So, you applied for a job, your resume was examined, and you were offered an interview
— congrats! You’ve agreed to the interview, and you’re on your way to securing the job. It’s coming up, but something else pops up at the same time. You need to reschedule your interview.
Arriving on time and prepared for your job interview is critical in demonstrating to your
potential employer that you are dependable, timely, and on top of your game. However, life occurs, and you may need to reschedule an interview in the worst-case situation because of unanticipated circumstances. Of course, sometimes you have good reason to cancel that one-on-one and other times when you should develop a strategy to make it to the interview.
Even if you cannot attend your scheduled interview, there are proper ways to reschedule it in order to maintain your chances of being employed. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to make it for whatever reason, it’s preferable to phone ahead rather than calling from the road when you’ve slipped into a ditch during a snowstorm or are on your way to the emergency room with a sick child.
Rescheduling an interview can have unfavorable consequences, at the very least jeopardizing your credibility as a candidate. When you need to postpone an interview, there are a few things that recruiters and executives think about first. The first is that you show a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the task. During the interview process, you will only have a few interactions with human resources personnel and managers, the people with whom you hope to work.
Interview scheduling usually causes a concerted effort to accommodate all parties involved. Disregarding this shows a lack of appreciation for the time and effort that went into arranging and managing everyone’s schedules. There’s no guarantee that this will be rescheduled in a timely manner, and it could put another applicant in a better light when you’re attempting to sell yourself and your skills to this organization.
Is It Unprofessional to Reschedule an Interview?
While rescheduling an interview isn’t ideal, depending on your position, it isn’t inherently unprofessional. Of course, rescheduling is unprofessional if you didn’t leave enough time for traffic, you forgot, you were unprepared; you were offered free concert tickets and wanted to go to that instead, or any other reason along those lines.
However, if you need to take a rain check for a legitimate cause and follow some basic
etiquette guidelines, your boss may understand and, hopefully, won’t hold it against you.
Reasons for Rescheduling an Interview
When an applicant is sick, rescheduling a job interview is one of the most typical justifications. However, there are other grounds for rescheduling an interview besides illness. Most organizations recognize unexpected events occur—a sick family member, a scheduling difficulty, car trouble, you’re interviewing remotely and experiencing technical difficulties, and so on. It’s a good idea to be upfront about why you need to reschedule, but make sure you have a good explanation.
Most employers are understanding and will gladly reschedule at a time that is more
convenient for you. If they aren’t flexible, it may be a clue of how they will be as an employer, and this may show that this isn’t the position for you.
When Can You Reschedule an Interview?
You may need to reschedule a job interview on a few occasions. These are circumstances involving:
- Your Health
- A Serious Work Obligation
- A Personal or Family Emergency
- Your health is vital, and if you’re sick, you won’t be able to work at your best, and you risk infecting others, including your potential employer.
- However, unless you’re in a life-threatening scenario, your health should simply be a reason to reschedule.
- You can and should attend your interview if you have a head cold or a migraine, for example (as long as you are not excessively contagious). You can ask your interviewer to forgive your hoarse voice, but if it’s not too severe, you should be able to get through the interview just fine.
- In work duties, you must exercise caution. You are interviewing for a new job because you intend to leave your current one. If your current employer will not allow you to take time off, you will need to reschedule.
- You don’t want to destroy any bridges with your current employer before the new job is even on the table. In this scenario, however, inform your prospective employer that the arranged interview date is preliminary until you receive confirmation that time off has been granted.
- Of course, a personal or family emergency should always be excused. Your interviewer should understand if a family member has died or if your child has broken a limb and needs to be sent to the hospital, for example. (If they don’t, reconsider your initial enthusiasm in working with them.)
When it comes to defining an emergency, be realistic. Allow it to wait if it can.
When You Can’t Reschedule an Interview
You shouldn’t reschedule unless you have a valid cause, such as illness, work obligations, or an emergency. There are a number of situations in which you should not reschedule an interview:
- You forgot.
- You were about to be late.
- You weren’t prepared.
- Some activities came up (concert, travel opportunity, NFL game, etc.).
- You couldn’t decide if you really wanted the job.
- You slept in.
- You couldn’t find a last-minute babysitter.
- You accidentally double-booked with something else that can wait.
- Your dog ate your resume.
If you have to reschedule an interview for anything that could have been avoided, could
have waited, or has made you appear uninterested in the job, your employer will consider you untrustworthy and unprofessional (like choosing an activity over the interview).
How To Reschedule an Interview Without Limiting Your Chances?
If you don’t have an option but to reschedule, follow these guidelines to notify the
recruiting manager without jeopardizing your chances of getting the job.
