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I have a friend who had a job interview. She did really well and the company invited her back for a second interview in a voice mail she got. However, the salary range they told her was lower than what she was looking for in her first interview.

Furthermore, the type of work she would be doing wasn't exactly what she wanted to do. Therefore, how should she go about rejecting this 2nd interview without burning any bridges? She doesn't want to do the job.

After all, there could be other opportunities (albeit slim) at the company that may open up in the future, but she really doesn't want to take this job if she is given an offer after this second interview due to the low pay and work that isn't ideal to her.

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Honesty pays off. Politely decline the invitation for the next interview and state the reasons why. Thank the interviewers for their time and consideration, and leave the door open for future contact later. It's important to stop the process now if the job offer won't be taken so the company doesn't waste their time and resources looking at someone who would never take the position.

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    Amen! As an interviewer I'd really appreciate a candidate telling us that he or she isn't interested in continuing the process. Why waste everyone's time if either party has decided that the job and candidate are not good fits? – Jim In Texas Oct 17 '12 at 20:44
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    Agreed, there's nothing untoward about saying you are no longer interested due to salary being offered and more info about the job. – Joshua Aslan Smith Oct 17 '12 at 21:02
  • @JimInTexas: because if everyone did that the unemployment rate would be closer to 50%....not good fits get hired all the time, where both parties know it. – Greg McNulty Oct 17 '12 at 22:27
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    Make sure you phrase the decline to leave them an opportunity to invite you for a second interview if they can find more money. – DJClayworth Oct 17 '12 at 23:33
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    @GregMcNulty - If your organization is hiring poor fits 'all the time', then you folks have really serious problems. – Jim In Texas Oct 19 '12 at 0:45
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Saying "no" to a second interview is not burning bridges.

She can simply say that her salary expectations were higher than what was offered and that the work did not match what she is looking for. This can be done politely and on the note that if the company, in the future, will again be looking for someone with her skill, they should contact her.

This actually avoids wasting the time of the company as well - they will not want to continue interviewing someone who is not going to accept and it is better for this information to come out early.

Don't forget that this works both ways - a company can also say no after the first interview, and your friend would rather know sooner rather than later (as for listing why - a company has more of a legal issue in this regard and may not be able to divulge the information).

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    Saying "no" doesn't burn bridges - it's how you say "no" that might. – alroc Oct 19 '12 at 14:38
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    For that matter, even saying "yes" the wrong way burn bridges. – corsiKa May 19 '15 at 21:35
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"I have a friend" questions! ....wink wink! haha

First, you have to understand one thing:

It's business - not personal.

From this perspective, you can make better decision that are more beneficial to you and the perspective company.

First, it sounds like there are a few different conflicting ingredients floating around here, that when looked at separately don't taste well - but lets stir them together and see what we have here!

To start, it seems like there is an underlying issue here with the salary and that if the pay was more - all this would probably be over looked, am I right? So, before turning it down, is there a reasonable salary you would be happy with that they might entertain? It sounds like at this point, you don't have anything to loose, so before totally closing this doors and walking away from it, try to negotiate a higher salary, if you can properly justify it. However, the second interview would be required before you can do this, you don't want to put the cart before the horse on salary negotiations, timing is very important.

Secondly, you state that she (wink, wink) does not currently have any other offer. If money is important to you, you might need to go to the second interview to keep this opportunity! However, if you are absolutely sure a better job will come along and that you can financially wait, etc - then this may not be necessary.

The next ingredient, you can state your intent that you would like to create a career plan within the company, from this position to end up at another position in the future. For example, during tester position interviews, we let them know that it is OK to use this position as a stepping stone and as long as you "put in your time". So if the position you are interviewing for has this type of flavor, it may be worth while to discuss this.

Furthermore, you mention turning down the second interview without burning any bridges...which is a red flag. Why would you really care about burning bridges if you have no desire at all to work there? To me it says you still have some inclination that for some reason you may still end up working there or near this group. With that said, I would go to the second interview for the sake of making a good impression, even though you know you may not accept the offer. This way you fulfilled all their interview requirements and did not shut them down too soon. When you get the offer you can say that you accepted another offer but if it doesn't work out would love the opportunity to be considered for the position again. As awkward as it sounds, it is the nature of business - I have seen people leave for better jobs and the boss himself says if it doesn't work out we would love to have you back! Crazy, I know.

In conclusion, you need to take these ingredients together and see what the whole picture is for you and remember: it's business, not personal.

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    Erm, did you obtain the rights to use all of these pictures here? I would normally assume people were using pictures they had rights to, but the last one in particular explicitly requires right to be obtained from cartoonstock. – Mark Booth Oct 19 '12 at 13:31
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    @MarkBooth - The image isn't being reproduced. In that question the copyrights are clearly indicated. – Donald Oct 19 '12 at 13:57
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    @Ramhound - The image has been copied to the stack exchange imagur site. From the cartoonstock FAQ: I want to use one of your cartoons on my blog, social networking site or in forum posts - is this possible? To use an image from our collection on a non-commercial blog or social networking site (not for commercial gain, for a period of one year where the URL is part of a blog or a personal page of a social networking site), this will fall into our License Category 2a (more information about this license) – Mark Booth Oct 19 '12 at 14:14
  • @MarkBooth: I did not upload them to this site, I used the link option to display... – Greg McNulty Oct 22 '12 at 1:15
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    For reference see What should I do when I see copyright violations posted on Stack Overflow? and What is proper etiquette when someone posts copyrighted material?. I'll know to just edit out the offending meterial and flag the post in the future rather than engaging in debate. – Mark Booth Oct 22 '12 at 9:59
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I would suggest that she politely declines the job, state her reasons and they may be willing to accomidate her if they were their first pick. Otherwise it leaves a less sour taste in the mouth of the company if she flat out says no without any real reason.

I do have to ask though, did they misrepresent the job? Or when she suggested a salary did they take the low ball offer or did they completely ignore it, because it may really be something to think about as well. She may want to try working for the company, but if they can't be honest is it a place she thinks she may enjoy working if she took a job there in the first place?

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she really doesn't want to take this job

Does she currently have a job and is looking for the better opportunity? Or is she out of a job and looking for a new one?

This is very important. The saying goes "It's easier to get a job when you already have one." If she's out of the job, take it, but keep looking, ESPECIALLY if the job is in the field where she's looking to be hired in. (Correct me if I'm wrong here) HR likes looking at applications where the individual already has a job because that takes speculation off of whether or not you're "hireable"; some other company has already done the leg work to find whether or not you can perform similar tasks.

Another question would be is what is her experience in the field, what is her past salary, and what is her asking salary. Sometimes, it's the individual whose salary expectation is a little off compared to their current level of expertise and experience. It may even be possible that a little 'Reality Check' is in order?

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