Cancelling an Interview

We’ve all done it or know someone who has. You’ve spoken to the recruitment agency or the hiring manager, you’ve seen the job spec and like the sound of the role and after applying you are invited for an interview!

But… In the cold light of day once the excitement of that interview invite has died down you suddenly realize that maybe this job is not the one for you. The location might not be as suitable as you thought or perhaps the OTE is not at a level you can look at after doing some number crunching. What do you do once you have decided that this is not the opportunity for you or even if it is the role for you but you now can’t make the agreed time?

Honesty. One word that can shape your ongoing relationship with the hiring manager or recruiter who is helping you secure a new job. Even in a short space of time it is amazing the excuses people give when they don’t want to go through with an interview or job offer. Some of the suggestions you can come across on the Internet on how to handle the situation are jaw dropping, one blog suggested creating as vague a lie as possible to avoid getting caught up in too much detail and then, should the interview be arranged for another time to lie, lie, lie in the interview if you are asked why it had to be to be rearranged the first time.

The same blog did have a couple of pointers that were valid one of which was to contact the interviewer or recruitment agency the day before at the latest and make sure you tell them live, rather than leaving an answer phone message, email or even a text message as this will come across as very unprofessional. You will undoubtedly not be the first person the recruitment agency or hiring manager has had cancel an interview and they will have heard all the excuse before and will generally see through them so be honest and open and don’t close any doors for the future.

It is probably beneficial to avoid cancelling interviews. Even though you may have already decided that this opportunity is not for you there is nothing to lose as you can gain interview experience and more knowledge about the employer and the company and can be a fantastic networking opportunity.

If you are still interested in pursuing the opportunity there are a number of things you can do to lessen the impact on your credibility and stop yourself looking like a risky future employee. Before you contact the agency or hiring manager to cancel / reschedule take a look at your calendar and select a number of other dates and times that you would be available within a couple of days of the original interview date. Call and speak to the person and be honest as to why you can’t make it. Be sure it is a valid, sensible reason. Reschedule the interview and send a letter or email apologizing again for the inconvenience and confirming your attendance at the rearranged date. Turn up on time and well prepared for the rescheduled interview and blow them away!

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