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How to Cancel or Reschedule an Interview

Posted by Rob Riggins

how to cancel or reschedule an interviewThere is nothing worse for a hiring manager than carving time out of the day to sit with a cyber security job seeker who is clearly going through the motions. That is unless it’s waiting as the clock ticks well past the scheduled time of the interview, with no candidate in sight.

It’s much better to cancel or reschedule an interview than to show poor judgment by ignoring the appointment. Not cancelling or rescheduling can give you a bad reputation not just in that company but in your chosen field. People talk. And they also pop up in odd places. The manager you ignored yesterday may be hiring for your dream job tomorrow. Show you’re a professional and cancel or reschedule if you can’t make an interview.

Don’t think doing so will offend the hiring manager. It won’t. People accept other jobs, lose interest in a position, or have emergencies. Everyone understands that. But there are proper ways to cancel or reschedule that will keep your reputation intact. Consider these scenarios and ideas:

  • You don’t want the job. I once had a job candidate who was extremely arrogant from the moment he walked in the door. He sneered when we asked questions, kept looking at his watch and was unpleasant. It’s much better to tell a recruiter or interviewer that you aren’t interested in the job than to go through the motions even in a more polite way than was exhibited by this candidate.

Again, no manager will be offended if you don’t want to interview for a job because you accepted a different one, want to stay with your current employer, or just don’t think this is the job that suits you. Cancel and give as much notice as possible. Smart recruiters and hiring managers will ask if you have any qualified friends or colleagues that might be interested in the position.

  • You want the job, but are sick. Don’t go to a job interview when you have the flu, a nasty cold, or other ailment. You may be the candidate of the year, but all people will think about is how to get you out of the building so you don’t infect everyone. Call or email as soon as you know you can’t make the interview, explain why, and ask to reschedule.
  • You are terribly late. I was once stuck in an office elevator for over an hour. By some miracle, I had my cell phone and the interviewer’s contact information with me. I called the interviewer — another miracle, I had a signal — and explained the situation. She was appreciative and rescheduled. That was, obviously, a valid excuse for rescheduling. Do everything in your power to make sure you are not late to an interview and only reschedule when forces beyond your control force you to do so.

A plan to be on time is a plan to be late. Arrive at the destination at least 30 minutes early, and wait to go in until about 10 minutes before your interview. Don’t go into the office any earlier. Being very early is as bad as being late.

  • You thought you wanted the job but changed your mind. Maybe you were offered a different position. Maybe you found out the hiring manager is a tyrant. Maybe you believe the commute is too long. Whatever the reason you don’t want the job, you must call and cancel as soon as possible. If you do take another job, thank the interviewer for their time, but explain you found a position that better suits your interests. Again, smart interviewers will ask you for a referral if you have handled yourself professionally.

Other scenarios require a more indirect approach. Obviously you won’t tell Mr. Boss that you’re canceling because you heard he’s a jerk. You might also not want to say the commute is too long. Instead tell the interviewer that you appreciate the offer of an interview, but you’ve decided not to make a change at this time. Leave the reason vague. You don’t want to later apply to the company for your dream job and have them peg you as the person who didn’t want to drive 45 minutes to get to the office or balked at working weekends. That could sabotage your future chances.

Employers understand and accept that circumstances change for everyone. They will be grateful for the professionalism you show in cancelling or rescheduling an appointment.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2017 7:43 am

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