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How to Decline an Interview

Things can change quickly when you’re applying for jobs. You might have submitted an application, but then decided the position wasn’t the right fit or learned of a better one somewhere else. Or, you might have accepted another position. 

If any of these things are true and you subsequently receive an invitation to interview, it’s important to decline the offer promptly. We’ll explain how to do it and provide you with sample letters for declining an interview.

What does declining an interview mean?

A letter to decline an interview lets the hiring manager know you don’t intend to move forward in the hiring process. It may give a brief reason for your decision. This allows the hiring manager to remove you from consideration and move forward with other candidates.

Why you should write a letter

Even though you’re no longer interested in the position for one reason or another, the invitation to interview signals that the company is interested in you. If you don’t send a letter declining their offer, they may continue waiting to hear from you and in the meantime, pass over other qualified candidates. 

Sending a letter to tactfully decline an interview preserves your professional reputation. Even if you’re declining because you got an amazing job somewhere else, most jobs don’t last forever. It’s important to be cordial because you never know when you might cross paths with the hiring manager or someone else involved in the hiring process in the future.

When you should decline

You should send a letter declining an interview as soon as you know you’re not interested in being considered. 

It’s worth noting that sometimes, candidates interview for positions even though they’re not sure whether they’d accept the role if offered it. Interviews aren’t just a tool for helping hiring managers assess candidates; they’re also an opportunity for candidates to learn whether they’re in fact interested in taking the role. So, it’s okay to accept an interview offer if you’re not 100% sold on the job. 

However, if your mind is completely made up, send the hiring manager an email to let them know ASAP.

What to include:

A thank you

Express your gratitude for the invitation. 

A reason for declining

After stating that you don’t plan to accept the interview, you may wish to give a brief explanation of why, though this is optional.

What you should omit when declining

  • An in-depth explanation. Getting into too much detail for why you’ve decided to withdraw from the interview process could create a negative impression.

Sample letter – changed mind about job

Dear Mr. Chen,

Thank you for the invitation to interview for the sales manager position. I appreciate your consideration, but I have decided to withdraw my application for the role. 

I wish you success in your search. 

Matthew Connor

Sample letter – accepted another offer

Ms. Roberts, 

I appreciate the offer to interview for the executive assistant role. However, after submitting my application, I was offered and accepted a position with another firm. 

Thank you for considering me for the job. 


Madeline McGee

By sending a brief but polite message to decline an interview, you’ll keep your positive reputation intact and allow the company to move on with their search for the right candidate.