How To Withdraw From An Interview Process & Still Look Professional

If you want to withdraw from an interview process, here’s what you should know. Firstly, this happens a lot. You aren’t alone. This is a fairly common occurrence when a professional is interviewing at multiple job openings and decides to go with one of the companies versus the other. And so that you don’t waste the other companies time, you decide you want to width raw yourself from the process. Totally okay!

In order to withdraw from the interview process, there are a few things we need to take into consideration. The first is why you are deciding to withdraw. Check with yourself and ensure you are making the right decision before you send an email or make a phone call to the hiring manager. Decide if your decision making is sound or if it is potentially emotionally driven. Emotionally driven may mean that the hiring manager said something that indirectly struck you as improper or hurtful. If you read news that made you change your mind about the company overnight. If you decided that you wanted to change career paths randomly. All of these would be slightly emotional in their colocations and wouldn’t allow factual evidence to be presented that allowed you to make a good decision for your livelihood.

If none of those things seem to be your situation and you feel as though this simply isn’t a good fit, then it’s time to withdraw. Generally speaking, the steps to withdraw in the perfect scenario looks like this:

  • Catch the hiring manager before you are given multiple interviews with other members of the staff.
  • Show appreciation for the opportunity that’s been presented to you.
  • Be polite, don’t unintentionally be hurtful by bragging about the other company you decided to go with.
  • Send thank you emails to all of the staff members you spoke with, thanking them for their time and attention.
  • Ensure you are not “burning a bridge” or leaving the hiring process with a negative connotation towards your personal image.

Withdrawing from an interview by email (with sample)

When you want to look professional about your withdraw, you have to be upfront about the fact that you are causing the hiring manager and other members of the staff some inconvenience. Showing them that you understand that and that you are sorry about it, is going to go a long way. If you are sending an email to the hiring manager, consider something like the following:

[Hiring Manager]—

I apologize for doing this last minute but I have decided to go another route in my job search. I sincerely appreciate the time and effort you and the team has put into providing me this wonderful opportunity. I am sincerely honored. I understand I may be inconveniencing you, slightly. For that, I am sorry.

Thank you for the understanding and the opportunity to interview with such a world-class team.

[Your name]

From this email you can see a few methods which are very important to recognize. We were sincere. We kept our reasoning for why we decided to withdraw very short. We did not use any emotional reasons for the withdraw. We provided a lot of respect for the opportunity. We recognized that we are inconveniencing the hiring manager to some degree and showed appreciation for their flexibility and their understanding.

After that, there’s very little chance that the hiring manager or other members of the staff can be disgruntled with you. It is natural and human nature to make a decision. Whether it is for another company or not, you don’t need to bring that up in the email for withdrawing. Keep it short, keep it sweet, keep it honorable. You want to leave the interview process with a strong outlook from the rest of the staff members and the hiring manager. Because you never know what could happen in life, you could end up being back at this same company next year.

Some mistakes to avoid in withdrawing yourself as a candidate

There’s plenty of horror stories as it relates to withdrawing from an interview and impacting your personal brand. But here’s what I can say you should avoid at all costs:

  • Don’t give long reasons for your withdraw.
  • Try to withdraw sooner than later.
  • Don’t disrespect the company you decided not to go to.
  • Don’t disrespect the hiring manager, regardless of their potential email responses.
  • Don’t do nothing at all and simply not show up to your scheduled interviews.

Don’t make those common mistakes. Ensure that once you’ve made up your mind, you immediately reach out to the hiring manager. If you’ve already interviewed a number of members of the staff and have decided to pass on the job opportunity, that’s okay too! The same email template will work.

I would recommend that you don’t make a phone call to the hiring manager. Because this will open up opportunities for them to pry and ask questions related to the reason you decided to pass on the job opportunity. And in that conversation, you might accidentally show more emotion than you should. Stick to email, it’s the simplest way to cut the cord quickly and efficiently without the stress of having a long conversation.

This happens to everyone at some point and time

Realize that this happens to everyone. In fact, many professionals will withdraw from a job interview right up until their start date. If this is the case, the same email template I provided above will work for you. You can sign any employment letter you want until you actually start your job, you can decide to pass on it. That’s what most employers won’t tell you, for obvious reasons. Of course, the later in the process you are, the more chance there is that the hiring manager or human resources department may become more upset with how you handled the situation. To an extent, there’s no way to mitigate the risk of this 100%. But you have to do what’s right for you. As long as you show your appreciation and support for the companies missions, others will understand that you had a moment of reflection and decided this path wasn’t the right one for you.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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