How To Say No To An Interview After You've Said Yes

  • Article by: MATT KRUMRIE , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: March 11, 2008 - 3:06 PM

How do you withdraw from consideration for a job after you have committed to an interview? Matt Krumrie advises job seekers to be honest with possible employers to show consideration of their time.

Dear Matt: How do you withdraw from consideration for a job after you have committed to an interview? Twice I've decided I don't want the job, once because of the commute, the other because I didn't like the person interviewing me. What should I do in these cases? Go through with the process or back out and say thanks, but no thanks?

Matt: What would you want the candidate to do if you were on the other end trying to hire for this position? You certainly wouldn't like it if you thought a person was interested, only to find out they didn't really want the job, would you?

That's why the best thing to do is to call or e-mail your contact person and cancel the interview. It's that simple.

"The employer may be disappointed at the loss of a potentially good candidate, but I promise you they won't be offended," says Mary Emmen, president of Columbia Heights-based NewHR, LLC (www.newhronline.com), a company that specializes in creating human resource solutions for small businesses. "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."

You will not find your contact at the company too upset when you call them and say, "Thank you for taking the time to consider me for this position, but I don't want to waste your time. I have decided to remove myself from consideration," says Eric Putkonen, who is responsible for all recruiting and staffing initiatives at Christopher & Banks, Inc. in Plymouth.

As Putkonen points out, it would be best to think about the commute before you apply for a position. But sometimes, you think a good job will override a lengthy commute, so that is understandable. Also, it's best not to mention you didn't like the person who interviewed you. Keep that to yourself, it just sounds unprofessional.

Emmen and Putkonen agree - canceling an interview or backing out of a job offer will not be seen as a lack of commitment and haunt you later if you decide to apply to a position at that company at a later time.

What would hurt you is not being honest, and wasting the employer's time.

"If you are not seriously considering the position or company, they would rather not interview you," says Putkonen.


Matt Krumrie has written and specialized in career advice for 10 years. He lives and works in the Twin Cities. Matt answers readers' questions every week; e-mail him at askmatt@startribune.com.
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