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How to Drop Out During the Job Interview Process


There are a lot of reasons why you might decide not to continue with the interview process, as a candidate: the role is no longer what you thought it would be, you have a huge conflict that’s just come up and you cannot make it to the interview, you have a job offer from a different company, etc. But how do you get out of an interview, without completely ruining your chances with the hiring manager or the recruiter?


(Photo Credit: Jesse Bowser/Unsplash)

First of all, consider whether it might still be a good idea to go.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

If you are unsure about the role or the details of the job and are therefore hesitant about going to the job interview, go anyway. Chances are, your fears will be assuaged and you will get a lot more clarity. Even if you don’t want the job, you’ll gain a bit more experience interviewing. You might even learn something about what hiring managers are looking for, in general.

You can always decline future follow-up interviews. The experience you gain from attending the interview will add to your skill sets and prepare you for future meetings.  

Still disinterested in continuing? Here’s how to drop out without tanking your chances at future job opportunities: 

1. Give advance notice.

If there is an unforeseen emergency and you cannot make it on the day of the interview, let your recruiter know as soon as possible. It is professional and the right thing to do. Your advance notice helps her manage her and the interviewer’s schedules. Even if you cannot share the exact details for your request for cancellation, be honest with your recruiter to the extent possible, so she understands the nature of your exigency.

2. Treat the interview process as a two-way street, even when leaving it.

Yes, you’re interviewing them, too. You’re trying to understand about the company, the role, and your team in your interviews. If you feel that it’s not going to be a good fit, you can withdraw from the process. When you explain why you’re pulling out, state clearly what you’re looking for and where you think this role may not be a fit. If you’re lucky and your initial conversation went great, you may be interviewed for another role in the company. Even if there is no other position, your explanation may show that you are indeed very clear about your career direction, which is a good thing.

3. Ask for feedback.

Even if the job does not work out, ask for feedback on the interview. As Shannon Sweeny writes at Monster, “It (feedback) can be a game-changer when it comes to your professional success. Especially if you are at the beginning of your career, you can learn tons of valuable information from these conversations.” If you ask for feedback even when you are not interested, it shows that you respect the process and their time, and are eager to learn from your experience.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever gotten out of an interview you didn’t want to do? What did you do? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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