I applied for an assisstant professor position in Germany, and was invited to an interview. However, I have since come to the conclusion that I would most likely would not accept the position even if I should get an offer. In a nutshell, this is due to various factors that have come to light and make the position much less attractive than it did seem originally, including

  • The primary location of the position is not very attractive and would require frequent travel for teaching to a different location
  • There is no compensation for costs of travelling and accommodation for the interview. This is very usual compared to all previous invitations for interviews I received. While in itself it may be a relatively negligible amount of money if I should get an offer (and take the position), I perceive the chance of the latter fairly low
  • In contrast to the job announcement, the area of research expected by the candidate is in a rather specific subfield where I have no previous experience, and would have a hard time to write a research concept
  • It is relatively likely that I will receive an offer by a different institution within the next weeks which I would prefer over that position.

Some weeks after my application, I received in informal email expressing the intent to invite me for an interview. At that time, I accepted the invitation, but was not aware of the factors summarized above.

I have now received the official invitation, and am almost certain that attending the interview would be a waste of time and money for me and the committee.

Is there a good/polite way to withdraw my application, or should I just "bite the bullet" and go anyway (at least this would be some additional job interview experience)? What are possible negative consequences for future applications (e.g. regarding the impression that a withdrawal will make to the committee members)?


The most helpful thing that you can do is to send them an email withdrawing your application as soon as possible. They will move on to other candidates.

  • 4
    Yes, simple and direct. You don't really need to explain. – Buffy Oct 23 '19 at 16:44
  • 1
    Agreed. It's relatively normal for this to happen. No one will be offended. – GrotesqueSI Oct 23 '19 at 20:52
  • But people will be offended if you only withdraw a couple of days before you're supposed to show up. – Wolfgang Bangerth Oct 24 '19 at 0:51
  • 1
    If you got another, more desirable, offer just a few days before your interview with our institution, I won't be offended by your canceling. It saves me a lot of time and trouble. – Brian Borchers Oct 24 '19 at 1:02

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