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A change in priorities, an enlightened viewpoint or a commitment to another job all function as reasons to reject an interview offer. Even if you have no intention of ever working for the employer in question, take time to handle the rejection with style and grace. Tackle the task with a prompt, polite and professional attitude, and the employer will likely respect you for your straightforward approach.
Receiving an Offer
Thank the person offering the interview : "Thank you for offering to give me the opportunity to interview." This shows your gratitude for the interviewer's consideration of you as a worthy candidate.
In clear, simple terms, explain why you can't accept the offer: "Unfortunately, I have already accepted another position." If you haven't accepted another position, but you know you don't want the one offered, state, "At this time, I would like to remove myself from consideration for the position you are offering."
State your feelings about future opportunities, if applicable, to let the person know you might be interested should your situation change: "If I hadn't already accepted another offer, I would be thrilled to interview with your company. Perhaps in the future I will be in a position to apply again." Skip this step if you have no intentions of applying again.
Thank employers for their time and wish them well to end your communication on a positive note.
Canceling an Interview Offer
Call the person whom you spoke with when you accepted the interview offer. This eliminates any miscommunication issues that can result when speaking with a third party and is the most considerate option.
Identify yourself, state the position you're interviewing for and specify the interview date and time: "Hello, this is Jack Jones. I have an interview for the sales team manager position scheduled with you this Friday at 2 p.m."
State your intentions politely and clearly: "Thank you for your time in considering me, but my plans have changed and I am no longer available to interview." If you want to offer specific reasons why you're canceling, do so.
Close the call graciously: "Again, thank you for the invitation to interview. I wish you the best in your search."
If you have a scheduled interview that's several days in the future, you can email the person rather than call.
Don't interview with a company you're not interested in just for the sake of interviewing. Not only do you waste the employer's time, you also risk taking an interview slot that the employer could devote to another qualified candidate.
If after accepting the interview offer you research the company and discover that many employees are unhappy and have low morale, you might decide not to interview. Don't disclose such personal opinions about the employer as the reason for rejecting an interview offer. It's unprofessional and could offend the interviewer.