Let’s get one thing straight — it’s not unprofessional to cancel or reschedule an interview…If you do it right.
When canceling an interview, make sure you have a valid reason (you accepted a different offer, you’re no longer interested, you’re sick, or there’s an emergency), make sure you contact the right person, be concise yet professional and polite, and notify the employer as soon as possible (nobody likes last minute cancelations).
This guide will give you all the tips you need on how to cancel (or reschedule) an interview without burning bridges.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- How to cancel an interview (with email templates and phone call scripts to use)
- How to reschedule an interview (with sample emails)
- Best practices for canceling an interview professionally
- Common mistakes to avoid
When Should You Cancel an Interview?
It’s okay to cancel an interview if:
- You accepted another offer
- You think you’re not the right fit for the job or company
If you’re still interested in the position, but can’t make it for the interview, it’s totally okay to ask to reschedule. Here are some situations when you can ask to reschedule:
- You have a personal or family emergency
- You’re facing sudden health issues
- There’s a scheduling conflict
Preparing for an interview? Use this Free Course to help you answer all the most common questions.
How to Cancel an Interview Because You Got a Job
TL;DR: tell the truth. They’ll understand (and maybe even make a counter-offer!) as long as you’re courteous and professional.
Here are some interview cancellation email templates you can use.
Example #1 — A formal interview cancellation email sample
I’m reaching out to let you know that I have accepted an offer from another employer and will be withdrawing my application for the [Job Title] at [Company Name].
I want to thank you and the team for considering me for this role.
I apologize for the inconvenience, and I understand the importance of respecting your time and efforts in the hiring process.
Thank you again for your time and consideration. I wish you the best in your search for candidates for the role.
Example #2 — An informal interview cancellation email sample
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to interview for the [Job Title] at [Company Name].
Unfortunately, I have accepted a job offer at another company, so I’d like to cancel my interview scheduled for [Date] at [Time].
Thank you for considering me and I appreciate the time and effort that went into reviewing my application and arranging the interview.
I hope we’ll stay in touch on LinkedIn and I wish you luck in your search for the right person!
Example #3 — A semi-formal interview cancellation email sample
Dear Mr./Ms. [Interviewer’s Name],
Thank you for scheduling an interview with me for the position of [Job Title] at [Company Name].
I appreciate your consideration but I need to cancel the interview scheduled for [Day], [M/D/Y] at [Time].
I have decided to accept another offer and am withdrawing my application.
I apologize for any inconvenience this cancellation causes and thank you for your time and consideration.
Pro tip: Some of these email samples are more formal than others. Your tone should depend on the company’s own brand tone and the communication you’ve had with them so far. If the culture is more laid back, your language in the email can also be more conversational. You can always mix the messages above and add some personal touch to make it more authentic.
How to Reschedule an Interview Due to Scheduling Conflicts
Rescheduling is extra tricky, and career coaches generally advise against rescheduling unless absolutely necessary. Here are a few reasons why:
- You may seem unprofessional. It’s easy to think that someone is disorganized and sloppy if they can’t manage their calendar. Employers may take your rescheduling as a sign that you don’t prioritize your commitments, don’t live up to your word, and that you’re not serious about the position.
- It’s inconvenient for the employer, especially if you were supposed to meet with multiple people. The interviewer took a lot of effort to ensure everyone was available on that particular date and time. Your rescheduling will disrupt other people’s schedules and impact their perception of you.
- You may miss the opportunity. You may be the strongest candidate, but the employer may decide to move forward with someone else who was available to interview on the original date, especially if they’re looking to fill the position quickly.
There’s a lot to lose. To make sure you don’t jeopardize your chances, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Communicate clearly and promptly. The interviewer’s time is valuable, and you want to stay on good terms.
- Apologize for causing inconvenience.
- Suggest alternative dates and times in your email. This will minimize back-and-forth emails between you and the interviewer.
Here’s a template for rescheduling an interview:
Hello [Interviewer’s Name],
I’m writing to ask to reschedule our job interview which was originally booked for [Date and Time].
I have an unexpected scheduling conflict that unfortunately makes it impossible for me to attend the interview at that time.
I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. I’m extremely interested in [Position] with [Company], and I’d be happy to discuss alternative dates and times.
Here are some time slots that work for me:
[Date and Time]
[Date and Time]
[Date and Time]
If none of these works for you, please let me know of some alternatives.
I appreciate your understanding in this matter.
