How to Decline an Interview: 5 Email Templates & Examples

So, you landed an interview, popped the champagne, did a little victory dance, and then… realized you needed to hit the brakes and send a “Thanks, but no thanks” message? Ouch, talk about plot twists!

But hey, life’s not just a rollercoaster; sometimes, it’s a whole theme park.

Dive in with me, and let’s turn that potentially awkward “no” into a masterclass of politeness.

We’ll keep it so classy that they’ll almost thank you for the decline.

Yep, you read that right.

Ready to become the Picasso of “decline an interview” emails and possibly make someone’s “polite email hall of fame”?

Buckle up, we’re diving in!

Why It's Essential to Communicate a Decline Properly

Navigating the professional world means understanding the nuances of communication. When you need to decline an interview, doing it the right way becomes crucial.

Think of it like this: if you send a hastily typed email that you are no longer interested in the job without much thought, it might backfire. Instead, when you communicate a decline properly, especially through a declining job interview email or even a turn down interview email, you preserve your professional reputation.

This act can be invaluable, especially when considering future opportunities with the same employer. Beyond this, sending a how to decline a job interview without burning bridges message ensures that you respect the time of the hiring manager and maintain an open door for future interactions.

In a world where every email and interaction counts, it’s essential to get these right, particularly when you’re turning down a job interview or declining a second interview. Remember, the professional world is small, and you never know when paths might cross again.

Turning Down an Interview Email
Turning Down an Interview Email

Key Points to Remember Before Sending a Decline Email

Before hitting send on that decline email, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure you maintain professionalism.

Declining an Invitation for a Job Interview
Declining an Invitation for a Job Interview

You’re not just sending a decline email for a job interview; you’re building or maintaining a relationship. Here are some vital points to consider:

Always be Timely

When it comes to professional correspondence, time is of the essence. It’s more than a mere etiquette; it’s a reflection of your commitment and respect. If you’ve decided on declining a job interview email or any other opportunity, it’s crucial to let the other party know as soon as possible.

Not only does this free up their schedule, but it also provides them with ample time to seek other potential candidates. Delaying such emails, like a turn down interview email, can come across as procrastination and may portray you as indecisive or inconsiderate.

Positivity is Key

Rejection, in any form, can be hard to digest. When you’re sending an email like how to decline an interview due to personal reasons, it’s vital to ensure that the tone remains positive.

This doesn’t mean you need to be overly enthusiastic, but a polite and gracious demeanor can go a long way. A touch of gratitude, a note of thanks, or simply appreciating the opportunity ensures that your email doesn’t dampen the recipient’s spirits.

Stay Concise but Clear

Clarity is essential, but so is brevity. Whether you’re turning down a job interview or declining a second interview, be clear about your reasons without diving into excessive details. Write a concise subject line that clearly states your message.

The goal is to inform the recipient without making them wade through paragraphs of explanations. For instance, if another opportunity aligns better with your career goals, mention this, but there’s no need to compare job roles, companies, or dive into intricate details.

Leave the Door Open

Every interaction, even a decline, is a stepping stone in your professional journey. So, when composing that declining job interview email, always express gratitude for the chance and convey an interest in keeping the communication channels open.

Who knows? Maybe a more fitting role might arise in the future, or perhaps paths might cross in other professional capacities. By expressing interest in future possibilities, you ensure that this decline doesn’t spell the end of a potentially beneficial professional relationship.

How to Decline an Interview Based on Various Scenarios

While you might have different reasons for taking this step, the essence remains the same: be polite and professional. Maybe you’re diving into how to decline an interview due to personal reasons, like unforeseen family commitments.

Personal Reasons

Life has its moments. Sometimes, you’re faced with situations where you must decline an interview due to personal reasons. Be it family emergencies, health concerns, or other commitments; it’s okay to prioritize personal over professional.

In these instances, a short and sweet email on how to decline an interview due to personal reasons should suffice. Remember, it’s okay to keep personal details minimal.

