How to Write a Letter to Reject an Interview

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If you’ve been on the hunt for a new job for a long time, finally receiving offers for interviews is a relief. However, you are not obligated to accept every interview offer. If you have decided to accept a position at another job or you simply do not believe in some of the tenets of the company after some research, write a letter to decline the meeting formally.

Address the letter to the same hiring manager who offered you the interview. State your full name and why you’re writing a letter to the company to remind the hiring manager of your application. Inform the hiring manger that you are in receipt of an interview offer from the firm.

Identify the position for which you were offered the interview. Thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to meet with him regarding the position.

Express your polite regret that you’ve decided not to accept the interview offer. If you want, you can provide a general reason, such as your decision to take another position or a problem with the location of the position. Use a positive or neutral reason. Avoid potentially negative language, such as saying you found a better offer, which could turn off the hiring manager if you ever decide to apply at the firm again.

Ask the hiring manager to please keep your application and resume on file. In many cases, this is one of the main motivations for composing a formal letter to decline — you want to demonstrate professionalism to leave the door open for a future relationship with the employer. Canceling doesn’t necessarily mean that the hiring manager will take offense. As human resources expert Mary Emmen says, “I would much rather have someone cancel the interview than waste my -- and their -- time going through the motions, which costs me money in wasted productivity."

Send your letter to decline the interview at least a week in advance of the planned date or as soon after you receive the offer as possible. This courtesy gives the hiring manager time to schedule another applicant in your place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sometimes, going to the interview -- even if you’re not interested in the position -- can be valuable. You could start a conversation with the hiring manager that leads to consideration for a more favorable position at the company. Talking to the manager may also dispel any negative rumors you’ve heard about the firm.
  • If the proposed interview within a few days of the interview offer, send an email or place a call to notify the hiring manager as soon as possible instead of sending a letter.

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