Sometimes you need to cancel or reschedule a job interview. Everybody understands that such things happen, but how you handle the cancelation (or rescheduling) can mean the difference between leaving things on reasonably good terms, and creating a bad impression that kills any chance of ever working for that company.
Here’s what to keep in mind if you can’t make the interview.
It’s More Than Just You
For companies, scheduling job interviews is a complex process. If you’re a candidate, you’re almost certainly not the hiring manager’s only interview that week, or even that morning. If outside recruiters are involved, schedules can become a delicate dance between hiring manager, HR staffers, the recruiter, and the candidates.
So if a candidate cancels the interview at the last minute, with little warning or explanation, it can quickly lead to a scheduling pileup. In turn, that can spark some animosity between recruiter, company, hiring manager, and anyone else involved. Those aren’t people you want angry if you’re hunting for a new position in the tech industry.
No Lengthy Excuses
If you can’t make it to a job interview, tell the recruiter or hiring manager as far in advance as possible. At least 24 hours ahead of time is ideal.
Whatever the reason for canceling, don’t provide an elaborate excuse in an attempt to let them “down easy.” Instead, state that you either need to reschedule, or that you need to cancel the appointment altogether.
Should you find yourself at a loss over what to say, consider something along the lines of: “Thank you for considering me for this role, but I’ve decided to remove myself from consideration.”
Or if you want to reschedule: “Unfortunately, I can’t attend at the time we previously agreed upon. Can we reschedule for a later date?”
Use the Phone
In our hyper-connected, texting-friendly age, it’s tempting to look at phone calls as an antiquated technique. Should you cancel or reschedule your job interview, however, it behooves you to pick up the phone and talk to your contact one-on-one. You can send a short email afterwards, to reconfirm the outcome of the discussion; but in these situations, phoning is the best way to make it seem like you’re not blowing the company off.
Make sure to apologize for the cancelation or rescheduling. It’ll show that you’re considerate of the hiring manager’s time. If you ever apply for another job at the same company, they’ll remember your behavior from the last go-round.