Not Feeling the Job? Here’s How to Politely Decline

It’s more common than you think. You’re searching for jobs online and come across a post. It sounds exciting and aligned to your experience, so you applied. Then, the clock starts ticking. Sometimes it might be even weeks until a recruiter circles back and contacts you for an interview. As you re-read the role and requirements, you realize it’s not the right role for you, even though you like the company. Here’s how to turn down the interview with the hiring manager without burning a bridge.

Of course, some might argue that you should never turn down an interview. Each interview, at a minimum, provides an opportunity to practice and network. However, one in the hand isn’t always worth two in the bush. Moving forward with the job interview process is a waste of time and resources you could use trying to find another, more suitable position.

You might not be right for that position, but another role could open up at any time. Stay on the best terms with the recruiter by gracefully declining. The more open doors in your job search, the better.

Dear [Hiring Manager],

Thank you for the opportunity to interview for the [position] at [company]. After re-reading the position’s roles and responsibilities, I would like to withdraw my application. [Company] is a fantastic company who promotes a unique team-driven environment – something I would very much want to one day be a part of. I am sure you will find the ideal candidate to fill your need for [primary function of role].

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to review my application.

Best Regards,


When sending your letter, make sure to be prompt. Most industries are small worlds and hiring managers and recruiters have long memories. Responding courteously and quickly will help ensure that a door is left open for future opportunities.

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