Can you reschedule an interview?
Yes. Emergencies happen, people get sick, transportation fails, child care falls through. You’re not the first person to have to reschedule or even cancel an interview. A good employer will be gracious about the situation.
Reasons for rescheduling an interview
There are plenty of good reasons to reschedule an interview, some more personal and private that others:
Lack of child care
Car or transportation trouble
Unable to get off work
Should you tell them why you need to reschedule?
You can be as honest as you like to be, but you don’t necessarily owe them an answer.
“I believe in being transparent with a candidate, so I would expect the candidate to be honest,” Lisa Vasquez-Fedrizzi, managing director of talent and HR advisory Cheer Partners, says. “Let me know if you are sick, unable to make it, or get the time off.”
But you’re uncomfortable telling them why you need to reschedule or simply prefer to keep it private, that’s perfectly fine. “If it’s a serious and confidential reason for canceling, I would say that the candidate should disclose that they have a confidential situation and would appreciate the recruiter understanding the cancellation,” Vasquez-Fedrizzi says.
Discrimination does happen
Here’s the reality: Discrimination is real, and disclosing information about why you have to reschedule is an opportunity for discriminatory behavior to occur; consider this before you tell them your situation.
Let’s use the example of parental discrminiation.
If you have to cancel the interview because your child care falls through, you could be transparent with your reason for needing to reschedule. You might find that the employer values your role as a parent just as much as they value your role as a professional and happily reschedule or even invite you to bring your child (we once had a job candidate bring her baby to an interview at InHerSight, and it was a delight). Or, you could find that they suddenly don’t want to reschedule, or when you do get to the interview, they ask you questions about your personal life and status as a parent (which can be illegal, by the way).
Either way, you learn important information about how that employer treats employees. But this comes at a risk, and you should weigh that risk carefully.
Mistakes to avoid
Vasquez-Fedrizzi cautions against some common mistakes when rescheduling a job interview.
Waiting until the last minute to reschedule
Waiting until after the scheduled meeting to reach out
Asking to reschedule the interview for a month in the future (the company may need to fill the role before that)
Sometimes these problems can’t be avoided, like in the event of an emergency, but if at all possible, give the interviewer as much notice as possible and propose a new time to meet in the near future.
Interview rescheduling template - no reason given
I’m looking forward to interviewing for the managing director role at York Partners. Unfortunately, due to a conflict, I need to reschedule our interview this Thursday afternoon.
Here are a few times I have available. Let me know if any of these work for you.
Friday, May 6, after 10 a.m.
Monday, May 9, anytime
Tuesday, May 10, after 1 p.m.
Thank you for understanding, and I apologize for the inconvenience.
Interview rescheduling template - late notice
I apologize for the late notice, but due to a family emergency, I will not be able to make it to our interview this afternoon. I am still very interested in the position and will be in touch by tomorrow afternoon to reschedule our meeting.
Thank you for your understanding.
About our source
Lisa Vasquez-Fedrizzi is a managing partner and team lead for the talent and HR advisory practices at Cheer Partners. Vasquez-Fedrizzi brings her 20 years of HR/talent experience to Cheer Partners, which she uses to guide large and small organizations through various stages of growth, including talent acquisition, employee handbook development, and learning and development programs. She has worked across the board in highly integrated corporate global HR functions and is a firm believer in communications, strategy, and development.