Every now and again, cancelling an interview at short notice is necessary. As long as you let a prospective employer know in a timely and professional way, this cancellation won’t hurt your long-term chances of landing your dream role. KAG Recruitment has outlined some completely understandable reasons for cancelling an interview and explains how to cancel a job interview without damaging your chances.

You’re having a nightmare journey to your interview

We all know the golden rule of interviews is to leave more than enough time for travel. However, sometimes the unexpected happens and a tree chooses the worst possible time to fall onto the train line that you were relying on to get to your interview. 

Sometimes your car breaks down, or an inconvenient blizzard can completely scupper your otherwise seamless journey from A to B. On other occasions, an unexpected accident can bring traffic to a standstill, leaving you so close, but yet so far from your interview.

In times like these, cancelling an interview may be your only option. If any of these events do happen, your interviewer(s) will understand, so long as you inform them well in advance of your meeting. 

Cancelling an interview five minutes beforehand isn’t a great look. So as soon as you know you won’t make your time slot, let the company know. They will be more than happy to reschedule if you’ve shown that you respect and value their time by giving them appropriate notice of the delays that you’re experiencing.

You feel ill

No interviewer is going to appreciate being sneezed on. Shivering opposite them is also not going to do you any favours. If you feel like death warmed up, cancelling an interview will be in your best interests.

Interviewers want to speak to you when you’re at your best. If you try to go for the heroics and turn up to an interview when you really should be recovering under a duvet, you won’t do yourself justice and you’ll just end up wasting everybody’s time. 

It can be difficult to know how to cancel a job interview when you’re ill. The answer is simple: be honest with your interviewers without oversharing too many details. 

When cancelling an interview, it’s also best to avoid an impassioned poem about the strife and turmoil caused by your cold. You’ll be able to reschedule the interview for when you’re feeling better without the dramatics.


You can’t make the interview because of a last-minute emergency

Emergencies happen. Maybe one of your kids is ill at school and you need to collect them. Maybe you’ve had to deal with a family crisis just before you were leaving for your interview and then accidentally locked yourself out of the house. Cancelling an interview due to these circumstances is better than arriving flustered and not presenting yourself to the best of your abilities.

Interviewers understand that emergencies often have horrendous timing and will be happy to reschedule your interview, so long as you handle the emergency professionally. Your interviewer doesn’t need to receive an in-depth account of Luke and Steve’s row and the deep distress that it has caused your whole family.

Sharing too much private information with potential employers will make them immediately question your understanding of confidentiality, and will almost certainly result in them rejecting your application. 

On the other hand, notifying them in general terms that there has been an emergency beyond your control before your interview will almost certainly result in them rescheduling with you.

You’re not interested in the job anymore

Maybe you’ve already accepted another job offer. Maybe, on reflection, the job that you’re scheduled to interview for just isn’t for you. In either case, if you’ve decided that your skills would be a better match for a different job, cancelling an interview will stop you from wasting everyone’s time, including your own.

Even though employers will be disappointed that you might have chosen to work for one of their competitors, they will appreciate that you had enough respect for them and their business to inform them of your decision. 

You never know when you might need to call them again. Perhaps if the job that you’ve chosen to accept doesn’t work out in the way you were hoping, the firm whose interview you’re cancelling might have the perfect opportunity for you within the year. 

Cancelling an interview doesn’t, and shouldn’t, mean that you have to cancel your relationship with an employer. This can be achieved if you handle the cancellation in the right way. 

So if you’re wondering how to cancel a job interview, hopefully, the tips above have given you some practical ideas that address your concerns without burning your bridges with a prospective employer.

If you’re looking to ace your next interview, speak to a member of our team today. Our friendly advisors are on hand to support you with your interview technique, including techniques for calming interview nerves and answering classic interview questions.

If you want to get in touch with us, complete the form on our contact page or give us a ring on 07738 279413. We’ll be happy to help you at every step. Whether you need CV advice, interview tips, or some of our recruitment guidance, our support and resources are here for you.

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