Car troubles, sudden illness, a family emergency — sometimes no matter how much you’ve prepared, life can get in the way of your hard-earned job interview. If something comes up that prevents you from attending a job interview, you might be wondering if rescheduling it will cost you the job. As frustrating and stressful as this situation can be, it’s entirely possible to reschedule a job interview without appearing unprofessional. As long as you have a legitimate reason and you inform the hiring manager as soon as possible, you should be able to get your job search back on track.
Rescheduling an interview is a situation that we probably don’t think about until we find ourselves having to deal with it. So what constitutes a legitimate reason to reschedule a job interview? And how should you best go about it if you need to reschedule your interview?
When you should reschedule an interview
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t try to reschedule an interview unless you have a valid reason. While it’s acceptable to reschedule your interview, you should hold off on doing so if there’s a chance of getting around the issue. Hiring managers are human too, so they will understand if you have a good reason, such as an emergency concerning a family member, unexpected car troubles, or an issue with your current job. If you have kids, it’s completely understandable to put their needs first and foremost — for example, collecting them from school if they fall ill. No one will accuse you of being unprofessional for being a good parent.
It’s best to communicate your reasons for rescheduling an interview to the hiring manager without going into too much detail — you don’t need to get too personal in a bid to be more convincing — but by giving them enough information to let them know that your reason is valid, it’s enough. This will help them to schedule a new date and time for your interview. In short, reasons that make sense to the interviewer are totally fine.
When you should NOT reschedule an interview
We’ve looked at some circumstances in which you should reschedule an interview, but when should you think twice about making that awkward phone call?
One situation where it’s best not to reschedule an interview with a company is if you don’t think you’ll be able to attend the interview at all — perhaps because you have secured another interview for another job or you’re thinking about staying in your current role. It might be tempting to postpone the interview until you’ve come to a decision, but in this situation, it would be considered courteous and professional to cancel instead. It is best to respect other people’s time, and a hiring manager for any company will appreciate you informing them of your cancellation with notice. Also, make sure to express your gratitude for the opportunity and job interviews. Remember, your professional reputation may be affected if you rub a potential employer the wrong way in the process.
How to reschedule an interview
If you have done everything you can but there’s just no getting around rescheduling an interview, then it’s important to know how to do it professionally.
Let them know early
The most important thing to remember when rescheduling an interview is to do it as soon as possible. As soon as you realize that you’re not going to be able to attend, contact the hiring manager to inform them of your situation. This is especially important if something comes up on the day of the interview because they may still have time to allocate your slot to another candidate. If not, then you might fall out of their favor for wasting their time. Ideally though, you will know earlier than the last minute that you need to reschedule the job interview. In certain situations, i.e. an emergency, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to let the interviewer know. But the later you leave it, the more your professional reputation could suffer.
Provide a reason
Once you’re certain you can’t attend the scheduled interview, how should you explain this to the interviewer? It is usually a good idea to call directly, but an email to the employer or interviewer is also acceptable, especially if you don’t have a number to call. Provide a legitimate reason for having to reschedule and answer any questions they may have. Don’t forget to emphasize your regret for having to reschedule and make an apology for the inconvenience.
Express your gratitude
You should also make sure to thank them by name for the opportunity and express your enthusiasm for the position. If you have another suitable date and time in mind to reschedule the interview for the position, let them know. Working with hiring managers to figure out a new time to schedule the interview will show them you are flexible and will highlight your interest in the job. Once you have arranged a new time with the employer, follow up to confirm it in advance to make sure they know you are still interested in the interview.
Sometimes life throws surprises our way and there’s just no getting around them. In the event that you can’t attend an interview, rescheduling shouldn’t cost you your dream job. Make sure you have a good excuse to reschedule, and also think about whether it would be best to cancel instead. As long as you let the interviewer know in good time, apologize, and thank them for understanding, you still have a chance of doing the interview later on with your professional reputation intact.
Regardless of the job title or where you put in an application, showing your interest in opportunities for the jobs you want to interview for by calling ASAP to postpone is simply good career advice for any job seeker. Just be an courteous as you possibly can and you’ll be doing all you can do in the event of needing to postpone or cancel.