How to Cancel a Job Interview Properly

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Published: 7 Feb 2017      

There can be few feelings worse than having to cancel a job interview, particularly for those who have been struggling to find work. You may feel as though you are letting the company that has given you the opportunity down and that they may not be willing to do so a second time.

However, as long as you take the right approach with the cancellation you should find most prospective employers are understanding of the personal situations that can lead to interview cancellations.

So what is that approach? Here we note a few things that you absolutely have to do when cancelling an interview.

Call The Company

Sending an email across to inform a company you are cancelling an interview is bad form. Not only does it indicate that you don’t really care about the position, but emails are also very easy to get lost in the mix and you may find that the person interviewing you never actually finds out you won’t be making it. This can lead to an awkward situation when the time comes and you don’t show up. To avoid this, pick up the phone and actually talk to the company. Not only does this personal approach show you care, but you can also get an immediate response and rearrange the interview in one sitting.

Call At Least 24 Hours Before

Cancelling at the last minute leaves a bad taste in the mouths of potential employers. Unless it is an absolute emergency situation, you should always aim to give at least 24 hours’ notice. Not only does this show respect, but it also gives the interviewer the opportunity to make use of the time that had been dedicated to you. Furthermore, by calling with plenty of time to spare, you demonstrate that punctuality is important to you.

Be Apologetic

The tone of the conversation you have when cancelling an interview should be humble and apologetic. No matter what the situation is that has caused the cancellation, you should avoid the urge to go too far off topic and demonstrate your respect for the organization through your apology. Being humble also means you are more likely to receive a polite response in kind and sets the groundwork for rearranging the interview. One final thing to note is that you should still apologise even if you won’t be attending a later interview. Getting a job somewhere else doesn’t mean you can show disrespect to others who offered you an opportunity.

Have A Good Reason

“I don’t feel like it” is not a good reason for cancelling a job interview. That should sound obvious, but it is surprising how many people cancel interviews without providing valid reasons. These can range from having obtained a position elsewhere through having to deal with a personal or family emergency. Whatever the case may be, make sure the reason you give is honest and believable. Remember that your credibility is a factor here. This is particularly true if you obtained the interview through a recruitment agency, as you may find that feedback gets sent that marks you out as unprofessional if your reason for cancelling is not good enough.

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