Here’s an email template:

Subject: Declining Interview Invitation for [Position Name]

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I’m truly honored to have been considered for the [Position Name] at [Company Name]. However, due to unforeseen personal circumstances, I must respectfully decline the interview invitation at this time.

I hope to have the opportunity to explore roles with [Company Name] in the future once my personal situation has stabilized.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

This template respectfully addresses unforeseen personal circumstances, emphasizing a continued interest in the company for the future. The tone is genuine and empathetic, making it a universally suitable response.

Accepted Another Offer

Congrats on landing another role! But now, you’ve got the task of crafting that email to decline a different job interview that’s awaiting. It’s a good problem to have. Simply express gratitude for the opportunity and mention that you’ve chosen a position that aligns more closely with your current career objectives.

Here’s an email template:

Subject: Grateful for the Opportunity – Next Steps for [Position Name]

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

Thank you deeply for offering me the chance to interview for [Position Name]. I wanted to inform you that I have accepted a position elsewhere that aligns closely with my current career objectives.

I’m genuinely thankful for the kindness and professionalism shown by the [Company Name] team. I look forward to possibly crossing paths in the future.

Best wishes,

[Your Name]

Here, gratitude is expressed for the opportunity, while transparently communicating the acceptance of another role. It maintains a professional and courteous tone, emphasizing a hopeful future interaction.

Sample interview decline letter after accepting another offer
Sample interview decline letter after accepting another offer

Role Doesn't Fit

We’ve all been there—realizing a job isn’t the right fit after getting an interview call. It’s alright to admit that the role doesn’t align with your career path. An email indicating how to respectfully decline an interview due to misalignment with your professional aspirations is apt.

Here’s an email template:

Subject: Re-Evaluation of [Position Name] Role

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

Thank you for considering me for the [Position Name]. After careful reflection, I believe the role might not align perfectly with my long-term career aspirations. Thus, I’ve decided to decline the interview invitation.

I truly appreciate the opportunity and hope to find a role that better aligns with both our needs in the future.


[Your Name]

This response is for when an applicant realizes that the job role might not align with their career aspirations. It’s direct but considerate, underlining respect for the company while communicating personal career goals.

Change of Heart

Yes, it happens. You’ve said yes and now need guidance on how to decline an interview after initially accepting it. It’s essential to be transparent but diplomatic. Let them know you’ve re-evaluated the position and, after careful consideration, have decided it isn’t the right move for you at this time.

Here’s an email template:

Subject: Update on Interview for [Position Name]

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I’m truly grateful for the invitation to interview for the [Position Name]. However, upon further reflection, I’ve decided it’s best for me to decline the interview at this time. I hope to remain in touch and explore future collaborations.

Thank you for understanding.


[Your Name]

For those moments when an applicant simply changes their mind, this template offers a respectful way to decline without diving deep into specific reasons, leaving room for future opportunities.

Relocation Concerns

You were open to relocating, but upon further introspection, maybe it’s not the right time to pack up and move. Navigating how to decline a job interview from a recruiter based in another city or country can be tricky.

Still, it’s essential to be honest about your reasons, whether they’re personal ties, financial concerns, or the realization that you’re just not ready for a big move.

Here’s an email template:

Subject: Reconsidering the [Position Name] Role

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

Thank you for considering me for the [Position Name]. While I was initially open to relocating, I’ve decided that now might not be the right time for such a move. I believe it’s in our best interests for me to decline the interview invitation.

I truly hope we can explore opportunities together in the future.


[Your Name]

Ideal for situations where an applicant has second thoughts about relocating for a job. The template clearly communicates the primary concern while ensuring the relationship remains positive.

Sample email rejecting an interview due to the job location
Sample email rejecting an interview due to the job location

Company Culture Mismatch

After doing a deeper dive into the company, you’ve found that the culture or values might not align with yours. This scenario calls for a delicate touch. Your declining job interview email should express gratitude and hint at the cultural misalignment without going into overly critical details.

