In life, we are sometimes faced with extraordinarily good opportunities. I'm talking about the types of career opportunities that would move us way up the ladder, give us a $50,000 pay raise, and make our peers and family jealous yet impressed.
But you are not completely sure if this is the career move you want to make.
Perhaps you really enjoy your current job, really believe in the company you are working for, and hit it off with your co-workers. There's just no reason to leave.
Or perhaps, you don't want to move towards the career path provided by the opportunity. Say you're doing sales and want to switch to marketing - it simply wouldn't make sense to accept a sales director role, no matter how lucrative the pay is.
In this situation, the three best things you can do are:
LET THEM KNOW AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLY
When you know it's not the opportunity for you, let them know quickly and do it tactfully. You might find out in the exploratory phase or you might realize it 4 interviews in. Thank them for considering you for the role and tell them you will not be moving forward in the process.
How much of an explanation you decide to give them as to why you've decided to withdraw your candidacy is up to you.
The main point here is to not waste their time so they can move on to other potential candidates who are seriously interested.
IF YOU CAN, REFER THEM TO SOMEONE ELSE IN YOUR NETWORK
Although you aren't going to pursue the role, maybe someone else in your network would be a good fit for it. Why not share this career opportunity with a professional connection who will be better suited and more interested in this role?
This is opening up a candidate pool to the company who values a trusted connection's referral. And who knows, the person you refer might get hired!
LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN FOR THE FUTURE
While you may not be ready at that very moment to make a career move to another company, you might change your mind a year or a few years from now.
You can suggest for them to check back with you if they are hiring again in 6 months.
Note that the person you are in touch with can be a conduit to another person in an entirely different company and role. Which might be useful later on.
If there is one thing I've learned in business, it is that everything runs on relationships. Treat people well and respect them, and they will probably do the same for you.
That's why saying no to great opportunities that aren't a good fit will help you in the long run.
On a side note, if you want to learn how to connect with people to open up job opportunities you actually want, then you should grab these 3 free email templates.