More than a year ago I was looking for a job and after accepting an offer, I received an invitation to interview with another company (1st round of a typically two rounds process). It was my first contact with them after sending my application. This came at a time when I was quite busy sorting the move, finding a flat, furnishing it, etc, and I completely forgot to politely decline the invitation. It was not a priority, but regardless I consider the polite thing to do do would be reply declining the offer. In effect I forgot / ignored them.

Shall I contact the company to apologize for my oversight? What are the odds that they keep track of former applications?

I only noticed their un-replied email this week while looking for an unrelated email in my email box. I would normally brush it off, but:

  • the sector I work in is quite small, and it is possible that in future, medium term, I might apply again.
  • it's a small sector, and even though I am not a household name, people know people.
  • The interview (skype) would be at a very high level with the CEO, CSO and head of division. (It's a small company)
  • Doesn't ghosting imply ignoring multiple rounds of attempted contact? (i.e. not just failing to reply to a single email) Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 9:57
  • You are right @JacobHorbulyk. Ghosting is too strong of a word. I will edit the question. Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 20:19
  • @JoeStrazzere: This would not be legal in the EU (and, I hope, in other developed countries).
    – guest
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 21:06
  • @JoeStrazzere: Of course -- by GDPR you are not allowed to hold personal data longer as neccessary - it would be hard to argue why keeping applications of non-employees should be kept on file for years. Is it different in other countries?
    – guest
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 11:45
  • 1
    Good point @guest, I had completely forgotten about that and I confirm this JoeStrazzere. I live in Germany and therefore it is likely that the company erased my application completely. It is possible that they would have keep emails, but who knows. Commented Jul 26, 2020 at 11:51

4 Answers 4


If it was essentially your oversight and a whole year has passed, I think I would just let sleeping dogs lie and hope they've forgotten your name by now.

It's old fashioned to imagine an employer (or his secretary) writing out a letter by hand, to a candidate they might realistically foresee retaining in a job for life, and holding a grudge for non-response.

Everyone knows emails today are flying around like a blizzard, and it would be extremely petty for the employer to have inferred (and also recorded, and recalled at the time of your later application) anything adverse from non-response to one interview request, months or years prior.

  • 8
    Agreed, and I think the time component is key. If this was last week, sure, get in touch. A year ago? They will have forgotten. Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 23:13

I think you've answered this yourself because you've listed only positive reasons to contact them. Try something short, pleasant, and light on excuses: "Hi. Sorry I missed your email while I was preparing for employment at another company. I hope you found a great candidate."


With my experience in hiring, at a medium-sized company. Interviews were covered by so many people and we read/sent out follow-ups to so many people we would never have remembered one not answered. The only thing that would remember is our hiring software that remembered people by email address.


I once did this (one of the top-5 embarrassing things I've done in my life). I actually ghosted a job offer many years ago because I felt uncomfortable about it. A few years later, my company at the time actually merged with the company I ghosted.

I took the opportunity to apologize in person to the manager in question. He basically just shrugged, didn't care/remember.

In light of my experience, I recommend that you not bother contacting the company to apologize for the oversight.

  • This doesn't answer the OP's scenario nor does it match their situation. Therefore, this is more commentary than an answer.
    – user82352
    Commented Jul 26, 2020 at 22:51
  • 2
    I am pretty envious if this made it into the top 5 of the embarrassing things in your life.
    – guest
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 12:02

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