How to Reschedule an Interview Because You’re Sick
If you suddenly come down with the flu, fever, or any other illness, it’s best to ask to reschedule.
In this situation, keep your message concise and mention the reason why you’re rescheduling briefly. It’s enough to let the employer know you’re unwell. No need to go into too much detail and disclose anything you don’t feel like disclosing.
Here’s a template to reschedule an interview if you’re sick:
Hello [Interviewer’s Name],
I’m writing to ask if it’s possible to reschedule my interview booked for [Date and Time].
Unfortunately, I’ve been sick for the last few days and won’t be able to make it.
I apologize for the inconvenience, I’m extremely interested in [Position] with [Company] and I’d be happy to discuss alternative dates and times.
I’m hoping to feel better by [Day], so if it’s possible to reschedule the interview for after then, I would greatly appreciate it.
I appreciate your understanding and hope to hear back from you soon.
Pro tip: If you’re feeling well enough to do the interview, but don’t want to make other people sick, you can suggest taking the interview online. Some employers may still want to meet you in person and will agree to reschedule. Others will appreciate your consideration and be glad to hold the interview on Zoom or Meet. Still, if you’re unwell and think your condition will affect your performance, ask to reschedule.
Best Practices for Canceling or Rescheduling an Interview
When canceling or rescheduling your interview appointment, follow these basic rules:
1. Notify the right person
When canceling or rescheduling an interview, it’s vital to contact the right person. Typically, this would be the person who scheduled it. It can be a recruiter, a hiring manager, or an interview coordinator.
2. Make sure to cancel or reschedule promptly
When you decide you don’t want the position, cancel the interview immediately. It’s best to do it at least a few days before. Don’t wait until the last minute, and show consideration for the interviewer’s time and effort by informing them as soon as possible.
3. Include your details
Hiring managers may be interviewing multiple candidates for different positions. You can make their lives easier if you include your details — put your name in the email subject, and in the body of the email, include the position you were applying for, as well as the date and time when the interview was scheduled for.
4. Provide a clear and concise reason
Not giving them the “why” will seem awkward at best (and plain rude at worst). Of course, there’s no need to overwhelm the employer with too much information. Just mention the reason briefly in a single sentence and move on.
- If you’ve accepted another offer: “I’ve decided to accept an offer at a different company, and wanted to let you know that I won’t be proceeding with my application at [Company Name]”.
- If a family member died: “There’s been a death in the immediate family and I’ll be out of town on the day of the interview.”
- If there’s an important meeting you have to attend at the same time as the interview: “I have a scheduling conflict that makes it impossible for me to attend the interview at the agreed time.”
- If you’re sick: “I’ve been feeling sick for the last few days and won’t be able to make it.”
- If you’re moving to another city, say: “I’ve decided to move to another city and am withdrawing my application.”
5. Be professional and polite
Your email should be short and to the point, but don’t forget to remain courteous and polite. Even if you’re canceling, you never know when you’ll come across the interviewer again. And if you’re rescheduling, you definitely don’t want to burn bridges.
If you’re canceling because you no longer want the position, let the interviewer know you are both canceling the interview and withdrawing your application. If you need to reschedule, give them as much notice as possible.
Either way, make sure to thank them for their time and effort. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, the interviewer invested a lot of time in the hiring process, so be appreciative.
Finally, express your regret for any inconvenience you’re causing by canceling. Acknowledging the interviewer’s effort will soften the blow and help you maintain a positive impression and professional demeanor.
Something like: “I apologize for any inconvenience and sincerely appreciate your time and consideration” will do.
6. Express gratitude for the opportunity (if canceling)
Lastly, thank them for the opportunity. Only 2–4 candidates typically end up shortlisted and invited to an interview. If you made it that far, it means they really liked you. Offer to stay in touch because you never know if and when your paths will cross again.
What Are the Next Steps When Rescheduling?
For rescheduled interviews — your reputation and seriousness are at risk. So put in some extra effort in the follow-up.
- Reassure them you’re still interested. It’s important to reaffirm your interest and tell them you look forward to meeting them.
- Confirm the new interview date and time. Ideally, you already suggested some alternative dates and times in your email. Once they book your next interview, try not to be too restrictive, and agree to meet them when it suits them.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Keep a close eye on your email and phone, and try to respond as fast as possible. The hiring manager is working hard to find another time to interview, so show consideration and professionalism.
- Stay prepared for your interview. Family emergencies and illness can throw you off your game. A few days before your next interview, make sure to go over some of the most common interview questions and practice your answers.