Here’s an email template:

Subject: Decision on [Position Name] Interview

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I’m truly thankful for the opportunity to interview for [Position Name]. After some research and consideration, I feel there might be some misalignment in terms of company culture and my personal values. I believe it’s best for me to decline the interview at this time.

I value the relationship and look forward to potential future interactions.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

For instances where an applicant recognizes a potential mismatch in company culture and personal values, this template communicates this sensitive issue with grace and clarity.

Better Compensation Elsewhere

If you’re turning down an interview because another company is offering better compensation or benefits, tact is crucial. Instead of citing money directly, you might mention in your decline interview email that you’re pursuing a role that aligns more closely with your current needs and aspirations.

Here’s an email template:

Subject: Update Regarding [Position Name] Interview

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

Thank you for the invitation to interview for [Position Name]. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to pursue another role that more closely aligns with my current needs and aspirations.

I appreciate the time and energy the [Company Name] team invested in me. I hope our paths cross again in the future.

Best wishes,

[Your Name]

When another company offers a more lucrative package, this template provides a professional way to decline the interview without going into specifics about compensation, focusing on aligning “needs and aspirations.”

Sample email declining job interview due to salary offered
Sample email declining job interview due to salary offered

Overqualified for the Role

Upon further reflection, you might feel the role is not challenging enough or doesn’t utilize your full skill set. In this scenario, expressing how you feel the position doesn’t match your experience level while still showing appreciation for the opportunity can be effective.

Here’s an email template:

Subject: Thoughts on [Position Name] Interview

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

Thank you for considering me for the [Position Name]. After reflecting on the role’s requirements and my professional experience, I believe the position might not offer the challenge I’m seeking at this juncture. Thus, I’ve decided to decline the interview invitation.

I remain deeply appreciative and look forward to possibly collaborating in the future.

Kind regards,

[Your Name]

This is for those instances when an applicant realizes they might be overqualified. The response is honest and direct, ensuring the applicant’s expertise is clear while expressing gratitude and hope for future collaboration.

Underprepared or Need More Time

Maybe you feel you jumped the gun. You’re not yet ready for the role, or you wish to acquire additional training or experience first. Address this by stating you’re currently focusing on professional development and would be keen to explore opportunities with the company in the future.

Here’s an email template:

Subject: Decision Regarding [Position Name] Interview

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to interview for the [Position Name]. At this point, I believe I need a bit more time for professional development to fully take on such a role.

With that in mind, I’m opting to decline the interview now with hopes of reconnecting in the future when I’m better poised to contribute.

Thank you for understanding and for considering me.


[Your Name]

Perfect for when an applicant recognizes they need more time for personal or professional development. This template communicates self-awareness and a genuine interest in the role, indicating a hope to reapply in the future when more prepared.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Navigating the tricky terrain of declining an interview can sometimes lead to missteps. We’ve all heard tales of someone’s decline interview email coming off as too abrupt or the dreaded no longer interested in job email that burned bridges.

To help you avoid such pitfalls, here’s a rundown of some common mistakes to watch out for:

Sending a Late Response

It’s crucial to understand that on the other end of your email is a recruiter or hiring manager who’s juggling tasks and schedules. By delaying your response, you might inadvertently hold up the hiring process.

Additionally, a late reply can leave an impression of disorganization or disinterest, potentially influencing future interactions with the company. Always aim for a prompt reply, ideally within a day or two, to show your professionalism and consideration.

Being Too Vague

While discretion is important, an ultra-vague email can sometimes appear nonchalant or insincere. For instance, a generic “I’m pursuing other opportunities” without any context might leave the employer guessing or feeling undervalued.

A bit of context, such as a change in personal circumstances or a mismatch in role expectations, can add a touch of genuineness to your declining interview email, helping the receiver understand your perspective.


It’s the opposite end of the spectrum from being too vague. Sharing a detailed narrative of why you’re refusing the interview, complete with a step-by-step recounting of your decision-making process, can be burdensome for the reader.

