- Should You Cancel an Interview?
- What to Consider Before Canceling
- When and How to Cancel Gracefully
- How to Make Up for a Canceled Interview
- What Not to Do When Canceling an Interview
- Follow-Up After Canceling the Interview
Should You Cancel an Interview?
When you’re in the midst of a job search, it can seem like an interview invitation is a golden ticket of sorts. You’ve worked hard to get your application noticed, and now you have the chance to show a potential employer your best self.
But what happens if something comes up that conflicts with the interview? Should you cancel? And if so, how do you go about doing it without burning bridges?
The answer depends on your individual circumstance. If the conflict is an unavoidable emergency, such as an important family or personal health issue, then canceling may be the best—and only—option. In these cases, be sure to explain your situation in detail and apologize for any inconvenience you may have caused.
However, if other reasons are behind your cancelation—such as another job offer or a changing job search focus—you may want to consider rescheduling instead. This shows employers that you value their time and appreciate their interest in considering you for the role at hand.
What to Consider Before Canceling
Before you decide to cancel an interview, it’s important to consider the situation from multiple angles. Ask yourself: what is the potential impact of your cancelation? Are there any alternate solutions that could make both parties happy?
Here are a few key points to consider when making your decision:
- The company’s perspective: Think about how canceling could affect the company and its hiring process. Canceling at a late stage of the process could be especially disruptive, as they may have already invested time and resources into your application.
- Timing: What is the best time to cancel an interview? The day before or morning of is likely too late, so if possible cancel at least 24 hours ahead of time to give the company enough time to reschedule.
- Keep it professional: No matter your reasons for canceling, be sure to keep your message polite and professional. Avoid being too detailed or negative—just provide enough information so that the company can understand why you need to cancel.
When and How to Cancel Gracefully
It’s essential to cancel gracefully—after all, you don’t want to leave a bad impression and burn bridges. So, when and how should you go about canceling an interview?
Keep it as far in advance as possible. If you can, give at least 48 hours’ notice. This gives the recruiter enough time to book a different candidate or reschedule with you for another date and time.
It also shows that you respect their time and that you’re taking the interview process seriously. The earlier the better, but even if it’s just a few hours ahead of time—give your reasons clearly, confidently and calmly—and be sure to apologize for any inconvenience.
Choose your cancelation carefully
Decide whether an email or phone call is more appropriate for the situation. Your decision should depend on your relationship with the recruiter: If it’s more casual and could allow for a phone call instead of an email, have a chat with them and explain why you need to cancel.
If they prefer emails, stick to them and make sure they’re polite yet professional; don’t forget to express your appreciation for the offer so they remember how much you appreciate their offer!
How to Make Up for a Canceled Interview
If you’ve already canceled an interview, you might be wondering: how can I make up for it?
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to show that you’re still interested in the role and demonstrate your professionalism. Here are a few tips:
- Express your sincere apology. Write an apology email and make sure to explain why you had to cancel the interview. Remember—it’s perfectly okay to be honest in this situation—just make sure to keep it professional.
- Offer an alternative date for the interview. Show the employer that you’re still interested by suggesting a new date and time for the interview, when both of your schedules permit.
- Request an additional task or assignment related to the role so that the employer can get a better understanding of your skills and abilities, even if you don’t get the chance to actually have an interview with them.
- Make sure to stay connected and keep in touch with the employer, even after canceling your initial interview. Connect on LinkedIn, follow their company page, or send them periodic emails showcasing your interest in the role and their organization as a whole.
- Finally, look for other opportunities within the organization—especially if they’ve expressed an interest in working with you in a different capacity or department—as this could be a great way to maintain a professional relationship with them while potentially securing another position down the line
What Not to Do When Canceling an Interview
When canceling an interview, there are a few things you should NOT do that could end up burning bridges with the employer. After all, you never know when you may need to call upon them for another opportunity if this one just wasn’t the right fit.
Don’t Ghost the Employer
It’s very important to remember that ghosting is never an appropriate way to withdraw from consideration for an interview. It’s definitely not a professional way of handling yourself and, instead of burning bridges, it can burn your entire reputation in the industry if you don’t take the necessary steps to withdraw formally and politely.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
Another no-no is forgetting to follow up with a formal email confirming that you have withdrawn your candidacy. Not only is it disrespectful to the employer who has likely reserved time on their calendar just for you, but it can also leave them hanging as they try to figure out why you did not show up or communicate with them.
Don’t Badmouth Employers or Other Candidates
Finally and perhaps most importantly, avoid badmouthing either prospective employers or other candidates when withdrawing your candidacy. You should always remain professional and polite in your emails, regardless of how significant your reasons for withdrawal may be—this includes refraining from complaining about any part of the process and avoiding any kind of negative language. And remember: what goes around comes around—you never know if and when these individuals might cross paths again with you in the future!
Follow-Up After Canceling the Interview
Once you’ve canceled the interview, good etiquette demands that you follow up. It might not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually crucial that you thank the recruiter and hiring team for their time and consideration.
There are several ways you can go about this. Here are a few tips to bear in mind when following up after canceling an interview:
Apologize with sincerity
First and foremost, apologize for canceling the interview. Be sure to express your sincere regret for being unable to attend the scheduled date and time. This gesture will help to ensure that your relationship with the prospective employer remains positive and professional even after declining their offer of an interview.
Offer an explanation (not an excuse)
If appropriate, provide a brief explanation as to why you had to cancel the interview. It’s important to avoid blaming or making excuses; instead provide a clear logic-based reason for canceling the meeting—keep it short and sweet so as not to overwhelm them with details.
Re-schedule if possible
If possible, suggest re-scheduling the meeting at a later date. This will show your willingness to have a conversation with them and maintain communication even though you weren’t able to attend this time.
Finally, thank them again for their time in considering your candidacy and offer any assistance they may need from you in the future if applicable—this helps maintain good relations between both parties even after declining an offer of an interview.