How to reschedule an interview

There are things in life that take a couple of minutes but can mean a lot in the long run. These are brushing your teeth, meditating, regularly calling your parents, and timely and politely rescheduling your interviews.

Below we have tried to find out if it is ok to reschedule one’s interview. When to do it and what reasons to consider a polite excuse.

Good reasons

Life happens, and sometimes you may need to change the time of the interview or even cancel it. It is ok to do it if you have a good reason.

Another job offer

There are cases when you may have a job offer at hand, which you do not want to lose, but at the same time, you may be interested in another company as they offer a competitive salary. In this case, you may wish the interview to happen faster. This will allow you to keep the job offer and maybe get another one to choose from. And it makes sense as recruiters often tend to make the hiring process too long.

However, you need to think from the employer’s perspective. If you ask them to reschedule an interview, they may ask you why you need this. You can be honest answering the question, just say that you already have a job offer from another company. For example, on the phone call, you may say something like:

I am interested in the position in your company, but since I already have a job offer from another company, is there any way you can expedite my interview? This will let us come to a decision whether I am the right candidate for you sooner.

And if they can, they will try to accommodate you as soon as it is possible.

Impossible to attend

Reschedule an interview when sick

Another possible reason for you to want to reschedule an interview is that you cannot attend it. For instance, when you got sick or something unexpected came up. In these situations, you’d better push yourself through and participate in the interview.

Unless you have a Coronavirus or some other highly contagious disease, it is better to stick to the schedule and try to show up when planned.

However, we are all humans, and there are situations when we feel incredibly unwell. The sickness can prevent us from performing at the interview and hitting the target. So first of all, estimate your conditions and decide whether you can get out of bed right now. If not, just give your potential employer a call, suggest that you meet some other day (you can offer a couple of time-options in a week or so), and see what they say.

On the downside, there are cases when companies just say something like: “Sorry, this is the time slot we had for you, if you cannot make, we can cancel the interview.” Not all employers are going to say that, and most of them will try to be flexible and find another time slot for you. However, it is better not to push them, as it will show that you cannot commit to what you have agreed before. If you get a rejection, do not lose heart and check out our recent post on how to ask feedback after it. Remember every time you get rejected you learn something new and increase your chances to find a dream job in any field you like — in marketing, design, programming, or customer support.

Summing it up the legitimate reasons that can make you want to reschedule a job interview are:

  • health issues;
  • work-related duties if you are employed;
  • emergencies (car-accidents, blackouts for remote meetings, and so on).

Bad reasons for rescheduling an interview

Bad reasons to reschedule an interview

One more reason why people try to reschedule their interviews is that they do not feel prepared. If you think that you do not have enough time to get ready for it, or you believe that you are too nervous, try to keep calm and do it anyway.

Make the most before the interview as if you were scamming before the exam, get a good night’s rest, and just do it.

Apart from it, there is a whole list of reasons that sometimes come up when an employer asks why a candidate wants to cancel an interview or needs to change its time. However, these reasons are never considered good enough to do so. These are:

  • personal plans (parties, movies, football matches, concerts, and so on);
  • you had a sleepless night, slept in, or you have a hangover;
  • weather conditions —it rains, snows, too cold/hot to go to the interview;
  • you are not sure if you want this job or you do not feel like going.
When you mention one of these reasons, the employer gets the impression that you cannot stick to your commitments, you are not interested enough in the job, or you are a bad-planner.

Rescheduling in advance

When you realize you are not going to make it for the interview, it may feel awkward to call or write and inform your recruiters about it. Some candidates choose not to do it at all.

They just don’t answer the phone on the day of the interview or call their recruiters after the meeting and beg them to reschedule it. They come up with all sorts of reasons that prevented them from being on time and warning about a no show.

What they get in response is either a polite rejection or a rude reply. No matter what reasons you have not to come for the interview, it is ok to cancel it or try to change the time of the meeting. Moreover, it is good manners to do so. In the long run, it may save your reputation as a reliable person.

