Backing out of a job interview can feel intimidating, even when you know you aren't going to accept the position. Whether you have another offer or simply decided you don't want to work for the company, it's important to handle the situation with professionalism. In doing so, you can pull out of the hiring process without burning bridges.
Validate Your Decision
Before you reach out to a company to cancel a job interview, take a moment to be sure it's the right choice. There's no going back once you pull out, so it's crucial to examine your decision. If something about the company makes you uncomfortable, call the hiring manager to bring up your concerns. You may find that your impressions were incorrect. If the job isn't what you expected, talk over the situation with a trusted colleague and ask for feedback. By identifying and evaluating the problem, you can move forward with confidence.
Ask About Other Opportunities
If you like a company but you don't want the job in question, there's no need to take yourself out of the hiring process immediately. Instead, call the employer and explain why you think the current position isn't right for you. Then, express your enthusiasm for the organization and ask about other possible opportunities. Your contact may know of another job that is about to open, or he may be able to suggest an alternate solution, such as an accelerated promotion schedule. If nothing is available and you still wind up canceling the job interview, this process reaffirms your connection with the company and increases your chances of being considered for positions that arise down the road.
Give Advance Notice
When you're certain that you don't want to continue with a job interview, let the employer know immediately. Interviewing takes time and resources — by providing advance notice, you allow time for the hiring manager to make other plans or fill your spot with another candidate. If you're making the decision to back out the night before the interview, proceed carefully. A last-minute cancellation can irritate the employer, making future interactions uncomfortable or unproductive.
Both calls and emails are acceptable ways to cancel a job interview, as long as you use a professional approach. Don't waste time trying to justify your decision — simply state that the position isn't the right fit for this stage of your career, and then thank the employer for the opportunity. If you had a bad experience with the company or a representative, avoid laying out your grievances.
Canceling a job interview is not a decision to take lightly. With a thoughtful and respectful approach, you can respectfully pull out of an interview without damaging relationships or ruining your chances of working for the employer in the future.
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