1. Contact the hiring manager right away
Contact the hiring manager or their secretary as soon as possible to reschedule. You should have your availability available when you make contact so that you can commit
to a new date and time right away.
2. Explain why you need to reschedule
While hiring managers dislike excuses, they are curious as to why you are unable to
attend the interview. Keep your justification brief but detailed enough to explain why you have no other choice except to reschedule.
3. Express regret for the inconvenience
Managers often live and die by their schedules, and having to reschedule an appointment can be frustrating. Be understanding and apologetic, acknowledging that rescheduling is an inconvenience you do not take lightly.
4. Call the manager first, then email
Making a quick phone call prevents emails from being lost and rescheduling from being
forgotten. You can ensure that the manager is notified by calling them rather than
trusting that they will receive their email.
Getting your desired career and increasing your income should take precedence over some of life’s other difficulties. Rescheduling a job interview almost always causes more harm than benefit and should be avoided unless there are exceptional circumstances.
When an unexpected problem arises and you need to adjust your interview plans, knowing how to reschedule an interview will help you avoid jeopardizing your chances of
getting hired. Consider the following advice for requesting a postponement of your interview professionally.
When is it appropriate to reschedule an interview?
When you know you won’t be able to make the initial day and time, the best time to
reschedule an interview is as soon as possible. Avoid canceling on short notice, such as the day before or the day of your appointment.
Both options provide an unfavorable message. Getting in touch with the person in charge of hiring as soon as possible will give you the best chance to sell yourself during the interview.
Those in charge of hiring and scheduling will almost certainly have to go through a large
several resumes in order to choose and schedule qualified prospects for interviews.
This suggests they’ll probably have a lot of applicant interviews on their calendar. Contact the employer as soon as possible to improve your chances of being rescheduled.
Calling or emailing to reschedule an interview
There are critical things to take as soon as you realize you won’t be able to make it to
your scheduled interview. You should follow up with a phone call and an email. Each action communicates to the employer that you are a responsible, thoughtful, and organized person, which could spell the difference between getting a second interview or not.
Follow these steps when making a phone call to reschedule an interview:
- Make the call directly to the hiring manager as soon as possible.
- If the manager is unavailable and you speak to someone else, get their name.
- When speaking to the hiring manager or other personnel responsible for rescheduling your interview, be enthusiastic so you convey how important the interview is to you.
- Let the person know you can’t make the scheduled interview and you’d like to reschedule.
- Briefly explain the reason you need to reschedule.
- Be truthful, which means the reason should be a good one and one that the hiring manager can relate to.
- Apologize for any inconvenience rescheduling has caused.
- Suggest two or three alternate dates that you have available.
- Thank the person for their time and consideration before ending the call.
- After you’ve been rescheduled, follow up the phone call with an email to the person you spoke with thanking them for rescheduling and confirming the date and time of the rescheduled interview.
Follow these steps when emailing to reschedule an interview:
- Send the email to the hiring manager and include copies, if applicable.
- Open with a greeting and the hiring manager’s name.
- Let the manager know you need to reschedule.
- Provide the reason you can’t make the original interview briefly, but to-the-point without elaborating with unnecessary information.
- Express your apologies for the inconvenience.
- Suggest alternate dates, and be flexible.
- Add a salutation such as ‘Thank you for your consideration.’
- Add your full name.
How unprofessional is it to reschedule an interview?
While rescheduling a job interview isn’t ideal either, it’s not necessarily unprofessional depending on your situation.
How do I decline an interview after accepting it?
Be humble, up-front and appreciative of their time.
How do you cancel an interview that you don't want?
Call or Email the Hiring Manager
How do I cancel my interview without burning the bridge?
Reach out to your point of contact (and also the hiring manager if you interviewed with them), as soon as you know you want to decline or cancel the interview.
How do you cancel an interview for the day?
You should notify the hiring manager as soon as you decide that you want or need to cancel a job interview.
Note your interviewer’s response, whether you email or call. Remember that an interview is a two-way street, and you’re making a decision about them just as much as they’re making a decision about you. If you do wind up working for them, how they respond to you and how responsive they are to your delay might reveal a lot about how they will handle work-life balance.
Simply be confident in your need to postpone, plan for the worst-case scenario, and keep it short, sweet, and to the point. They’ll make it work if you handle it professionally and they’re truly interested in you.
Before your rescheduled interview, send a thank-you note to thank them for allowing you to reschedule. Let them know you understand how busy their schedules are and how grateful you are for their willingness to accommodate your need to change plans. In your message, confirm the rescheduled interview’s date and time.
Of course, sometimes you have good reason to cancel that one-on-one and other times when you should develop a strategy to make it to the interview.
Finally, avoid rescheduling.