How To Withdraw From A Job Application

This blog is a direct transcription of our Youtube video: How to Withdraw From a Job Application

Many graduates and people early in their career don’t realize that there’s a right way and a wrong way to pull out of a job hiring process.  So we’re going to talk about why that’s important. I’m going to tell you about three key mistakes that people make and, importantly, what you should do differently.


Why is it important to pull out of the job hiring process in the right way?

No matter what field you’re in, you’re building a reputation from that very first application as a graduate, and you want to leave the right impression throughout your career. Being a high performer is about doing things that others are not willing to do, and it’s about doing what’s hard to stand out from the back. This video series is about teaching those things and today’s topic is about how to do so when pulling out of an application.


So here are the three common mistakes that graduates and people early in their career make when pulling out of a job.

  1. They ghost the employer.

The first is that they ghost the hiring manager or the recruiter. This is where basically you go and hide under a rock somewhere, you ignore the calls, you ignore the messages, and say hey I don’t exist anymore. This is something that does not command respect and you’ve essentially burned that bridge, for life.


  1. Using the reason: “My personal circumstances have changed”.

Okay, now the second mistake you may not be aware of because you don’t see the other side of how many people actually do this and what happens is that they send an email through, saying my personal circumstances have changed or have been a family emergency. Now the thing about it is, the amount of time that people actually do that where their personal circumstances have changed just at the point when they’re about to get a job offer, the probability of that being actually true is low. Now the other thing in terms of a family emergency, when there’s a family emergency usually doesn’t preclude you from going ahead with a job. It might interrupt the process, you might not be able to attend an interview or something like that, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to pull out of the job. So whoever’s receiving this message on the other end does hot believe you, and again it’s not good for your reputation. Another aspect to this is you’re emailing through your reason for pulling out. Again, most people email because they don’t have that conversation. If you call up and give a real reason, then it might be believed.


What should you do instead?

Well, the first thing is you should not email or text that you’re pulling out of the position. You should call that person and talk to them whether it’s a recruiter or the hiring manager, or have a conversation. Now some recruiters may try to convince you to take the job, some may not depending on the type of business that they are and even maybe some hiring managers will. But ultimately they’re going to respect you for being honest about it and having a conversation. Much better than just sending an email and running away.


Now the other thing is, if you have built a good rapport with that person, you may be able to give them some of the specifics as to why you’re pulling out, even if it’s sensitive. So if it were an interview with a manager and you didn’t quite feel comfortable or didn’t think they valued people or something like that, that person who’s not that manager if you explain to them, they may put you forward for another job where it’s not that manager. Similarly, if you didn’t like the job itself like you thought it was this but it ends up being quite something different. If you explain what you’re actually looking for versus what the job seems to be, again, if the job that you’re actually after comes up, that might be around the corner and they might put you forward for that. But you didn’t explain that if you didn’t manage that relationship, then that’s not going to happen.


  1. Stating starting salary as the reason for not taking the job.

Now in terms of the third mistake, The issue with this is twofold, and the mistake is that you’re saying that the salary is not right. This is something that as you get more experience in your career, maybe something you negotiate on, and becomes more relevant the more senior you get. When you’re a graduate, if you’re taking one job opportunity because it’s paying five thousand dollars more or ten thousand dollars more than this other opportunity, that’s your only reason you could be costing yourself five hundred thousand dollars in career earnings. You might wonder, how does that happen? In opportunity A., which is paying slightly less, you’re working for a manager for a company who’s going to develop the right skills and reputation for your career, an opportunity that’s not happening. But you’re getting a little bit more short-term money. So the problem with this is A, you’ve shown your cards as somebody who is perhaps not considering their career and B, you’re actually going to shoot yourself in the foot potentially if that first opportunity was the right one to develop your skills.

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