Your email should give enough information to be clear and respectful but not so much that it feels like an overshare.

Using Negative Language

Negative comments or criticisms about the company, role, or recruitment process have no place in a professional email. Even if you’ve had a negative experience, it’s essential to keep the tone of your declining job interview email positive and neutral.

Constructive feedback can be shared in appropriate channels, but it’s best to keep it out of your email to maintain a good rapport.

Forgetting to Express Gratitude

Remember, the company chose you out of several candidates, a clear indication of their interest in your skills and experience. Overlooking the expression of gratitude can make your decline interview letter seem unappreciative. A simple thank you can go a long way in leaving a positive impression.

Burning Bridges

In your zeal to close one door, ensure you’re not locking it in the process. The same hiring manager you’re writing to now might cross your path in the future, in the same or even a different organization.

Using phrases like “I hope our paths cross again” or “I’d love to explore opportunities in the future” in your declining job interview email will keep the relationship cordial and doors open for future engagements.

Tips on How to Keep Doors Open for Future Opportunities

When you’re diving into the process of declining a job interview or sending that decline interview email, you might wonder how to ensure that bridge remains intact for future crossings.

Tips on how to politely decline a job interview
Tips on how to politely decline a job interview

After all, today’s declined offer might be tomorrow’s dream job scenario. So, let’s make sure you’re handling this like a pro, setting the stage for positive future interactions:

By weaving these tactics into your approach, you’re not just declining an offer, you’re cultivating a relationship. Remember, industries are small worlds, and today’s interactions shape tomorrow’s opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Decline an Interview Email

Dipping into the realm of sending decline interview emails, it’s only natural you’ve got questions buzzing in your head. After all, it’s a nuanced task, and you want to nail it without any hiccups. Let’s clear up some of the fog surrounding how to decline a job interview, shall we?

What’s the best timeframe to send a decline interview email?

Timing is everything. Ideally, you want to send your email rejecting the interview as soon as you’ve made your decision.

It shows respect for the company’s time and allows them to move forward with other potential candidates. Waiting too long can be perceived as inconsiderate and might jeopardize any positive impression you’ve made so far.

Can I change my mind after sending a decline email?

Yes, situations change. If you’ve turned down an interview and realize you might’ve been hasty, you can indeed reach out again. However, approach with caution.

Frame your email in a way that acknowledges your previous decision and explains the change in circumstances. While it’s not a guarantee they’ll reopen the door, being honest and sincere increases the odds.

How should I handle multiple interview offers at once?

If you’re in the envious position of juggling multiple offers, take a moment to evaluate each one. Don’t feel rushed to respond immediately. It’s okay to inform each company that you need a bit of time to consider your options.

When you’ve made your choice, and if you decide to decline one, your decline interview email should be gracious, appreciative, and leave no room for ambiguity. Remember, it’s not just about the present; you’re also setting the tone for potential future interactions.

Key Takeaways on How to Decline an Interview Email

Turning down an interview isn’t just about saying “no” – it’s an art form in itself.

Throughout our journey together, we’ve stressed the golden rule: communication is king. Sending out that polite, timely decline can truly shape how the professional world views you.

Keep it honest but stay graceful, and you’re already halfway there. And if ever you find yourself double-guessing a decline, remember that sincerity always wins.

Juggling multiple job offers? What a wonderful dilemma to have! But, it comes with the responsibility of handling each with consideration. Always remember, the way you decline today could pave the way for opportunities tomorrow.

So, the next time you’re faced with this task, think back to our chat, take a deep breath, and go make that great impression, even in refusal!

To achieve the best results with email outreach, we recommend using a professional email automation software

13 best cold email platforms rated and compared

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Edgar Abong

Edgar is a skilled software developer with a passion for building and evaluating software products. His expertise in software development enables him to provide in-depth evaluations of software products. He can draw out insights about features, functionality and user experience.

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