I'm just not that into you
July 16, 2007 9:05 PM   Subscribe

How do you tell a potential employer that you're just not that into them?

A couple weeks ago I had a job interview with the company I worked for previously in a role that's fairly similar to the one that I had left about 3 years ago, except that this new position has greater scope, more exposure to senior-level management, a better title, and likely much better pay. Going into that first interview, I thought it was what I wanted, but after much consideration, I've decided that going back would probably be a mistake since there was a reason I left that role when I did, and that reason hasn't changed - I was bored by financial reporting then, and I'm no more excited by it now.

I got a call this afternoon from the hiring manager who wants to meet me later this week. I don't want to feign interest in the position and waste both our time since I know I don't want the job. This is a huge company and I might one day find myself applying there for a different role elsewhere. How do I tell him that I'm not interested in pursuing the opportunity any further without burning any bridges?
posted by phoenixc to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"I've decided to pursue other opportunities, thank you for your time and interest"

Don't worry about it. Trust me there will be no hard feelings
posted by jpdoane at 9:18 PM on July 16, 2007

huh. i've never had to do that before. maybe write him a note explaining that, after the first interview, you realized the position was going to take you in a different professional direction than you had hoped, and that you have decided to pursue other opportunities that are more in line with your own goals. explain those goals in a sentence or two. let him know that you continue to admire the organization and hope you may be able to work for them in the future, if the right opportunity arises. tell him you'd love to have an informational interview at some point, either during your scheduled slot or at another, more convenient time for him.
posted by thinkingwoman at 9:20 PM on July 16, 2007

A white lie along the lines of "I've accepted a position elsewhere" would certainly get you off the hook, though it may backfire on you in the future if you don't have said job on your resume and someone is expecting it to be there.
posted by zardoz at 9:21 PM on July 16, 2007

If you know already that you're going to be bored, that hiring manager does NOT want to hire you, they just don't know it right now.

As you say, pursuing this any further is a waste of time. I don't see why you'd want or need to lie. A simple "I don't feel this is the correct opportunity for me right now, thanks for your time" should suffice.

If you want to explain why, I don't see any real harm in it. Depending on the person, they may see it as a positive (if you're worried about being blacklisted for future roles) as you're saving them from either wanting to fire you or having an unmotivated/unproductive employee.
posted by sinical at 9:39 PM on July 16, 2007

jpdoane has it. No need to stress.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:55 PM on July 16, 2007

I think jpdoane has it.

thinkingwoman's idea of offering an explanation is a good one, but bear in mind that the more explanation you offer, the more chance you have of tripping yourself up and looking stupid. For example, saying that you "realized the position was going to take you in a different professional direction than you had hoped" could be considered rather odd given the OP's history with, and knowledge of, the company.

So yeah, keep it polite and simple, they'll appreciate your forthrightness and respect for their valuable time.
posted by nomis at 9:59 PM on July 16, 2007

You don't owe them any explanation. Just tell them you're not interested.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:12 PM on July 16, 2007

I once got all the way through to an offer letter from a job, then decided that all of the great things the job had to offer wouldn't be worth the insurance coverage (for a specific thing) that I'd have to give up.

I called the person for whom I was going to work, and said as much as politely as I could, and emphasized that it was a tough decision and if it weren't for the insurance issue (which was outside of their control) it would have been a no-brainer.

Two years later, that insurance coverage was no longer a necessity. I got in touch with them, let 'em know that the insurance issue had changed and I would love to come work for them, and that's where I still work.

So be honest, be polite, and if you really want to leave the door open, give an honest reason that they can't immediately fix and that doesn't seem like you're fishing for a counteroffer.
posted by davejay at 11:36 PM on July 16, 2007

though it may backfire on you in the future if you don't have said job on your resume and someone is expecting it to be there.

From my experience, there is almost zero chance a hiring manager would be able to recall this, let alone note it down or find it in his notes months or years down the line. they don't write things like, "has just got a new job, July 2007, check if they apply to us in future" on the files ;-)
posted by wackybrit at 6:18 AM on July 17, 2007

Please try to find a way to handle this without lying. Life is complicated enough, and the truth here is not a problem at all.
posted by amtho at 7:16 AM on July 17, 2007

If there are other areas you might be interested in within the company you might ask the hiring manager whether there are opportunities. "I've decided that financial planning is not the best fit for where I see my career going, what i REALLY want to do is direct!" and see if there are other options.
posted by softlord at 4:35 PM on July 17, 2007

I had to do this about a year ago. After meeting with my former boss and discussing the new job opportunity, I mulled it over and decided that I wasn't ready to go back to the company and wanted to pursue other options. This is exactly what I ended up telling her.
posted by lunalaguna at 6:38 PM on July 17, 2007

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