Opting out of a Job

Have you ever considered that interviewing is kind of like online dating? I am going to credit Teri Hockett for that comparison in a 2013 Forbes article because she’s totally right! You read a profile—or in this case, a job description; determine if you’re interested; and pursue it in hopes of securing a date—or interview. “But you don’t get a real sense for the person—or the company or role–until you have an in-person meeting or phone conversation to learn more.”

What happens if you get to the interview and you find out you are not a fit for the position? It is OK to opt out. In fact, that is the professional thing to do. Even if you are unemployed, job seeking is a mutually selective process.

I recommend after interviewing if you feel like the position is not a fit, you should promptly call or email the recruiter or hiring manager to let them know you are withdrawing from the process. The longer you wait— the more awkward it could get.

I wrote an example opt out email for you to use:

Dear X:

I hope that this e-mail finds you well. I wanted to reach out directly to you to let you know that I am withdrawing my name for consideration for the __ position. I sincerely appreciate your time and effort throughout this interview process. If anyone comes to mind that could be a fit for this role, I will reach out to you directly. I wish you the best of luck with your search.
Your name

I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever opted out of an interview? Do you have any regrets? What is a tip for someone considering their options?


  • Sarah Johnston

    I’m a former corporate recruiter and industry “insider” who got tired of seeing talented high-achievers get passed over for opportunities because they did not have the right marketing documents or know how to position themselves in interviews. I have relocated multiple times across the country as a “trailing spouse” and have had to execute job searches in completely cold markets (where I literally knew no one!) I have been named a LinkedIn Top Voice in the career space in 2019, HR Weekly’s Top 100 Most Influential People in HR, named the owner of the “best resume writing firm for experienced executives” by Balance Careers and a “top follow” by JobScan in 2019 and 2020.

Sarah Johnston

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