This is a key step because, since you already rescheduled the interview, you’d want to put in the extra effort and show how great you are.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Canceling an Interview
Next, some pitfalls to avoid when you want to cancel or reschedule your job interview.
1. Don’t ghost the company
Rule #1 when canceling an interview is to let the employer know. Ghosting a company after they’ve put so much effort into assessing you, reviewing your resume, and maybe having the initial screening interview is inappropriate and unprofessional.
It’s uncomfortable to let anyone down, but you should be respectful and inform the company that you changed your mind.
2. Don’t cancel or reschedule at the last minute
Many interviewers will be very flexible and open to rescheduling, but you need to know they’re on tight schedules too. If you need to cancel or reschedule, reach out as soon as possible. This will make it much easier for them to find you a slot for the next interview (if you’re rescheduling), or invite someone else to interview (in case you’re canceling).
If you really have to reschedule or decline an interview at the last minute, make sure to apologize sincerely. In situations like these, you may want to email the employer, but also confirm over the phone in case they missed your message.
3. Don’t provide vague or dishonest reasons
In other words: don’t lie. It’s fine to reschedule if you have a solid reason. You will be blacklisted if you lie that your dog died and then post pictures of you on vacation (perhaps even with that very dog). You’ll ruin your chances if you’re caught red-handed.
4. Don’t over-explain or overshare
Equally problematic — over-explaining or sharing too much irrelevant or personal information in an attempt to assure the interviewer your circumstances are real. This often happens to conscientious candidates who know perfectly well that rescheduling does not make them look good.
5. Don’t burn bridges
Finally, even if you’re 100% sure you’re declining the opportunity now, it’s good to keep the door open. After all, you applied and were considered a top-tier candidate.
You may end up applying for a different position months or years later, and you don’t want to be recognized as brash, impolite, or flaky.
So even if you’re stepping back, it’s wise to stay connected to the hiring team on LinkedIn, follow their updates, and nurture the relationship.
Canceling or rescheduling an interview is not the end of the world, but need to handle it correctly.
And if you’re rescheduling, you need to stay on top of your game and be extra prepared for the interview day.
Here’s how we can help:
1. Check out these tips on how to prepare for an interview
2. Master answering “Tell me about yourself” to start your interview strong
3. Practice your answers to common interview questions with this handy tool (Rated 4.9/5 by 1,000,000 users)
Is it unprofessional to cancel an interview?
No, it’s not unprofessional to cancel an interview as long as you provide proper notice and a valid reason. Be respectful and communicate promptly to maintain a positive impression. Unforeseen circumstances can arise, and most employers will appreciate your honesty.
How do you cancel an interview without burning bridges?
Contact the interviewer as soon as you know you can’t attend. Provide a valid reason, apologize for the inconvenience, and express your gratitude for their understanding. If applicable, state your interest in their future listings that might align with your career progression and interests.
What if I need to reschedule an already rescheduled interview?
First of all, be prepared that the employer may not be willing to accommodate another rescheduling. Acknowledge the inconvenience, apologize sincerely, and provide a very strong reason for needing the change. Offer a few alternative dates and times for the interview to show flexibility and commitment to the process.
Should I go to an interview for a job I don’t want?
No, don’t waste your and the interviewer’s time. Instead, politely decline the interview as soon as you realize you’re not interested. Focus on opportunities that align with your interests and career goals.
Is it bad to decline an interview altogether?
No, it’s not bad. Be courteous and provide a brief explanation for your decision. This leaves a good impression and maintains a positive relationship with the company for potential future opportunities.
Is it OK to cancel an interview last minute?
It’s not an ideal situation — always aim to cancel as soon as you learn you won’t be able to make it (a few days in advance, or at least the day before). Canceling on the day of the interview may ruffle some interviewers, so try not to do it unless really necessary. If this is your only option, make sure to apologize and acknowledge the inconvenience.
Is it better to cancel in an email or over the phone?
Email is usually the safer and more professional option — it offers a written record that might make things easier for the company you’re in the process with. A phone call is usually okay in the case of less formal recruitment processes (and only if you’ve been in touch with them over the phone before). It can also allow for some immediate discussion, if necessary.
How do I stay organized during the job search process?
Create a spreadsheet or use a job search management tool to track application statuses, deadlines, interview dates, and contact information for each company. Regularly update your progress and set reminders for important tasks, like following up on applications or sending thank-you notes after interviews.