I know what you’re thinking. We’re still in a recession or something, right? Why on earth would you turn down a job interview? But the truth is, people are liars, and sometimes jobs are not what they seem. Maybe you thought you were applying for one type of position, and after a phone interview discovered it was something completely different. Maybe it’s something you like but too far away/crappy benefits/something else legitimate. Whatever the reason, sometimes you need to take yourself out of the running.
Firstly, you need to figure out whether you actually want to cancel, and there are different schools of thought. Ask A Manager says if you’re 100% sure you don’t want the job (and let’s assume this is after a phone interview or something where you know they’re interested and you’ve gotten more information than whatever the initial job posting says), you shouldn’t take the interview, as you’re taking an interview slot away from someone who may really want it, and wasting both your and the interviewer’s time. However, Forbes says you should still go, because it may be an opportunity for networking or just practicing your interview skills, or the job may surprise you. We can’t make that decision for you.
If you do decide to cancel, first, be prompt. As soon as you know it’s not right for you, say something. It’s just a lot nicer than calling an hour before your interview and saying “you know what? Sorry.” And if possible, do this over the phone, though honestly most correspondence is done over email these days. Finally, be honest about your reasons, though you don’t have to go into a lot of detail. Sometimes the reasons are concrete (you’re moving far away), and sometimes they’re not (you just don’t think it’s a good fit).
You can say so about either of these things. If it’s more on the side of “it’s just not what I’m looking for,” use your email/phone call as an opportunity to educate them as to why. Once, I interviewed for a job that would pay a lot, but it was “freelance” pay so I would have had to pay all the taxes, and there was no health insurance or paid vacation/sick time. I tried to negotiate on this to no avail. Once I decided that I wanted to cancel our schedule in-person interview, I emailed them, thanking them for the opportunity, but that “upon further review of the position and compensation” it wasn’t the right fit for me. Hopefully they were able to pick up on the fact that you’d need to pay someone a hell of a lot more than what they were offering if there was no health insurance.
Have you ever turned down an interview? Did you ever go to an interview only to find the office/person/job to be absolutely ridiculous? Tell us!