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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)?

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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.

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    Yes, simple and direct. You don't really need to explain. – Buffy Oct 23 at 16:44
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    Agreed. It's relatively normal for this to happen. No one will be offended. – GrotesqueSI Oct 23 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 at 0:51
  • 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 at 1:02

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