I have a final round of interview at a company P in a few days. I have to cancel this interview because I got better opportunities elsewhere. P has paid for my flight tickets a while ago. How can I decline the interview politely at this stage, without getting into why I can't make it and without burning bridges ? Btw, I do not need interview practice. I have to think about myself first.

I tried getting answers here, but they did not give me a clear answer. Most of them suggest that I go for the interview anyway which is something I am not willing to do.


  • 1
    Not a complete answer, but... you're going to burn the bridge if you cancel at this point. If you think you ever might want to try again with this company, you probably should go for the interview anyway.
    – Kent A.
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 1:23
  • @KentA. Are you saying that going to the interview (pretending, basically) and then turning down any future offers/interviews later would be less likely to burn a bridge than simply coming out right now and saying you need to cancel?
    – Brandin
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 8:00
  • @brandin Yes, if the goal is not to burn the bridge. That is that only part of the question I was addressing. I personally would also back out at this time, but I would do so knowing that it would probably end any chances I have at this company in the future.
    – Kent A.
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 10:13
  • 1
    Cancel. Tell the truth. If you're worried about the plane tickets and the hotel, don't be (assuming they're the ones who purchased them, and not you). If the company is a decent size, it means they have repeat business with the airline company and the hotel chain they chose for you, and they probably have way more flexibility in getting a refund than what is actually written on your e-ticket. Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 10:49

2 Answers 2


Simply cancel, the sooner the better. The company can likely exchange the ticket for the next candidate, or another purpose. If not, interviewing at this point will only waste time and money.

For instance, "Thank you for your consideration. Since we spoke I have received and accepted an offer that is very in line with my personal and professional goals. I hope that you did not go to too great an expense or effort. I hope we will get an opportunity to work together in the future."

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    Yes, I want to cancel it. Jim, could you please suggest how I can frame a polite response ? I am not confident what is a good way to say that I want to cancel. Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 1:09
  • I added one inline where more people will see it.
    – jimm101
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 1:12
  • Thanks. Actually, I have not accepted an offer at another company nor been given one. There are other compelling reasons to reject P. How do I say that in a vague/indirect way ? Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 1:17
  • 1
    Just say you're unable to travel in the foreseeable future
    – Kilisi
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 1:20
  • 2
    You're overthinking it. HR is either thinking "one down, x to go", or "time to find another candidate". You're gone for whatever reason. If it's the former, they're unconcerned. If it's the latter, they're upset that they have to look again for a picky hiring manager. You don't really figure into the picture once you announce you're gone.
    – jimm101
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 2:50

If you cancel the interview, you can be as polite as you like, it won't change the fact that you completely pointlessly cost them money, so they are not going to be happy. If you come up with an excuse that isn't believed they will be even less happy, so don't do that - don't pretend you have to go to your grandma's funeral.

What would be polite would be to offer to repay their cost. Whether you want to be that polite is up to you, I certainly wouldn't.

What would waste your time, and waste their time, but not create a bad impression, would be to go to the interview and pretend to be interested in the job, but then don't accept any other they make. If your impression is more important than the double waste of time.

Best way to handle this: Call them and say "Sorry guys, I got a better offer that I have accepted, so could you please cancel the interview". You have been honest, it caused minimal damage, they will be annoyed but they will get over it. As far as burning bridges, wasting some money is less bad than being caught lying if you make some excuses.

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