You’ve finally snagged an interview for your dream job at a company you’re really excited about. You’re looking forward to it, you’re getting ready, and then suddenly something comes up. How can you manage the situation gracefully while keeping your hiring chances alive? Here are some tips:
Do you still want the job?
If you’ve decided you don’t want to pursue the opportunity anymore—whether you’re just no longer interested or you’ve accepted another position—you need to let your interviewer know. Call them and let them know that you’re withdrawing your application. Make sure not to burn a bridge; be thankful for their time and interest, and leave things on a good note.
Do you really need to cancel?
Are you ill? Is there a family emergency? Is there a blizzard piling up snow on your doorstep? These are all great reasons to cancel an interview. Did you finally snag a lunch date with your crush? Are you having a bad hair day? Do you feel nervous and just want more time to prepare? These are horrible reasons to cancel an interview. Make sure that you have a valid reason before proceeding.
Cancel as soon as you know you need to.
There are few things that are less professional than canceling an interview at the last minute. People understand if an emergency presents itself, but if you start canceling interviews all over town, word is going to get out about you, and not in the positive way you’re hoping for. Try to give at least twenty-four hours notice to your interviewer and more if possible.
Simply call your interviewer and explain that a conflict has come up. If pressed to be more specific, clarify with a general answer: a family crisis; a scheduling conflict; a household mishap. Don’t get overly descriptive about your unreliable brother who fell through on his promise to take your grandmother to her surgery or your horrible landlord who let the pipes in your apartment burst. Remember to maintain your professionalism.