Reasons To Cancel A Job Interview

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certified

Normally securing a job interview is an exciting prospect considering companies only have time to interview the top applicants. It seems to go against most advice to consider cancelling a job interview at any point. There are a number of times it is appropriate to cancel an interview or ask the company if you can reschedule.

You Don’t Have All The Information

When you applied to the job, you may have only had access to a general job description. Now that you have been asked in for an interview, you should have an opportunity to request additional information like who you will be interviewing with, what the interview schedule will be, how long you can be expected to be at the interview, etc.

While the company might not be able to answer every question with a degree of certainty, they also should not hold any information back. If you feel like a company is refusing to provide information about the position you have applied for, it may be a sign the interview is not worth your time.

You Find Red Flags

Some people research companies before they apply to positions, but not all. If you discover concerning information about the company after your interview has been scheduled, take it seriously. It may be that the company has poor public reviews on a website like Glassdoor or there have been recent news stories about issues there.

You may even look through their website only to find that it’s not professional and lacks any actual information about the organization.

Trust your instincts when you are in the job seeking process and don’t put yourself out there if it doesn’t feel right.

You Have An Emergency

It is not ideal but emergencies happen. Whether it involves you or a family member, emergencies are a valid excuse to cancel an interview. Hopefully, your interviewers will understand your situation (without you needing to provide personal information) and be willing to reschedule the interview. In fact, it helps to ask to reschedule the interview from the start instead of informing the organization you need to cancel.

You’re Sick

Very few of us can control when we are and are not sick.

In this situation, you often know at least a day in advance that you are not well. Your interviewers are likely just as busy as you are and aren’t interested in coming down with whatever you have. They will appreciate a candidate not wanting to expose them to any illnesses circulating.

Reach out to your interview contact and ask if you can reschedule. Don’t go into detail about what is wrong but indicate that you are under the weather and you want to respect the health of the team members in their office. More than likely, they will thank you and schedule another day.

You Realize The Job Isn’t For You

Most of the time when we are contacted for an interview, we do not have time to review the position in detail before saying yes and scheduling. It is not uncommon that between the time you scheduled the interview and the interview date itself, you become more certain the job or role isn’t for you. It may even be that you have completed an initial phone interview and are now second guessing the upcoming in-person interview.

Both your time and the interviewer’s time is valuable. If you are completely certain that this is not a role you want to be considered for any longer, politely withdraw your application and remove yourself from consideration. You don’t want to insult the organization in case there’s a future opportunity with them, but you also want to target positions that you know you have an interest in.

You Have Another Job Offer

Receiving and accepting another job offer is a satisfactory reason to cancel an interview. You don’t want to lead an organization on if you have already decided on the next step in your career. Companies often lose talented applicants during the process, especially if it tends to take a little longer. They may be disappointed to hear you are no longer considering the opportunity, but they will certainly understand.

Cancelling an interview, for whatever the reason, should still be done with tact and skill. You don’t want the company to remove you from future consideration for open positions. The more notice you can give your interviewers that you need to cancel, they less inconvenient it will be for them.

If because of illness or an emergency you’re hoping to reschedule the interview, be sure to state that up front. You want to reassure the organization that you are very interested in the position despite your inability to make the scheduled interview time. If you approach this situation correctly, the company will likely have no issue rescheduling your interview.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz
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Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz is a PHR certified HR professional with a broad range of expertise including recruitment, performance management, employee relations and talent management. She leverages her years of experience in HR to bring functional change to organizational leadership and direction to management structures and employees. Robin aims to empower the employees and managers she works with by providing coaching and counseling services.

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