Should I contact a company whose interview offer I ignored to apologize?

The Workplace Asked by fridaymeetssunday on December 19, 2021

More than a year ago I was looking for a job and after accepting an offer, I received an invitation to interview with another company (1st round of a typically two rounds process). It was my first contact with them after sending my application. This came at a time when I was quite busy sorting the move, finding a flat, furnishing it, etc, and I completely forgot to politely decline the invitation. It was not a priority, but regardless I consider the polite thing to do do would be reply declining the offer. In effect I forgot / ignored them.

Shall I contact the company to apologize for my oversight? What are the odds that they keep track of former applications?

I only noticed their un-replied email this week while looking for an unrelated email in my email box. I would normally brush it off, but:

  • the sector I work in is quite small, and it is possible that in future, medium term, I might apply again.
  • it’s a small sector, and even though I am not a household name, people know people.
  • The interview (skype) would be at a very high level with the CEO, CSO and head of division. (It’s a small company)

4 Answers

With my experience in hiring, at a medium-sized company. Interviews were covered by so many people and we read/sent out follow-ups to so many people we would never have remembered one not answered. The only thing that would remember is our hiring software that remembered people by email address.

Answered by Ryan Schlueter on December 19, 2021

I once did this (one of the top-5 embarrassing things I've done in my life). I actually ghosted a job offer many years ago because I felt uncomfortable about it. A few years later, my company at the time actually merged with the company I ghosted.

I took the opportunity to apologize in person to the manager in question. He basically just shrugged, didn't care/remember.

In light of my experience, I recommend that you not bother contacting the company to apologize for the oversight.

Answered by Daniel R. Collins on December 19, 2021

If it was essentially your oversight and a whole year has passed, I think I would just let sleeping dogs lie and hope they've forgotten your name by now.

It's old fashioned to imagine an employer (or his secretary) writing out a letter by hand, to a candidate they might realistically foresee retaining in a job for life, and holding a grudge for non-response.

Everyone knows emails today are flying around like a blizzard, and it would be extremely petty for the employer to have inferred (and also recorded, and recalled at the time of your later application) anything adverse from non-response to one interview request, months or years prior.

Answered by Steve on December 19, 2021

I think you've answered this yourself because you've listed only positive reasons to contact them. Try something short, pleasant, and light on excuses: "Hi. Sorry I missed your email while I was preparing for employment at another company. I hope you found a great candidate."

Answered by Michael McFarlane on December 19, 2021

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