You’re not the first one to cancel an interview, nor is it hard to do. It’s important to cancel as soon as you know you can’t make it.
Reasons to cancel an interview
You’ve decided the position isn’t the right fit for you.
You’ve decided the manager or company isn’t the right fit for you.
You’ve accepted a job elsewhere.
You’ve decided to change tack, like going back to school or cancelling your job search.
Your circumstances have changed and you can’t pursue your job search for the foreseeable future.
When should you cancel an interview?
Cancel the interview as soon as you know you need to.
However, sometimes emergencies happen and you can’t give very much notice at all. If this is the case, simply apologize for the late notice and thank them for their time.
How to cancel an interview
“You should take a professional approach to the cancellation of your interview, getting in touch at the earliest opportunity and apologizing for any inconvenience caused,” HR professional Melissa Cadwallader says. “This should allow the hiring manager to reschedule their time and contact other prospective candidates before they look elsewhere. You should remain in good standing with the greatest possible chance of successful application to any suitable jobs in the future.”
The best way to cancel or reschedule an interview is to reach out via the same means you’ve been communicating with your prospective employer.
If you’ve been corresponding via email, create a new email with a clear subject line, i.e., Need to Cancel 8/12 Interview. If you’ve been corresponding by phone, call them up. And if you don’t get an answer, leave a message. Keep your message friendly and brief.
Do you have to give a reason for cancelling the interview?
“You don’t have to give a reason for canceling, and you may decide that it’s best not to,” Cadwallader says. If, for example, you’ve learned something about the company that you don’t like, you may not want to disclose why you’re cancelling.
Simply state that you need to cancel and thank them for considering you for the position.
How to cancel: if you’re found another job
I am writing [or calling] to let you know that I have accepted a position elsewhere and will need to cancel tomorrow’s 3 o’clock interview. I want to thank you for the opportunity to interview for the head recruiter role and I wish you the best of luck in your search!
How to cancel: if you’ve decided the job’s not for you
After careful consideration, I have decided that this position is not the right fit for me and will need to cancel our interview this Friday morning. Thank you for considering me for the role. I wish you the best of luck in your search.
How to cancel: if you’re sick
If you’re sick but are still interested in the position, consider rescheduling the interview.
I’m under the weather and will not be able to make it to tomorrow’s interview for the product manager role. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Here are a few dates and times I am available:
Wednesday or Thursday after 3 p.m.
Friday before 11 a.m.
Thank you for understanding and I apologize for any inconvenience.
How to cancel: if you don’t want to disclose the reason
Unfortunately, I need to cancel our interview next Wednesday at 1 p.m. I apologize for the inconvenience and I wish you the best of luck in your search.
Thank you for considering me for the position.
How to cancel: if you have a family emergency / don’t know if you’ll be able to reschedule
Hi Dr. Kawakami,
I need to cancel Wednesday’s interview on account of a family emergency. At this time, I don’t know if I’ll be able to reschedule, but will be in contact ASAP if I can.
Thank you for understanding.
Common mistakes to avoid
Not cancelling at all—a no-show is a dangerous career move. Even if you don’t want to work with this particular manager or company in the future, word gets around, and ghosting will not work in your favor.
Cancelling if what you really want to do is reschedule. If you need to push the interview back, provide a few options for new dates/times.
Cancelling by text.
Not providing details, like the recruiter or manager you’re interviewing with or the date and time of your interview.
About our source
Melissa Cadwallader, MBA, PHR, is an Austin-based HR leader focused on helping professionals develop strong communication, conflict resolution skills, diplomatic management, and diversity and inclusion awareness. Today, she works at ZenBusiness, a public benefit corporation.