Articles From the Team

Is there a correct approach when pulling out of the interview process?

If you have to pull out of an interview process – whether you’ve applied for a role directly or through a legal recruitment agency – doing so in a professional and diplomatic manner is essential.

This being said, it’s important for you to know and understand that it’s completely acceptable to change your mind (regardless of whether your circumstances have changed or not). We’re all human and a good legal recruiter understands this. They’ve probably been in your position previously!

What’s important is your approach, and this shouldn’t be taken lightly.

You might like to read: Working with legal recruitment agencies and the art of awkward conversation

How not to approach it

Inevitably, we’re familiar (i.e. we see it first hand) with the ways in which you shouldn’t approach the above, including:

  • Losing all contact
  • Refusing to speak on the telephone
  • Not showing up to the interview
  • Sending a short email that doesn’t elaborate or give reasoning for your decision

It’s natural to feel you’re letting people down in your decision, and this is why some lawyer candidates avoid contact, but it’s far better to have a discussion. After all, the legal industry is a relatively small community and certain actions may impact your career – immediately or in the future.

In addition, a good legal recruiter holds solid relationships with firms and partners, and even although a good recruiter attempts damage control on your behalf, they can only work with the information you’ve provided to them.

So, what’s the right way to approach it? The real answer is there’s no black and white ‘right way’ but it’s worth remembering these four tips:

  1. Don’t panic
  2. Communicate your decision as soon as you can; avoid any delay to protect your reputation with the firm and the legal recruiter
  3. Think about the reasons why you’re cancelling and ensure they’re communicated in a professional and diplomatic way
  4. Be honest

Your circumstances will change again in the future. Always keep this in the forefront of your mind as you may want to reconsider a firm when your position allows it. Also, people talk; this includes professionals, so if you cancelled your interview or pulled out of the process in an unprofessional manner, you’re taking a risk.

Most importantly, be honest from the outset. Don’t commit to something you’re not going to follow through with.

My ultimate advice: don’t burn any bridges as it’s simply not worth it!

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