A month ago, I was encouraged by a friend to apply for a different position within our corporation. It's a parallel move to a rather different career track within IT (databases instead of application development), and a little more of a stretch to consider me given my background, but not something that I'm completely unqualified for.

I applied and was offered an opportunity to apply, and scheduled for an interview in three days. However, I have given in a great deal of thought and now have changed my mind. (I don't feel that the reasons are really relevant, nor would I be bringing most of them up to either my current management or the hiring team. My manager does already know that I applied for and am seriously considering changing teams.)

I would like to back out of the consideration process in the most professional way possible. I'm not sure how to do this.

  • Thank them for their time but decline the interview.
  • Go to the interview, be cheerful and winning, and at the end thank them in person for their time but I don't think I'm the right fit for the job.
  • Go to the interview, be cheerful and winning, and email them a day or so later to thank them for their time (etc.)

What are the pros and cons of these approaches? Am I missing another alternative?

3 Answers 3


If you are certain that you aren't interested and nothing they might say will change your mind, tell them you appreciate their interest but have decided not to pursue this opportunity at this time. No point in wasting anyone's effort. If you are interested, you might ask them if you could just talk to them and learn more about the project at some point.

If there's a chance you might be interested after learning more I'd say tell them that you may be making other plans but would still like to talk to them, and give them a chance to change your mind. You might have been right the first time.


Once you got the invite to the interview, you should go through with it, otherwise you will come across as indecisive and wishy washy. Give it an honest effort, do your best and carefully and thoughtfully analyze the new position.

If you still come to the conclusion, that it's not for you, then let them know either directly after the interview or the very next day, BEFORE they do data integration or starting to get into the offer phase.

Be honest and polite and do it face to face with the hiring manager. Somthing like this: "Thank you very much for the opportunity to interview for position XYZ on your team. This has given me much more insight what the role entails and how I would fit in. Unfortunately, I have concluded that this is not a good fit for me at this time, because . Thank you so much for your time and I'm sorry that it didn't work out this time. I hope we can stay in touch"


IF you adapted your 3rd option to give your answer after offer of a job then:

  • Do the interview, then withdraw upon offer:
    • Benefits: You will get feedback on your interview technique, your CV, areas where you would need to develop to be good at the job (knowledge gaps) and you are not under a obligation to take the job when offered. This won't lose you respect as you have not told the interviewer of your decision yet, it appears to them you are still deciding.
    • Drawbacks: This is wasting time of the interviewer as you (and only you) know you will not be taking the job regardless.

With respect to the other options:

Thank them for their time but decline the interview.

  • Benefits: Professional, will draw respect form interviewer.
  • Drawbacks: Not practicing interview technique, no opportunity to identify what skills you would be gaining taking the other job.

Go to the interview, be cheerful and winning, and at the end thank them in person for their time but I don't think I'm the right fit for the job.

  • Benefits: Learn more about the job and its requirements so you can fill CV gaps.
  • Drawbacks: Unlikely to receive feedback on interview, could be insulting: they offered you a interview so they think you are suitable and you are disagreeing.

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