A good rule of thumb for any job hunter deciding to decline an interview from a potential employer is to ensure that they do not wish to remain a viable candidate any longer for that company. Recruiters track candidacy, communications, resume information and activities within an applicant tracking system, both positive or negative. The short answer is if you want to decline an interview request, don’t expect that company to want to consider you any longer for future roles. They will most likely blacklist. My advice is to go on any interview, even jobs you would not consider. Why? Practice.
Interviewing is a game and you need to practice. If you want a job at Google, do you think your first interview should be with Google, your main targeted company? I would rather have it be my 10th, so I have a solid understanding of what answers to utilize. What worked well? When did I not shut up in time? How many more projects can I create anecdotes for?
Some common reasons to decline the interview are likely to revolve around that candidates match to the job. Maybe it’s for a company that hires anyone with a pulse, like mortgage firms or insurance sales? Maybe it’s for a federal job or public service and the job seeker wants strictly corporate or private work. Maybe it’s a full time job and you only want to work part time, or it’s a brick and mortar role and you want remote. Maybe they have a bad reputation online or in the news? There are probably several hundred more reasons, people are people.
I think your best approach to decline the interview is to be honest and attempt to leave the door open still without being blacklisted. Approach them personably, professionally and politely. Let them know that you are so enthused to even be considered and appreciative of their opportunity and willingness to speak with you, but that you do not feel this is the right fit for what you’re currently looking to do. Maybe suggest someone you (and they) would think could be a fit. It’s nice to show them that you’re semi-remorseful and willing to spend a few extra minutes thinking about anyone you know that could be a match.
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