People don’t usually apply for jobs without any intention of following through to the interview. But on the off chance that you realize the job you applied for really isn’t what you want and you decide to decline an interview, writing a well-crafted letter is a professional way to inform the interviewer of your choice. Rejecting an interview the right way can help you avoid burning any bridges or gaining a reputation in your industry as a flake.
When to Send the Letter
Let the employer know as soon as you realize that you are not interested in the job. This professional courtesy allows the interviewer to schedule another candidate or make other changes to his schedule. This is even more imperative if you’re on the second or third round of interviews because the employer has already invested a substantial amount of time and resources in you.
Addressing the Letter
Direct the letter to the person conducting the interview. Use the person’s full name and formal titles such as “Mr.,” “Ms.”or “Dr.” If you’re unsure of the recipient's gender, leave the title off and just include the first and last name. If there is more than one interviewer, address the letter to everyone who will be in attendance. In the event that you don’t know the name of the person interviewing you, use a phrase such as “Dear Hiring Manager.”
The first thing you need to do is thank the employer for the invitation to interview for the position. Start the second sentence with a bridging word such as “unfortunately” or “regrettably” and then tell the interviewer that you will not be able to attend. This not only shows that you’re grateful for the opportunity, it also serves to get straight to the point and still deliver the bad news politely and professionally.
Give the reason you can’t attend in the next paragraph. This may be because you accepted another job offer or that, upon further consideration, you realized that the position actually isn’t a good fit for your experience and skills, or even that the commute is too long. Although you don’t have to go into detail, be honest and give the employer more than, “I don’t think it’s going to work out.” Plus, if you voice your misgivings about the job, the interviewer may be able to alleviate your reservations enough for you to reconsider.
End the email by apologizing for causing any inconvenience and thanking the interviewer once again. Let him know if you would like to be considered for other positions in the future. Place your name at the bottom of the letter.