The Right Way to Reschedule a Job Interview
Trying to get a job interview is difficult enough, and finding you have to unexpectedly cancel the meeting is an awkward conundrum. Needing to reschedule does put you at a disadvantage, but it doesn't automatically remove you from consideration. That being said, if you don't handle the situation well, your chances of getting the job are certainly going to suffer.
It goes without saying you should apologize and be gracious, but if you're wondering what else you should you do when seeking to reschedule an interview with a hiring manager or recruiter, read on.
Consider Your Reason
Before you cancel, it's a good idea to carefully consider why you can't make the appointment. If you're looking for a second chance, you'll want to be sure your explanation is a justifiable one. Reasons most interviewers will forgive include:
- Family emergency
- You or your child is ill (they'll be grateful you didn't bring germs to their workspace)
- Car accident/breakdown
- Snowstorm or dangerous road conditions
- Commitments at your current job (you can try to spin this one as a positive to demonstrate you’re a responsible employee)
If you have a legitimate excuse for rescheduling, you don't have to share too much information about an illness or family emergency. Just be truthful. Most interviewers will be understanding if your reason is valid. After all, they've probably run into conflicts in their own lives.
On the other hand, some excuses probably won't be acceptable to the employer and, if you’re canceling for one of these, you might not be invited to a rescheduled interview time.
- Bailing to attend another event (concert, opening day, etc.)
- Spilled coffee on your suit
- Unprepared for the interview
- Another job interview–tread carefully–you never know who knows who in your industry
Tip: Remember, honesty is the best policy. It's likely the canceled appointment will come up at your next meeting.
Call The Interviewer ASAP
It's poor practice to cancel an interview at the last minute if it can be avoided. Contact the employer or recruiter by telephone ASAP to let them know you can't make your scheduled time. Hiring managers and recruiters are busy people, and the more notice you can give, the better. If the interviewer opts to reschedule your interview on the spot, be sure to remember to thank them for their flexibility and understanding. If you reach voicemail, leave a message explaining your situation and follow up with an email to ensure your message was received.
Dear [interviewer name],
Please accept my sincere apologies for my needing to cancel our appointment on [date and time] due to [reason]. I would appreciate it if you are able to reschedule as soon as possible, does Tuesday or another day this week work for you? [You can give your availability to show your high interest but try to word your availability in a way that shows you’re open to alternate dates in case the day is inconvenient for the employer]. Thank you for your understanding, I am sorry for any inconvenience.
It's a good idea to state your availability to be as soon as possible, ideally, within a few days. Additionally, even if you're nervous, be sure to take a deep breath and pay close attention to your tone. If your internal stress over the situation comes across, your words may sound less sincere and apologetic.
Send A Follow-up Email
If you were able to reach the interviewer and the interview was rescheduled, it's still a good idea to follow up with an email.
Dear [interviewer name],
Thank you for your flexibility after my needing to cancel our appointment due to [briefly describe reason]. I appreciate your understanding and willingness to accommodate my unanticipated situation. I look forward to meeting with you on [new date and time].
Your follow-up email can be brief. The main objective is to send a polite expression of thanks and confirm the new appointment time.
Be Sure To Not Cancel Twice
Many employers are willing to give a second chance, especially if you have the right experience, background, and soft skills. However, if an employer senses or confirms you've been dishonest, it might not only cost you the job, it could put a serious blight on your professional reputation. If the appointment is rescheduled, you definitely don't want to cancel twice. Be sure to not miss the next one.
According to some statistics, just 2 percent of applicants to the average job opening are invited to an interview, so if you do need to cancel, be sure you have a good reason and don't waste your opportunity for the audition you've been given.
In the end, if you had a legitimate reason and the employer was not understanding and gave you a hard time, you may have dodged a bullet. After all, an interview is a chance for you to interview the employer as well.