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How To Cancel An Interview

In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a growing complaint among my friends who are small business owners. They’ve experienced an increase in candidates not showing for interviews or cancelling an interview at the last minute with wacky excuses. Related: How To Answer: Where Else Are You Interviewing? Knowing how to cancel an interview is important if you don't want to burn bridges. If you have been invited for an interview, but can’t attend for some reason, take the following steps to ensure that you don’t ruin your chances at future employment.


Contact Them ASAP

As soon as you know you won’t be able to interview, contact your recruiter or the person who set-up the meeting. Most recruiters and hiring managers are understanding enough to realize that life happens and it sometimes gets in the way of even the best intentions. If possible, try to reach the person in multiple ways, via phone and e-mail, to ensure that your message is received. Politely request that the person call or e-mail you back with confirmation that your message was received.

Be Honest

There’s probably a legitimate reason why you can’t attend the interview at the established time. Be honest and convey that message. If your reason is legitimate, there’s probably a good chance that the interview can be rescheduled at a more convenient time. There’s really not a need to make up excuses or tell lies. Your honesty does not need to include specific details about an illness or family emergency. In fact, most interviewers won’t want to know the specific reason, especially if it’s something personal or medical-related.

Apologize And Move Forward

Recognize that you are causing an inconvenience, apologize, and determine next steps. If you still want an opportunity to be considered for the job, end your conversation by asking about setting up an alternate interview time. If you’ve been fortunate enough to obtain a new position with another employer before the interview, it’s still best to call and share that information with the recruiter or hiring manager. No shows are very frustrating because the interviewers have blocked time on their calendars to meet with you. If you aren’t interested in being considered for the position any longer, you can help the employer by allowing them to resume the recruiting and interviewing process. Furthermore, there may be a time in the future that you will again want to be considered for a position with that employer. If that’s the case, it’s best to handle interview cancellations professionally and with tact. Many companies maintain candidate files and would be able to refer back if you re-submit a resume or application for consideration. If you’ve blown off an interview once, it could hurt your chances of being asked to interview again in the future.

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