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How and When To Cancel An Interview


Author: Mike Scaletti

Over the course of your life you are going to go to many interviews. At some point, it is likely you will have to cancel one. Life happens, and schedules conflict, and being able to avoid ever canceling an interview over the course of your professional life is unlikely. That's okay. The key is to ensure you do so the right way and avoid burning bridges along the way.


Why to Cancel


There are a lot of reasons one may want to cancel an interview. The reality is that interviewing is incredibly time consuming, for both sides of the table, and if you don't have that time available or simply don't want to waste either sides time, canceling might be the correct approach. Here are some good reasons to cancel an interview:


  • You or a family member is sick.

  • You suddenly have no way of getting to the interview, IE your car broke down.

  • You are having technical issues making it impossible for you to dial in for a remote interview.

  • You are unable to get time off from your current job.

  • You have received a job offer from another company that you have decided to accept.

  • You have decided that the company or position is not a good fit for you.

  • You have decided to relocate to a place that makes the position untenable.

  • You have decided to go back to school rather than take a position.

  • Many, many other reasons.

These are all valid reasons to cancel an interview, and if you need to do so you absolutely should. Just make sure you're not cancelling simply because you feel nervous or insecure about your chances. Remember that if they have granted you an interview, it's because they saw something that made them think you might be a fit.


How to Cancel an Interview


If you have decided that it is, indeed, time to cancel an interview, than you need to know how to go about it. It is absolutely not acceptable to just "ghost" your interviewer. Instead follow these simple steps to go about cancelling.


1 - Ensure You're Actually Ready To Cancel


This is the first step. Go back over the reasons you have for wanting to cancel and make sure that they are valid. Don't second guess yourself, if you have to cancel you have to cancel, but definitely make sure you're not doing it simply put of the aforementioned nervousness.


2 - Cancel Early


If you have to cancel try to give as much notice as possible. The time set aside for an interview is valuable, and if you are cancelling it is likely that the interviewer or hiring manager can fill that time with something much more productive if they are given enough notice. Giving advance notice of cancellation makes you look good and lessens the blow of the cancellation.


3 - Check Your Contact


Nothing is worse than doing everything right, cancelling responsibly, giving plenty of notice, and then realizing that the person you needed to cancel with never got the message. Make sure your contact info is up to date and with the correct person. Often, the person who scheduled the interview is not the person you would be interviewing with. Make sure you include as much information as possible so that the person who receives the contact can ensure it gets to the right person.


4 - Stick To The Point


No one wants to hear a long winded excuse as to why you are canceling the interview. Be polite and professional. You can give a reason for the cancellation, but you should avoid going into details. Be brief, thank them for the opportunity, apologize for any inconvenience, and then move on.


If you follow these tips for deciding how and why to cancel an interview, you will be able to do so while leaving your professional reputation intact and without burning any bridges.


Good luck out there, and if you need any further help with your job search, be sure to contact The Job Shop!


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