Is your skill set in high demand? If yes, you might find yourself invited to a job interview that doesn’t interest you and you might want to read up on how to decline an interview.
You want to say, “No,” but you don’t want to shut yourself off from future opportunities. Thus, it’s good to know how to decline an interview in a win-win way.
What Future Opportunities?
The invitation to interview provides you an open opportunity to forge a stronger connection with the recruiter and company reaching out to you. Even if you don’t like the company, the job, or the person, this matters because:
- Companies improve.
- There’s going to be another job. It might be perfect for you.
- Recruiters and hiring managers change employers. They might be at your dream company tomorrow.
How to Decline an Interview
Keep it simple:
“Thank you for thinking of me. I’m pretty engaged at Company X, but I do appreciate hearing about opportunities. Let’s see if I can help you find any candidates.”
Then use one of these approaches (listed in order of value):
- Introduce the recruiter to a great potential candidate(s).
- Confidentially give the recruiter the name of a great potential candidate(s).
- Ask yourself how you would source someone like you. Share your best idea(s).
- Introduce the recruiter to people you believe would be good sources.
- Confidentially share the name(s) of someone would be a good source.
(For another approach on how to turn down an interview, see the comment from Hope below — and please, share what has worked for you!)
Once You’ve Helped, Set the Future Up for a Win
Imagine a mutually positive future outcome and make some good luck by:
- Explaining what type of opportunity would interest you. Be reasonably realistic.
- Connecting with the recruiter on LinkedIn and other appropriate social networks.
- Providing a friendly offer to be helpful in the future.
Build Bridges, Don’t Burn Them
Take ten or 15 minutes to build your social capital. Make the investment. Your graciousness will resonate with people you help for the rest of your career.
Featured by: SmartBrief
Updated May 2019
© 2015 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, writes all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by leading business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, Smart Brief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse. Let her background and experience inform your job search strategy and decision making.