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How to Drop Out from a Job Interview

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

It is always tough getting a job and sometimes you could be called for an interview for a position that does not fit your long-term career goals. There are always reasons to attend the interview, either because it gives you interview practice or sometimes meeting decision-makers and interviewers, gives you better insight into the company and the job responsibilities that could make you change your mind. So it may not be a bad idea to entirely turn down the opportunity to attend an interview. And even if you do, it is perfectly fine to drop out midway when you are convinced the company, the job role, or the pay is not for you.

But there are a few things you should do before you make the final decision.

Do Not Rush

It is important not to jump to conclusions after one round of interview, even though it may have given you a clear thought to "run away from this place". You could be probably right.

Pay close attention to potential issues along the way. You can also go through the interview rounds as practice and interview experience. The best outcome would be, you could land an employment offer. You can then make your final decision if you want to drop out or proceed with your acceptance. Reflect on your motivations for dropping out before you follow through on it. Make a list of the pros and cons. It could be the company, the reporting manager, the job responsibilities, the salary, the team, the travel, the hours, etc.

Get Trusted Feedback

A few years ago, I was going back and forth about a role I was interviewing for—and no matter what I did, I couldn’t figure out how I felt about the company or the job itself. I had even heard stuff about the company which got e concerned.

Eventually, I realized I needed to speak to someone I trusted about my situation.

For me, getting a chance to say the things I was thinking out loud to another human being was a great way for me to process all the information I had. It is also a great way to answer a lot of the questions you have about fitting in at this potential organization. In my case, after I told someone about what I had learned about a particular company, she responded by saying, “Dinesh, you would go insane at that job. Why are you even considering it?”

Let the Hiring Manager Know ASAP if You’re Pulling Out

There is nothing wrong with deciding that you don't want the job that you haven’t finished interviewing for—but once you make that decision, don’t sit around. And don’t overthink!

A simple email that doesn’t go into a whole lot of detail will suffice. If you think you will ever want to reach out to this person again or apply for a role a few years in the future, make sure to personalize it. Especially if you’re a few rounds in, multiple people have invested time in meeting with you and you want to leave the door open for any future opportunities.

Here’s a template you can use:

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I would like to thank you for taking the time to consider me for the [position you’re interviewing for.] I have truly enjoyed meeting with you and discussing [a specific you spoke about]. However, I have decided to go in a different direction at this time.

I look forward to [seeing the product we discussed go live / continuing to follow the company’s success / watching the CEO speak at that conference/anything that would give you a reason to reach out in the future if needed.]

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Best Regards, [Your Name] [Your Number]

In an ideal world, you’d only go to interviews for jobs that you’d be excited to take. However, the reality is that you will probably end up sitting in conference rooms, talking about positions that don’t interest you right now. That’s OK!

Rather than writing off this interview as a worthless meeting, think of it instead as an opportunity. You not only got practice speaking to strangers (always valuable), but if you play your cards right, you might make a new connection in your field.

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