Cancelling a job interview can be daunting. Approaching the process with professionalism and tact is crucial to maintaining your reputation and keeping doors open for future opportunities. Do you know how to cancel an interview politely and without burning bridges?
In this article, we’ll explore the steps to cancel an interview, provide an example of a cancellation letter, discuss the ethics involved, and explain why, from a career standpoint, it’s often better to attend or reschedule rather than cancel the interview.
Five Steps to Cancel a Job Interview
1. Act Promptly:
As soon as you decide that cancelling the job interview is the best course of action, communicate your decision immediately to your recruitment consultant or the person who arranged the interview.
Delaying the inevitable can inconvenience the hiring manager and potentially disrupt their scheduling and planning.
2. Use the Most Appropriate Communication Method:
Ideally, a phone call followed by an email is the best approach. This allows for a more personal touch and shows respect for the interviewer’s time. In the case of last-minute interview cancellation, it’s exceptionally important to call the person who arranged the interview to avoid burning bridges.
While a well-crafted email might seem sufficient in many cases, we always appreciate it when a candidate takes the time to call to politely cancel the interview. This call allows us to plan the next moves, look into the reasons for the cancellation or simply gather helpful feedback.
3. Be Honest but Tactful:
You should always provide a reason for the cancellation, but you don’t have to go into unnecessary detail. If you decide not to attend a job interview for any reason, it’s important to be honest and clear about why. This is especially true with your recruitment consultant defending your interests.
4. Express Gratitude:
Acknowledge the opportunity and time the company has invested in you. A thank you for their consideration demonstrates professionalism and leaves a positive impression.
5. Leave the Door Open:
If you’re still interested in future opportunities with the company, express your hope to stay in touch or be considered for positions in the future.
Example of an Interview Cancellation Email Letter
Following a call to your recruiter or your contact in the company, sending an email to confirm the cancellation is the polite thing to do. If you’re not sure how to cancel an interview, you can use this example of an interview cancellation letter:
Subject: Interview Cancellation – [Your Name] for [Position Name]
Dear [Interviewer’s Name],
I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to inform you that, regrettably, I must cancel our scheduled interview for the [Position Name] on [Date]. Due to [brief explanation of the reason], I am unable to proceed with the interview process at this time.
I want to express my sincere gratitude for considering me for this opportunity and for the time and effort you have already invested in this process. I have great respect for [Company Name] and the work you do, and I was genuinely looking forward to the possibility of joining your team.
If possible, I would appreciate keeping the lines of communication open for future opportunities that align more closely with my circumstances or career goals.
Thank you again for your understanding and consideration. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and hope for the possibility of crossing paths in a more favourable context in the future.
The Ethics of Cancelling a Job Interview
Cancelling a job interview is not unethical, but the manner in which you cancel can reflect on your professional integrity. Handling the cancellation with honesty and respect for the interviewer’s time is crucial.
What’s the Impact on Your Future Career?
Cancelling an interview can have repercussions for your career, particularly if done inconsiderately. The world of recruitment is surprisingly interconnected, especially if you are in a relatively small area or working in a niche industry; such is often the case when working in tech, digital or digital marketing.
A negative experience with one employer could potentially be shared within the industry and negatively impact your future career even when you have a good excuse, such as having accepted another job offer. We have seen candidates getting vetted by companies after they cancelled a job interview in the past.
When handled properly, cancelling an interview won’t close off future opportunities to interview with that employer, their network or the recruitment consultancy.
Our Recommendation: Reschedule instead of Cancelling
From a career perspective, attending the interview or opting to reschedule your job interview instead of cancelling it reflects a strong work ethic and genuine interest in the role. Even if you aren’t sure the role aligns with your career goals, attending an interview provides an invaluable opportunity to network, gain insight into the company, and practice your interview skills.
When you reschedule your interview for a later date and time instead of cancelling, you demonstrate your adaptability and commitment, traits highly valued by employers. It proves that you remain interested in the position and the company despite the circumstances that made you cancel in the first place. The positive impression of rescheduling instead of cancelling a job interview can potentially favour your position in the future.
Final thoughts on how to cancel an interview
In conclusion, while cancelling a job interview may sometimes be necessary, it’s imperative to approach the situation with professionalism and courtesy and follow the abovementioned steps on how to cancel a job interview politely. By being honest and cancelling or rescheduling as soon as possible, you can ensure that your professional reputation remains intact and you don’t burn bridges with your existing recruiter and everyone involved in the hiring process.
Suppose you’ve decided not to cancel, and, following our advice, you have an interview scheduled for a later date. In that case, we have some helpful resources to help you prepare for your job interview, from this great guide on the most commonly asked job interview questions to our extensive candidate advice on video interviews.