How to Decline a Job Interview without Burning Bridges [+Sample]

Updated on: November 1, 2020

At times you might find yourself in a situation when you get a job interview but not interested to appear for some reason.

In this case, you will need to graciously decline the job interview without burning bridges. You may do this through a traditional letter or email.

There might be many reasons for this; you may have found another job or their compensation package is very low. Whatsoever the reason is, you have to decline very carefully.

Here is this kind of sample letter or email to decline a job interview.

Sample Letter or Email to Decline an Interview without Burning Bridges

November 1, 2020

Mr. Jacob Williams
Human Resource Manager
ABC Company
8890 First Street
Allendale, NJ 08897

Dear Mr. Williams:

Thank you for reaching out to me to let me know that I have qualified for an interview at ABC Company, for the position of Sales Associate. I am actually quite excited knowing that I was considered worthy enough to be shortlisted for this position, at a company that I have been wanting to work for many years.

While I was keenly waiting for ABC Company to call me in for an interview, I was approached by another organization (where I had applied for a job as well). Since their offer was immediate and spot on with my requirements, I had no choice but to take it up and commit to them that I will be joining in a week’s time.

The present situation does leave me in a dilemma as I was actually looking forward to working with you, rather than anywhere else. However, professional ethics state that I take up the offer that I have already promised. 

At this point in time, however, I have no choice but to turn down the interview, hoping that a suitable and deserving candidate will be given a chance to work for an organization that I have dreamed of working for. I expect that you understand my predicament, and keep my job application documents in your database for another suitable position in the future. 

I would like to thank you once again for shortlisting me for the interview.


Abraham Dayton

How to Decline a Job Interview without Burning Bridges

It can be quite a challenge to decline a job interview, especially when you have done efforts to gain a prospective employer’s favor. Most of us might not think this way, but when you decline an interview, you also destroy your chances of working with that company ever again.

Look at it this way – when an interview call is sent, you are not the only one who is looking forward to gaining the job. The hiring manager will also be quite excited at the prospect of hiring someone who is almost perfect for the job. You will burst his bubble by declining to come in for the interview.

But what the hiring manager thinks is not your business, right? Wrong! Even if you are a little bit of a forward thinker, you will realize that you might need to apply to this company in the future. In such a case, you might have already been blacklisted by the employer, who would not trust you enough because you have already declined an interview once.

What should you do?

You make sure that you inform the hiring manager that you cannot come in for the interview, and that you have certain reasons for this decision.

What reasons?

Well, you might have realized that the company or the work is not really down your alley. Or you might have found a better job offer (or interview call) and you do not want to waste time by obliging to an interview that you do not really want to go to.

Or you just do not want to leave your present job after all! Can any of these reasons be communicated to a hiring manager without him feeling at least a bit antsy about you? The answer is no. So, what does one do?

How to decline?

First things first. As soon as you decide that you do not want to appear for the interview, inform the hiring manager through a letter or email.

Since the latter will be faster, we suggest that you use this means of communication. Be very polite in how you word your refusal – you might want to apply to the same company in the future, and you don’t want to burn your bridges.

Thank all the people who were involved in bringing you to the interview stage. Being diplomatic will help here. Tell the hiring manager that you admire his company and are thankful for the job offer, but you have already accepted a job that suited your career objectives better.

Avoid unnecessary details

In your conversation with the hiring manager, make sure that you do not say unnecessary things like how good you are and how highly accomplished a candidate you make.

The hiring manager doesn’t want to know all this anymore. He just needs a reason for you to decline the interview and you need to make sure that he or she understands it, and keeps your job application documents in a safe place, ready to be referred to when another suitable position arises!