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By Audrey Korir

You have finally received an interview invitation for one of your job applications, congratulations!

Unfortunately, due to some unavoidable circumstances or a change of heart, you can’t make it to the interview anymore.

So, what do you do?

Do you panic? Ignore the problem? Or make frantic calls to the recruiter apologizing over and over again?

My take, neither of the options will go in your favor.  How so?  It’s simple; they are not professional ways to cancel an interview.

While it’s not ideal to cancel a job interview, most recruiters if not all may understand when certain situations arise.

Before we dive into an in-depth guide on how you can cancel your job interview with the utmost respect, let’s understand what circumstances can force you to cancel the interview:

  • You have an emergency.
  • You are ill.
  • You accepted another job offer.
  • You realized the job isn’t for you.

Now that you get the picture, how do you go about explaining these situations to the recruiter?

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Step 1:  Provide Advanced Notice

This should strictly be done at least 24 hours before the interview.   It helps to give the interviewer time to adjust their schedule.  Ideally, you can send an email or make a phone call based on how the recruiter sent the information to you.  Always remember to be brief, polite and professional when making the call or sending the email.

Step 2:  Be Honest

Honesty is always the best policy, even when canceling interviews. Be forthright about your reasons, but don’t get carried away in revealing too much private information. The key here is to give legitimate reasons that a recruiter would understand.

Step 3: Ask to reschedule:

When you still want the interview, but can’t make it at the scheduled time, email or call the person who scheduled the interview. If you email and don’t hear back right away, make a call so that you know the interviewer gets the message. It isn’t necessary to go into a lot of detail about why you need to change your appointment time. If you realize that the position is not right for you, or you’ve decided to accept another job offer, be gracious in informing the company that you have decided on a different career path and thank them for their consideration.

Quick Read >>> Best Techniques For a Successful Job Interview

Step 4: Apologize for the inconvenience:

It speaks highly of you when you acknowledge that the cancellation causes an inconvenience.   Do not over-apologize; be direct and professional by simply apologizing for any schedule issues that your cancellation may have contributed to. Thank the recruiter for their understanding at the end of the conversation.

Step 5: Make a follow up:

This is crucial especially if you did not get feedback, probably because your call was missed or your email went unread. Call again and let the interviewer know that even though you canceled, you are still very interested in the job and are looking forward to future interviews.  You can also send a personal note to the recruiter, summarizing your apology once again and reiterating your interest in the company, if the interest still exists.

Overall, cancellation should be a last resort because it does not leave a good impression on the recruiter. Strive to rearrange other aspects of your schedule when possible, to ensure that you are able to meet your professional obligations.

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