By | Stav Ziv | www.themuse.com
When a recruiter emails and invites you to interview for a job, your split-second reaction can range from “YESSSSS” to “ugh.” The “YESSSSS” next steps are pretty straightforward: You respond, schedule it, prepare for it, and shine bright like a diamond. The “ugh” route is murkier. Because, honestly, the interview could be great practice. If you’re hesitant because you think you’re underqualified, or overqualified, or not that into it, or that the pay may not be quite right—why not Shonda Rhimes it, i.e. just say yes, and consider it prep for the “YESSSSS” interviews?
Time. Time is often the reason. You’re busy, we get it. But what do you say? Is there, possibly, a way to say not now…but leave the door open? Yes, reader, there is. And it’s pretty simple.
Here, we’ll unpack why it’s OK to decline an interview and not feel an ounce of guilt over it. Then we’ll help you pen your response email (with templates). Exhale. Let’s go:
Answer: When you sense, deep in your gut, that it’s not the way. But if you want help putting words to your instincts—or calming yourself with a few additional reasons it’s really allowed—try these:
You’ve accepted another job offer.
Yep, you’re a hot commodity and hiring managers know it. Someone else got to you first, with a sweet offer you gladly accepted. But you haven’t shared *some personal news* on social yet, so other companies may still trickle into your inbox. Below, we’ll share a template that conveys your current status in a respectful way.
You’ve turned up too many deal breakers.
Could be that the recruiter goes months between emailing you, or you learn that employees are working around the clock. “If you’ve come across [multiple] red flags in the application or initial interview process, trust your gut and decline,” says Muse career coach Heather Yurovsky, founder of Shatter & Shine, whose coaching focuses on resumes and interview prep.
The org doesn’t align with your vision.
Muse career coach Yolanda Owens often has clients who hear back about a job they applied to months ago—when they were “applying to anything and everything”—but who’ve since started weeding out lower-priority opps. Perhaps you’ve realized you’re competitive for more senior-level roles, or you’ve otherwise pivoted your search, says Owens, founder of CareerSensei Consulting and a former recruiter. It may make sense to have a conversation to keep the door open, but if you’re gaining traction elsewhere, keep moving forward.