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Turn down a job interview?

It’s not unusual for job seekers to tell me that they were called to interview for a position, however, they passed on the opportunity because they…

  • didn’t like the company
  • thought it was too far to commute
  • thought the job wasn’t a great fit for their experience
  • didn’t think it would pay an acceptable compensation level
  • heard some bad things about the culture
  • …or any number of other objections

Is it a good idea to turn down a job interview when you don’t think you would accept a job?


Here are some things to consider…

There’s no better practice than “live fire”!

One consistent message you hear regarding your job search is “be prepared”. Prepare how you’ll answer interview questions and practice, practice, practice! While practicing mock interviews on your own or with friends and family is good… there’s no substitute for a real interview. When you’re in front of a real potential employer, responding to their questions and wanting to make the best impression, you realize quickly the areas you need to improve. Each interview makes you a little bit better. The more real interviews you can take, prepares you to be your best when you’re in front of an employer you REALLY want to work for.

You don’t know what you don’t know!

Job seekers often make all kinds of judgments about companies and jobs without getting all the facts. The job interview process is a two-way street. Not only does the employer need to determine if you’re someone they really want to hire, but you need to determine if this is an organization that’s a good fit for you as well! The commute may seem far, but you don’t know if they might allow you to work from home. You may have heard some negative things about the corporate culture, however, you don’t know if that also applies in the specific group you might be working with. Depending on personality and work style, one person’s Hell may be another person’s Heaven! You don’t know if there are other aspects of the job, company, benefits, manager, co-workers, etc. that may make it a much more attractive place to work than you thought.

Many of the assumptions people make based on partial information are often debunked when they learn more about the organization and the opportunity.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire!

It’s not unusual for someone to go through multiple interviews with an organization, get to the end of the process, and have the employer say something like…

“We think you’d be a great fit for the company, but we realize this might not be the right job for you. We actually have another position that we think would be a much better fit!”

It’s common that when a company has a position open, they may have other positions open as well. Some that may not be posted yet, some that they’re just starting to think about, and some that might be created on the spot when they see how someone might be an asset to the organization. Assuming the job you’re interviewing for is the only opportunity you’re being considered for is short-sighted. If you don’t proceed in the process of the less-than-desirable position, however, you will never be considered for the highly-desirable role!

You’re not obligated to accept an offer!

Perhaps, after the entire interview process, your initial impressions are confirmed. After finding out all you could about the company and the job you’re still not interested. If they make an offer, you can always, politely and professionally, decline. During a job search, it sure feels good to get an offer, even if you don’t take it and it’s better to have options than having none.

If they don’t make an offer. You’ve gained valuable practice and experience in the process which will make you better for the next opportunity. You’ve also learned more about a new organization that can help you identify things you want to look for and things to avoid as you evaluate other job opportunities. What’s the downside? The experience is always worth your time and effort!

The next time you have an opportunity to interview for an opportunity that doesn’t sound appealing on the surface… take the interview anyway. You’ll benefit from the process and there may be a great surprise at the end!


Interview the Interviewer!

ALWAYS be your best!

Does the Culture Fit?

Interview (not so) Common Sense!

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