Why and how to withdraw a job application

A person sits on a sofa using a laptop.

Steps to take if you no longer want a job you applied for.

Telling the employer shows you're reliable

If you no longer want a job you've applied for, it's best to tell the employer that you're withdrawing your application as soon as possible.

This shows you're reliable and considerate, and it can improve your reputation with employers, because it will make their search for an employee easier. 

If you don't withdraw your application, this could:

  • cost the employer time and money, as they may already be organising an interview for you, doing paperwork or making reference checks
  • harm your reputation with employers and make it harder to get a job. 

If you withdraw your application as soon as you know you don't need the job, your politeness now could help you get a job with this employer - or a related organisation - in the future. 

If you applied for a job but haven't heard back

Even if you haven't heard back, let the employer know if you're no longer interested in their position. They could be organising an interview for you. If you let them know now it stops them wasting time. 

  • If you applied online, you should be able to log in and change your status to show you're withdrawing your application.
  • Otherwise, get in touch with the employer using the contact details for the job advertisement.

You can just say, "This is to let you know I'm withdrawing my application for the role of [name of position]."

If you're booked for an interview

The employer may have spent hours organising interviews, and organising other staff to attend them.

  • Make sure they know you can't come by phoning them.
  • If you get an answerphone, leave a message and follow up by email. 

 We have had interview panels sitting in a room waiting for a candidate who withdrew 1 or 2 hours before the interview, by email, and of course sometimes you don't get to your emails until later in the day. 

 – Murray Watt, Senior HR Advisor

If you've had an interview

Remember – an interview is a two-way process.  

It's okay to withdraw your interest in a role at any time and particularly after an interview. The interview is an opportunity for both the hiring panel and the candidate [you] to gauge whether the role is for you.

If you have any doubts then it's okay to withdraw after an interview. The hiring manager will totally understand. They may be disappointed, but no one wants to offer someone a role that they don't feel 100% committed to – that doesn't work for anyone.

– Murray Watt, Senior HR Advisor

It's best to ring the person who ran the interview and let them know that you are withdrawing. If they don't answer their phone, leave a message and follow up by email. 

If you've been offered a job

Just because you've been offered a job, it doesn't mean you have to take it. You may have:

  • doubts about whether the role is right for you
  • found the conditions and salary aren't what you expected
  • found the employer is not willing to negotiate
  • already accepted another role. 

Whatever the reason, if you don't want the job, let the employer know as soon as possible. They can then contact other people who're interested in the role. 


If your life has changed

You might really want a particular job, but be unable to take it up due to family commitments or other personal reasons. 

If you think you can't take the job because you're shifting to live in a different place, you could ask if the employer would consider remote work, or if they have a branch in that location.

Otherwise, it's worth going into a bit more detail when you contact the employer. You could say:

"This is to let you know I have to withdraw my application for [position name] due to personal circumstances.

"I was very interested in this role and I hope I'll be able to apply for a similar one with you in time. Please keep my application on file."



Updated 18 May 2023