in Career

How do you respectfully decline an interview?
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A common situation: You’re interviewing with one company and receive an offer from another company. What do you do?

The question

Is it considered unprofessional to decline an interview after receiving a job offer?

I declined an interview with a company because I received an offer from company. After I informed them they did not reply or return my call.

A couple weeks ago I have seen a job posting for a software engineering co-op (I am a Waterloo student) at a startup (let’s call it A) in SF. The role involved big data, nlp and machine learning which are three areas I am really fascinated by.

I decided to shoot them a message and sent my resume. A couple days after that an interview was scheduled and I did pretty well but did not get a really good vibe about the company.

They wanted to move forward and we agreed to interview again four days later. In the meantime I was interviewing at another startup which made me a really great offer on the spot. I decided to delay my reply so I can inform startup A that I was taking the role at startup B and was not interested in the offer anymore but that I thought they were great and full of potential. I told them that I was looking forward to work with them in the future.

They did not reply and did not return my call, to be honest they seem pretty mad at me and I am worried that I have handled the situation unprofessionally.

What do you think?

My answer

Sounds like you did everything very professionally. Chances are that they saw your email, took you off the list of candidates, and got back to interviewing the other candidates that were still in the recruiting pipeline.

If anything, they were probably grateful that you told them as soon as you did. Recruiters and hiring managers spend a lot of time interviewing candidates when they’re filling positions. It can be extremely time consuming. So if a candidate isn’t going to work out, it’s far better to simply stop interviewing them than to keep going with the process for no reason. I’m sure the recruiter and hiring manager were happy to have that time back.

Congrats on the great job offer and good luck with your new gig!

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