Turning Down an Interview: When To Say No

  | 5 min read

Declining an interview

The general advice is that you should never turn down an interview opportunity. At the very least, every interview trains you on what employers want and you will sharpen your interviewing skills. Take every interviewing opportunity as a learning experience. However, sometimes, going for that interview might just not work in your best interest. Thus, turning down an interview is sometimes in yours and the interviewer’s best interest. Here are moments when you should politely say no.

  1. You have taken up another job

Turning down an interview

So let us say you were seriously job hunting and since your CV is great and your skills sell you well. Because of this, interviewers are itching to meet you. You get called to one interview and it goes really well and you eventually get an offer, or you attend several interviews and one employer gives you an offer sooner than the others and you take it up. It is a good offer, after all. However, a couple of weeks after reporting to your new job, another interviewer calls you or one of the others calls you for another interview. You should never turn down interview opportunities, right? Well, not in this case. If you have already taken up a new job, it might be in your best interest to focus on the job and give it your best. Going for another interview while you have just started another job is simply wasting your own time.

  1. When you have already made up your mind

Decision making

Let’s say you have already gone for one or two interviews and during those interviews, you realised that the organisation is not a good fit for you. Maybe you did not like the culture or after a discussion with the recruitment manager, you realised that the job is not what you really want or will not have any new challenges for you. But you have been invited for another interview. In that case, it would be in everyone’s best interest to turn down the interview as it would only waste everyone’s time. Therefore, it is okay to turn down the interview.

  1. You already interviewed for another job and did not like the company

You do not like the company's culture

Sometimes, some companies keep your CV for future references in case a suitable opportunity arises. You might have gone for an interview for the first time and you did not like something about the organisation such as the people or environment. Or maybe, you found another job anyway. If you did not like the environment, and especially if you already have another job, then it is completely fine to turn down the interview as you know very well that you will not take the job anyway, even if you are offered.

  1. Your research tells you that it is not the right place for you

Company research

Before going for an interview, it is important to conduct a thorough research about the company. Your research should tell you things such as what the culture is, what to expect, the type of management, growth opportunities, and everything that matters. There are many ways to do your research. If in the course of your research, you find something about the company that just doesn’t sit well with you and you have indeed confirmed it, then it is completely fine to turn down that interview invitation, unless just want to confirm what you have found out.

How to reject an interview

Now that you have already established that you will not be attending an interview, it is rude to just fail to show up on the material day. Here is how to politely let the interviewer know that you will not be showing up for the interview.

  1. Send an email as soon as possible

Don’t burn bridges. You might want to apply for a job in that same company some day so it is best to keep your relationship cordial. Write an email as soon as possible and let the interviewer know that you will not attend the interview. You can write:

Dear X

Thank you for considering my application for position X. However, I have accepted an offer from another company which will offer me a great challenge to help me move to the next stage of my career. As such, I would like to turn down the interview invitation you extended to me.

     2.  Ensure that you mention that you appreciate the fact that you were considered for the job

It is good to acknowledge the fact that the interviewer took the time to review your application and considered you a good fit. Therefore, make sure you acknowledge this.

  1. Let the interviewer know that you are open for future opportunities

It is okay to let the interviewer know that you would be interested in future opportunities if the chance arises. For example, you can say,

As much as I will not be attending the interview right now, I am open to the idea of working with you in future if an opportunity fitting my qualifications arises.”

Turning down an interview is fine and justified in some situations. Not all interviews are of value to you but make sure you communicate your decisions with the interviewer.

Have you ever rejected an interview? Let us know why and how you did it.


Njeri Karanja
Njeri is a reading and creative writing enthusiast who is neck-deep in research writing. She is well versed in researching and writing on various topics.


  1. Very well articulated as in the sense sometimes people decline to attend interview and fail to communicate with the hiring firm.

  2. It is good to acknowledge the fact that the interviewer took the time to review your application and considered you a good fit. Therefore, make sure you acknowledge this.

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