Hunting for a new job can be a tough experience, and it is highly unlikely that you might want to withdraw your application from a job you actually have a high chance of getting.
In most cases, it is the prospective employer that turns down job applicants, rather than job applicants turning down job offers.
Sometimes, however, for one reason or another, you might find yourself in a situation that requires you to withdraw a job application. In such situations, how you withdraw your application matters a lot.
It needs to be done with tact, else you might end up ruining your name and reputation.
In this article, I am going to show you how to tactfully withdraw a job application while remaining in the good graces of your prospective employer.
WHY YOU MIGHT NEED TO WITHDRAW A JOB APPLICATION
At the time of sending a job application, it might not even be conceivable that you might need to withdraw that application.
However, life is full of surprises, and something unexpected might happen, leaving you in a situation where you need to withdraw your application to that job you thought you really wanted.
Below are some few scenarios where you might find yourself having to withdraw a job application.
Better Job Offer
When hunting for a job, you send out applications to multiple companies.
Sometimes, you might get a nice offer from company A when you have an interview scheduled with company B.
If you are certain that company B is not going to give you a better offer, the best thing to do is to withdraw the application to company B.
This way, you save both your time and company B’s time.
Alternatively, your current employer might give you a better offer or give you a promotion, causing you to change your mind about looking for other job opportunities.
In such situations, it is prudent to withdraw the applications from the companies you were talking to.
Job seekers rely on the descriptions in job advertisements to determine whether they are qualified for a job or not.
Sometimes, however, these job descriptions do not give accurate information about the actual work you will be required to do once you are hired.
In some cases, after an initial interview with the prospective employer, you might realize that you are more qualified for the job than the job description made you believe.
In such a scenario, you might want to withdraw the application and apply for a higher position that matches your qualifications.
Money is one of the major reasons why people look for new job opportunities.
At the same time, many companies do not disclose how much they are offering for a position until the interview process has started.
Sometimes, you might send a job application and start the interviewing process, only for you to realize that the compensation for the job does not match your expectations.
In such a situation, you might not want to continue with the interviewing process since you won’t take the job anyway, considering it does not pay as much as you expected.
Compatibility With The Company
Sometimes, after applying for a position with a company, you might do further research and realize that the company culture is not aligned with what you are looking for. Alternatively, the company’s growth prospects might not be aligned with your own ambitions.
In such situations, the best thing to do is to withdraw the application, since you don’t want to end up working for a company that is not aligned with what you are looking for.
Sometimes, after submitting your application to various companies within your city, some unexpected circumstances might crop up, requiring you to relocate from the city. For instance, your spouse might get transferred to a different city, forcing you to move.
If you will be relocating, there is no need to continue with the interview process, only for you to tell the potential employer at the last minute that you won’t be able to take the job because you are relocating.
Alternatively, you might have applied for a job in a different city, planning to relocate once you get the job.
After submitting your application, something comes up that makes it impossible for you to relocate to the other city.
In such situations, the only option is to withdraw the application, since there is no point in continuing with the interview process.
Remember, there is more to life than working, and you cannot ignore your personal life just because of a job.
For instance, a family member might suffer from an illness that requires you to take care of them, making it impossible for you to take up the job.
These are just some of the reasons that might make you reconsider going ahead with the hiring process after submitting your application.
So, after deciding that you no longer want the job you applied for, how do you go about letting the prospective employer that you are no longer interested?
What is the proper etiquette? How do you withdraw the application without damaging your reputation or burning bridges with the prospective employer? Does it even matter how you withdraw, considering that you won’t take the job anyway?
How you withdraw your application matters a lot.
Just because you are no longer interested in the job at the moment does not mean you should burn bridges.
Who knows, a few years down the line, they might have another job opening that you are interested in.
You could even meet the hiring manager you in another company you are interested in working for some years down the line.
Therefore, it is important to handle the withdrawal the right way to avoid ruining your professional reputation.
THE BEST WAY TO WITHDRAW A JOB APPLICATION
Once you decide that you are no longer interested in a job opening, the first thing you need to do is to notify the prospective employer by sending them a letter of withdrawal.
A lot of people simply disappear once they decide they no longer want the job, leaving the employer wondering what went wrong. This is unprofessional and should be avoided as much as possible.
Communicating your decision to withdraw the application in writing serves two purposes. First, it cements your reputation as a person who handles matters professionally. Second, it acts as a formal record of your withdrawal.
WHAT’S THE POINT OF SENDING THE LETTER OF WITHDRAWAL
Like I mentioned earlier, most people disappear without any communication once they have decided that they are no longer interested in a job opening.
They don’t see the point of notifying the prospective employer since they are not going to take the job anyway.
However, sending the letter of withdrawal shows that you are being considerate to the prospective employer.
Recruiting is not an easy process, and it would be a total waste of time for both you and the employer to go through the interviewing process, only for you to reject the job offer at the last minute.
In most cases, employers need vacant positions filled as soon as possible.
By letting them know that you are no longer interested in the position, you allow them to shift their focus to job seekers who are still interested in the position.
This is why you should send the letter immediately you decide that you are no longer interested in the job.
WHEN TO WITHDRAW YOUR APPLICATION
Just because you have already gotten a job or decided that you are no longer interested in moving from your current job does not mean that you should send a letter of withdrawal to every company where you submitted your resume.
If you have not yet been selected for an interview, there is no point in notifying the prospective employer that you are no longer interested.
