitable candidate for this role. They can be contacted on [number or email].

I wish you all the best recruiting for the role and thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours etc.

This approach will leave a professional and courteous impression and now you can move on.


  • Are you sure you want to reject the job interview opportunity?
  • Respond in good time – 24 hrs
  • Be vague about the reason so as not to burn bridges
  • Do you know anyone else who might be suitable for the role?
  • Call, then email.