When an employer is planning a time to interview you, they find a spare time slot in the working day, and if you do not show up, they can talk to someone else or do other office work. That is why it is essential to give them prior notice about your cancellation or a desire to reschedule an interview.

Later this company may have a vacancy you might like, so try to treat them respectfully and show your manners.

Email examples

Rescheduling email example

How to communicate your decision depends on whether you talked to the company’s recruiter via phone or via email.

Besides, try not to postpone your call or email until the last moment. Bear in mind that if you are sending an email, the interviewer most likely won’t be able to read it immediately and change their plans accordingly.

But even if you send an email a few hours before the meeting, you can try to word it in such a way that your potential employer will give you a second chance. Here is an example, how your email can sound:

Dear Mr. Johns,

I was invited for the interview to talk about the position of {name of the position} in your company. I appreciate the opportunity you have given, but unfortunately, I cannot meet with you on the scheduled date (the date of the interview). The reason is that I am sick and do not want to infect anyone else. Could we shift the meeting for a later date when I am well again {offer 2 or 3 time-slots when you can meet}?

I would like to apologize for letting you know about it last minute and would like to say that I am still interested in the position and do believe I can fit the role.

I hope for your understanding.

Best regards,
Sara Mill

Cancellation email example

Dear Mrs. Johns,

To my regret, I won’t be able to attend the interview for the position of {name of the position}. I am grateful for the opportunity to have a job interview at your company, but I already have a job offer and do not want to take your time.

I hope we’ll have a chance to meet and work together sometime in the future.

Best regards,
Sarah Mill

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do employers reschedule interviews?

The reasons why employers reschedule interviews can be numerous. They may be occupied in some other project and need to prioritize. They may not have enough candidates for the position and want to have more time to look for the right people. It may happen that they are waiting for some internal processes to finalize or for somebody to take the decision that this position is still in need. Besides, recruiting managers do have their own lives and tasks, as human beings they can fall ill too. So it is natural that sometimes an interview is rescheduled.

Try not to over-react, keep calm, and remember that in the majority of cases, it has nothing to do with you. Moreover, there is nothing you can do to influence this process. If an interview is rescheduled, accept a new date, and just attend it when the time comes.

Very seldom a rescheduled interview means that the company prefers to see another candidate first, or that the position is eliminated. Again, there is nothing you can do about it, so why bother? If you feel insecure, ask your employer about the reasons that make them want to shift the time. The answer may explain everything and make you feel more confident.

How do you professionally cancel an interview?

To look professional when rescheduling or canceling an interview when you are no longer interested, you need to do it well in advance. It is crucial as it gives your employers an understanding that you care about their time and appreciate the opportunity to become part of their team. You can send an email explaining the situation and honestly stating the reason why you cannot attend a meeting. If your plans have changed or if you already have a job offer from another company, write about it calmly and respectfully. Express the hope that you will have a chance to work with them some other time in the future.

Is it a bad sign if an interview is rescheduled?

It can be an alarming sign, that is true, but the chances are great that this is an ordinary change in the recruiters’ plans. One of the interviewers is out of town or has to participate in another important meeting. The team has to focus on more important things than interviews or needs to finalize some project asap.

When you get the news that your interview is rescheduled, react calmly, and confidently. Your task is to find out when the interview will take place and to show that you are still interested in the position. Thank the recruiter for letting you know about the changes beforehand and promise to come when planned.

What if an interview happened, but it was cut short?

In some cases, the interview takeы place as planned, but the recruiter ends it in just a couple of minutes after the start. If an interview ends abruptly, do not panic, show understanding, and try to get any input on why this happened. Feel free to ask if it is possible to reschedule an interview to finish your conversation next time. When such things happen, it usually means that some sort of emergency took place. In the majority of cases, it is not about you, and even if an interview was not rescheduled, you could follow it up via email. Send an interviewer a note expressing your interest and asking questions about the position. If you know enough about the vacancy, explain how you can contribute to the company’s goals.

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