You should only send the letter of withdrawal if an interview has already been scheduled, or if you have already started the interviewing process.
One thing I will emphasize here is that you should only withdraw your application if you are completely sure that you do not want the job.
If you are not certain, the best thing to do is to continue with the hiring process until the employer makes you an offer.
As you continue with the process, you might learn more information that will help you make your decision. Once the offer is made, you can then decide if you will take the job or not.
If you have already scheduled an interview, but then something comes up, making it impossible for you to attend the interview, do not withdraw your application. Instead, talk to the recruiter and find out if it is possible for them to reschedule the interview.
HOW TO WRITE THE LETTER OF WITHDRAWAL
Now that you know why and when you need to send the letter of withdrawal, how do you actually write this important letter? What should it include?
If you are sending a physical letter via post, it should be formatted like any other professional letter. You should start by writing your contact information, the date, and then the contact information of your prospective employer.
If you are sending the withdrawal letter via email, there is no need to include the employer’s contact information. Your contact information can also come at the end, in your email signature. You should address the letter of withdrawal to whoever contacted you to schedule an interview.
The subject line of your letter or email should be very specific.
The best subject line to use for withdrawal letters is your name, followed by something to the effect that you are withdrawing your application.
For instance, you could write “Allan Bryce: Withdrawal of Job Application.”
Start the letter with a polite salutation and then quickly move on to the reason for writing the letter.
Naturally, before letting the employer know about your decision to withdraw your job application, start by expressing your appreciation for the job offer and for considering you for the job position.
If you really wanted to join the company but cannot due to an unavoidable circumstance (such as illness, relocation, and so on), let them know that you were really looking forward to joining the company.
Then express your regret for having to withdraw your application.
One of the greatest points of contention when writing a letter of withdrawal is whether to include the reason why you are withdrawing the application or not. You can explain why you are withdrawing the application or not, depending on the reason behind your withdrawal.
The easiest approach is to simply let the prospective employer know that you are no longer interested without explaining the reason behind your decision.
When writing this part of the letter, you want to be tactful, so that you pass the message without sounding too high of yourself or too harsh.
Remember, this is a rejection like any other, and you want to make it as easy as possible for the employer.
Use the same kind of non-specific language that companies use when sending out rejection letters to applicants.
If you decide to explain the reason behind your decision to withdraw the application, you should keep the reason positive.
Even if you are withdrawing the application because of something you don’t like about the company and its way of doing things, try to find a positive reason for your withdrawal.
If you cannot find one, don’t give any reason. Implying that you are withdrawing because of something negative about the company will only reflect badly on you, which is something you want to avoid. Actually, when writing a letter of withdrawal, the less you say, the better.
If you are open to working with the company again should circumstances change, there is nothing wrong with letting the employer know.
For instance, if you withdrew your application because you realized you were overqualified for the open position, you can let the employer know that you would be open to joining the company should an appropriate position come up.
It is not unheard of for employers to redirect applicants to more appropriate positions than the ones they had applied for if the applicant it outstanding.
While your withdrawal will definitely cause some inconvenience to the employer, resist the temptation to express your regret for causing the inconvenience or mention the expense the company has incurred as a result of your withdrawal.
The company already knows what expenses they have incurred in pursuing you, and the inconvenience your withdrawal has caused. Reminding them about it will only make matters worse.
Instead of mentioning the inconvenience you might have caused, end the letter by once again thanking them for the opportunity that was offered and wishing them all the best going forward.
Finally, sign off the letter with your name and your contact information (if you are sending via email).
WITHDRAWAL LETTER SAMPLES
To make it easier for you to write the letter of withdrawal, below are some samples to show you what it should look like.
Here is what the withdrawal letter could look like when you are sending a physical letter via post:
Note that in this sample withdrawal letter, the candidate withdraws their application without having to provide a reason for the withdrawal.
If you are sending your letter of withdrawal via email instead of post, here’s what your letter might look like:
In this withdrawal letter, the candidate has included a reason why they are withdrawing their application (they have accepted another job offer). Note that the candidate keeps everything positive.
He remains polite and sincere without having to compare between the offer he has received and what he expected to get at this organization.
By not comparing the two jobs, he avoids having his withdrawal appear like an attempt to ensure a more favorable offer from this organization.
The candidate the ends the email on a positive note by wishing the employer success as they continue searching for the right person for the position.
Once you finish your letter, it is advisable to go through it a couple of times to ensure that it is polite and professional, and that there are no mistakes.
Remember, you want to cement your reputation as a professional.
Remember To Keep In Touch
Just because you have withdrawn your application from a job you were being considered for doesn’t mean that it’s over between you and the employer.
You might need their help at some point in future, and therefore the best thing to do is to keep in touch and make them a part of your network.
A good way to keep in touch is to make them a connection on LinkedIn. You can even show them your good will by suggesting someone else who would be a good fit for the position you just declined.
Life is full of surprises, and even when you have the best intentions, you might find yourself in a situation where you are no longer interested in a job position even after you have been invited for an interview.
If you find yourself in such a situation, it is prudent to inform your prospective employer about your decision through a withdrawal letter, rather than just disappearing without a word.
You need to do this tactfully, since you don’t want to leave a bad impression of yourself. If you are having trouble writing a withdrawal letter, I hope that the tips and samples provided above will make it easier for you write this important letter.