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How To Cancel An Interview

In a perfect world, there would be no unexpected surprises or troubles.  Unfortunately, in reality, a number of unforeseen issues and problems can occur.  From a blown-out tire, to a family member in the hospital, sometimes you may need to cancel a previously scheduled interview.  We’re going to show you how to cancel an interview and how to do so in a professional, respectful, gracious, and courteous manner.

While not ideal, cancelling a job interview occurs more than you’d imagine.  Both the employer and the candidate are within their rights to cancel an interview.  But how you go about cancelling an interview is just as important.  While cancelling an interview is never an ideal, you want to be sure to do so as quickly and as professionally as possible.

When To Cancel An Interview

Professionalism is the name of the game here.  You will want to cancel the interview as-soon-as-possible and as early as possible.  Immediately when you are aware of your need or desire to cancel the interview, you should do so.  Cancelling earlier, rather than later, will help you look more professional and keep open the possibility of rescheduling.

In addition, you will want to be considerate of the recruiter and hiring managers time.  The interviewer has set aside precious time from their day to meet with you.  You do not want to cancel last minute, if possible.  Providing sufficient time so that you can both reschedule is equally as important.

Is It Unprofessional To Cancel An Interview?

Let’s be honest, it’s never fully professional to cancel an interview.  No matter how soon or early you let the interviewer know, cancelling an interview is simply a bad look and can negatively hurt your chances at being offered the job position.

But there are always exceptions to the rule and dependent on the situation, some employers may be more understanding than others.  If you provide sufficient and ample time with the cancellation notice, then it will look a lot more professional.  Similarly, if your tone is honest, sorrowful, and empathetic, then you will likely be given a second chance.

Potential Consequences For Cancelling An Interview

While you should make every effort possible to be professional and respectful of the interviewer’s time, you should note that there may be real consequences for looking to cancel an interview.  Mainly, you will likely not be considered for another role if you apply to it.  Additionally, by cancelling an interview, you may be burning bridges with industry networks and contacts.

While you should look to be honest and prompt if you need to cancel or reschedule an interview, you should also be aware of these consequences.  In addition to losing industry connections and not being considered for another role, you will simply appear both unprofessional and unreliable.

What if You Don’t Want The Role Anymore?

If you are looking to cancel an interview due to a change in situation and you would no longer like to be in consideration for the role, than that changes things slightly.  You should continue to let both the recruiter and the hiring manager know your change of heart.  You should notify the employer as-soon-as-possible and end the interview process with them.  This will save both you and the employer time and will save any awkward moments from occurring in the future if you were selected for the role.

Remember, if you do cancel an interview due to no longer being interested in the role, you need to understand that you likely won’t be up for contention for that role again.  Once you send the cancellation email, your interview process is stopped and will need to be restarted from the beginning.

Make sure you are 100% sure that you would like to cancel the interview and the interview process before sending the email.  You cannot take back your email, so take the time to fully go over the pros and cons and determine whether or not you would like to work for that employer.

Sample Emails If You Don’t Want The Role

Example Number 1:

Dear [INTERVIEWERS NAME],

I would like to humbly withdraw my name from consideration for the position of [JOB TITLE] at [COMPANY NAME].  I truly appreciate and thank you for the opportunity to interview with you, however at this time I do not feel that this position would be a good match for my career goals.

Thank you,

[YOUR FULL NAME]

Example Number 2:

Dear [INTERVIEWERS NAME],

I would like to cancel our upcoming interview, scheduled for (DATE OF THE INTERVIEW).  Unfortunately, at this time, I do not believe that employment at (COMPANY) would be a perfect fit.  If you could please withdraw my name from consideration for the open position.

Thank you,

[YOUR FULL NAME]

How to Cancel an Interview

When Should You Cancel An Interview?

Cancelling an interview is a personal choice and one that you will have to make.  If you are looking to reschedule the interview, then the below list isn’t as pertinent to you.  However, if you are looking to cancel the interview completely, then the below list may be some reasons why.

  • You received another job offer – one of the main reason’s candidates cancel interviews is due to another offer being presented. If you have to give the other employer a decision on if you accept the position or not, then it may be best to cancel the interview.
  • You received a promotion at your current employer – if you received a promotion at your current employer, then you may opt to cancel your job search and continue to work at the employer.
  • The salary is not in line with expectations – many interviewees and candidates opt to cancel interviews due to salary expectations. You may consider that the salary is negotiable and be sure to look at the full suite of benefits before cancelling.
  • News about the company – you may have heard news about the company that you disliked or that didn’t fit in with your personal values and beliefs.
  • Other obligations – sometimes things just don’t work out. You may have other obligations and need to focus on those at the moment.
  • You simply changed your mind

How To Cancel Politely

You never want to burn bridges or create a hostile atmosphere.  As-such be sure to be polite, cordial, and respectful in your email.  You want to keep your future options open and available, so don’t come off as rude or disrespectful.

You should let the interviewer know as-soon-as-possible that you will need to cancel the interview.  This will give them ample time to find another candidate and to remove you from the system.  In addition, you want to be brief and to the point in your email.  You do not need to provide a reason or an explanation for cancelling.

Lastly, always be sure to thank the interviewer.  They likely spent time going over your resume and discussing your qualifications internally.  You want to be respectful of their time and their consideration.  This will help you to appear more professional and will help you in the future, should an opportunity to work there arise.

Sample Email – When You Want To Reschedule

Hey [INTERVIEWER’S NAME],

I apologize, however due to unforeseen events, I will need to reschedule our interview set for [DATE OF INTERVIEW].  Would we be able to reschedule for [GIVE 3 POTENTIAL DATES AND TIMES]?

I sincerely look forward to meeting with you and discussing this opportunity.

Thank you,

[YOUR FULL NAME]

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