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I have been working for a company for less than 6 months. My team in office had a warning from management that there may be a layoff. So I was applying for all kinds of jobs mostly relevant to my current profile.

I got a call from a big MNC in my field for an interview for a post. I immediately said yes and told them to send an email. But for two reasons, I am not going of taking the interview.

  1. The management of current team told me there will be no layoffs.
  2. The profile of the job is a different from my current job and I don't want to switch jobs too often within a short period of time.

How should I say no politely?

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Within how long did your current employer magically turnaround to announce a reprieve on the layoffs? –  kolossus Dec 5 '12 at 5:22
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I would also add that participating in an interview process is good practice and learning. You may or may not be a good fit for that position but getting more information rather than less is often welcome. My two cents. –  David Dec 5 '12 at 10:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 50 down vote accepted

Cancelling is easy. You call the person who set up the interview (phone is better than email unless most of the interview arrangements were done by email) and say "Thanks very much for your invitation, but my circumstances have changed and I'm no longer interested in interviewing for this position right now". Don't worry, your recruiter has this happen all the time. If they ask for more reasons give as much or as little of the details as you feel comfortable.

However...

Are you sure you want to cancel this? Your current company went from 'no layoffs' to 'layoffs' and back to 'no layoffs' in a few weeks. Who is to say it won't change again? The company is clearly in the verge of instability. If I were you I would at least check out this other company. Maybe the job is exactly what you are looking for, with better pay and benefits? You won't know unless you check it out. One or two short jobs aren't going to be a problem if you have good reasons for the move - and the threat of layoffs is a good reason.

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+1 for that second paragraph. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Dec 5 '12 at 16:35
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+1. Yes, you are ultimately in charge of your career not your employer. Go to the interview and have a good talk/chat (it's good practice), you can always politely decline afterwards if you decide to stay. –  Spoike Dec 6 '12 at 8:19

If a company is threatening layoffs less than six months after you were hired, it could be one of three things:

  • The company is in a highly volatile sector, where cash flows experience extreme fluctuations. If this is the case, should you manage to keep your position, you can expect similar cycles of personnel changes. Expect to spend a lot time mentoring and dealing with extra workload as new employees come up to speed.
  • The management of this company may be challenged when it comes to forecasting and strategic planning. They may tend to be more reactive than proactive, which could explain the need to layoff employees so close to bringing recent hires onboard.
  • They could just be experiencing a temporary downturn of business or cash flow. In either case, the operating budget may need to be adjusted in order to compensate. This may result in fewer perks, less money available for supplies and business-related expenses, and a decrease in employee morale, as people hear the word "No" more often than they used to.

You never know what the new company has to offer you, unless you hear them out. It costs you absolutely nothing, except the time you spend with them on the phone or in person. At the very worst, you get to practice your interview skills. You get to ask whatever questions you want, because, as far as you're concerned, you have a job to go back to if you don't like what you hear. I would keep the interview, but, with as much professionalism as you can muster, make them sell you on why you should leave a seemingly sure thing for an unknown. As an employee, this is one of the few times you actually get to be in the driver's seat, so enjoy the ride...

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As with what was said by 'DJClayworth' I'd agree that cancelling is easy. Especially if the contact was with a recruiter and not the manager looking to hire. But unless you have a really strong reason/tie to your current company (of 6 months) I would suggest going to the interview for several reasons as listed below.

  1. Companies big and small don't always describe the open job position very well. They often list everything they can think of that they 'want' a new employee to know or be able to do. Which often isn't the case. Just because a posting/listing doesn't sound like it fits your specific skills doesn't mean you wouldn't be a great fit. Phone interviews can only cover so much and an in-person followup interview can often help give you a much clearer picture of the job and the people you will be working with.

  2. Even if you love your currently company and have no desire to leave I feel it is a sound decision to do anywhere from 1-4 interviews a year with other companies in your industry, this not only helps you keep your interview skills up just in-case something bad were to happen. It also allows you to see what is available in the industry, most notably your current salary and benefits.

  3. It is often a good indication of where technology in your industry is moving. Unless your in a bleeding edge industry this can help you see what skills employers currently hiring are looking for. Allowing you to do your own research along those line which can help you personally as well as your current or new employer.

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