Saying No To An Employer Is Not The End Of the World

In this world of ours where jobs are a priority and super important, turning down a job could feel like the end of the world to you. Sometimes, it could be that you applied to work in more than one place and your preferred position has been offered to you or a position with better benefits. Is it wrong to say No to a job interview? Not at all, in fact, the relationship between you and the employer will be saved if you give feedback and say why you are declining their offer. 

You would ask ‘how do I say no to a potential employer?’ or ‘how do I let them know I cannot work for them?’

It is similar to turning down a potential partner. You may meet someone, things could be going really well but titles and boundaries have not yet been crossed. While you both are still evaluating your lives and trying to decide if the other person is a good fit for you, someone even more interesting and compatible could walk into your life. What do you do then? 

Most of you will agree “Ghosting” is not a good way to let a partner know you are not  interested especially since most people have been ghosted at one time or the other and it is not a good feeling at all. Ghosting is a term or slang used to describe the sudden loss of contact or disappearance of someone from a mutual relationship. One person is suddenly cut off from the other without any warning

Say, you were the party that is still invested in the partnership or relationship, would you prefer to be cut off without prior warning or let down genuinely? The same can be said for companies who send you job offers. Communication between you and the hiring team should be established with an explanation, no matter how vague, explaining why you cannot accept the interview or why you may not be able to make it to the interview on the said date.

There are many reasons why a job interview can be turned down

  • You have recently begun a new job and have no need for another interview at the moment.
  • You are not available to attend the interview due to various reasons.
  • You have more than 1 job interview on the same day. 

These are some reasons why you may be unavailable for an interview. However, just ignoring the message pr call is not professionally right. 

  • A call to the Human Resource unit or Hiring team is one way of notifying them that you won’t be available for the interview.
  • An email to the hiring team telling them you can not make it for the interview and why.
  • A visit to the office to let them know why you may be rejecting their interview offer.

4 Steps in Declining an Interview

1. Be Polite

An employer is still an employer. Your not needing that interview at that time does not mean you will never need to interact with the hiring team or even the company again. Addressing the call, email or letter politely and in professional terms will help you maintain that relationship that could always be used again.

2. Explain Your Reasoning 

An explanation is very important. This could be noted down and filed for future reference. Sometimes, it could be used as a yardstick to measure their need for your services. A company can decide they need you more than the other company and struggle to offer you a better package than what they offered originally. 

3. Listen

After explaining your reason for missing an interview, listen to what the other party has to say. You could be asked to come back some other time if they really want you to work with them or even work with as a consultant. Sometimes, it could be that the person you are speaking to would be a valuable connection to keep and burning that bridge is very wise. 

4. Renegotiation

Sometimes it could be that you are rejecting the interview because of the salary amount attached or stated. an explanation from you telling them why you are rejecting their invite could also help to get you a salary raise. Depending on the job, your qualifications and how much they want you to be a part of the team, they could end up increasing the amount they offered at first.

Written Examples Of Polite Refusals 

This person is sending an email to notify the company that he has a new job via email:

The hiring team,

NewCo Limited,


Dear sir/madam,


I received an email dated xx/xx/2020 inviting me to a job interview for the position of xxx within your esteemed company. Regretfully, I am writing to notify you that I will not be able to meet the time and date given for this interview. While I am grateful for the consideration and offer, I just started a new job with XXX company last Monday and have no need for the job position you have offered at the moment. 

Thank you so much for reaching out and I hope we can work together in the future.


Your Name


An email sent by another person stating he will not be in town for the said date as he had to travel for a personal emergency. Also sent via email:


Company X Hiring Manager,


NewCo Limited,

Good morning. 

I received an invitation form you inviting me to a job interview on Thursday, xx/xx/2020 at your headquarters in California. 

I am extremely humbled that you believe in my abilities and would like a chance for me to become a part of the team. However, due to some serious personal emergency, I will be out of town and the said date and unable to avail myself of this opportunity. 

I would appreciate it immensely if my interview can be rescheduled as this is an emergency I cannot avoid. If that is not possible, I understand.

Thank you, again, for your consideration. I hope to hear back positively from you concerning a reschedule for a face-to-face interview.


John Smith



Did you accept your interview and don’t know what to do next? Check out our follow-up Thank You Letter guide to learn what it is and why you should do it. If you’re not just turning down interviews but also looking to leave your current job we also have a guide to writing a two-weeks resignation letter as well that may be of interest to you. 

Finally, have you ever turned down a job interview for any reason? Do you have more examples of how to turn down an interview? Post them below and they can be added to the updated list.

About Rudeth S

I'm a retired Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist for a leading Fortune 500 company, current volunteer Director at Copy My Resume, a mother of 3 and herbal tea lover!

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