If I've agreed to do a final interview where the company is flying me out, but I've decided that the company is not a fit for me and that I am certain to reject any offers. This company has been very proactive and bought my ticket within a week of my initial confirmation. I am not sure if I should go.

I've seen multiple perspectives for general situations, but what is ethical to do in this situation? They have already confirmed the final interview and paid for the fares.

I am currently interviewing with other companies and have no offers.


7 Answers 7


Trying to cancel the interview, at best, will leave a bad impression with the organization that paid for the flights. While flights are rarely expensive, they are probably not refundable. If they are paying for accommodation, transfers from the airport or something else, it could add up.

I would fly out there, have the interview and treat it as interview practice. If you and that organization choose to go your separate ways afterwards, this is something the interviewing organization has likely considered.

Be open minded. There is a possibility you might like what you see. If you have concerns, make sure to (respectfully) ask about those. Alternatively, if you fly out there, have the interview/see the office/meet the people and still do not like it, you now have a much more informed opinion.

  • 8
    Can confirm. At job right now that I originally thought was just going to be a practice interview. Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 17:30
  • Akton, your answer makes sense. But, what does one do when one must cancel the interview, regardless of how good the company/work might turn out to be ? Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 1:10
  • @BoratSagdiyev Try to reschedule if you can. If you must cancel the interview, be prompt and respectful. The earlier you cancel, the earlier they can line up another candidate or free up their senior people.
    – akton
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 6:48

If you are absolutely certain that no matter what will happen on that interview, you will not take the offer, then by all means cancel that interview.

Yes, they already paid in advance. But by actually interviewing you they will pay a lot more in terms of time of their employees. Compared to the cost of HR and business people scheduling time for your interview, the airline tickets and hotel costs are peanuts.

I don't see anything ethical about lying to them to have them waste their time (and yours).

  • As a university student, the career center had a policy of no backing out of an accepted offer. The policy helped encourage employers to post knowing students would be serious in the job hunt. In that case I did cancel so that I did not waste any more of the interviewing company's money than I already had
    – adeady
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 17:37

Somewhat rude not to give them a chance to convince you to work for them instead, but not unethical. That's part of how the process works.

Companies have found that it's often cheaper on average to buy a non-refundable airline ticket and risk losing the money if plans change, than to pay the surcharge for a fully cancelable ticket. They made the decision when they booked the ticket for you or told you they'd only pay for a nonrefundable; they will grumble but accept it if you can't use the ticket due to emergencies of various kinds.

If the ticket is even partly refundable -- ie, if you can trade it in for a discount on a future flight, so it still has value -- talk to the company about how to make sure that value returns to them. Failing to do this would be unethical.

  • I agree. A good recruiter will still want a chance to address the issue or if they see fit, can cancel it for you.
    – user8365
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 14:04

I'm assuming you've been through multiple stages to get where you are now, so there must be things about the role that are appealing, even if you don't think it's a fit.

Interviewing is a two way thing, if they have concerns they will ask you about them, and you should do the same. Make a list, go to the final meet, and ask. Maybe they will respond in a way that does make it a fit, great. If not you can be sure you made the right choice.

If you were flat out sure this was a non-starter, the answer would be easy no matter the cost, so I'd go and see what they say about your concerns.


Another option is to give them the choice. Tell them you now feel there would not be a good fit, and are unlikely to accept any offer they might make.

If they want to go ahead with the interview, go and try to keep an open mind. Having agreed to the interview, you owe them the opportunity, if they want to take it, to try to convince you.

If they prefer to cancel, that saves them the time they would have spent interviewing, and any travel expenses they can recover.


I think it would be highly unethical to cancel the meeting. You entered an agreement - albeit not legally binding - that you would show up on a certain date and they would do all in their power to impress you. The specifics for the trip were probably drawn up months if not years in advance, and everything will be expected to run on a very tight schedule. All kinds of security arrangements have been set up just for you and others like you. If you cancel the ticket, its definitely going to cost the company money if they refund it.

I am, of course, talking about the company you are flying with. When it comes to ethics, everyone has an opinion.


Bite the bullet. State you reasons why you will not be turning up.

Why waste more of there money? Whey will have to fork out the interviewers time.

I am sure this is the best outcome for both you and the company.

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