5 Steps To Cancel a Job Interview Professionally

Want to learn how to professionally cancel a job interview that you are no longer interested in or how to make your employer reschedule the interview to your preferred time? This guest article from the founder of New Balance Jobs will help you greatly.


About Cancelling an Interview

During the hiring process, you may encounter an event that requires you to cancel a job interview.  Calling or sending a cancellation notice via email allows you to maintain a professional contact with the company and the interviewer. 

Learning the steps to cancel can be a guide to being courteous and following basic business etiquette.  In this article, we discuss how to cancel a job interview and provide a form and an example to cancel an interview via email.

Canceling your interview as soon as possible allows a potential employer to continue the hiring process without even thinking of you. It can help the interviewer reschedule his time to suit his needs.

Notice cancellation can also demonstrate your professionalism and can help you maintain contact with the hiring manager. This is especially important if you think you may want to apply with them again in the future.

In some cases, you may need to reschedule your interview. If you plan to reschedule, make sure you have a list of the alternate times you are available so that you can prepare for your interview right away.

Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to let the employer know as soon as possible that you will not be able to arrive at the interview appointment.  If possible, do not wait until the last minute.  Tell the employer as soon as you realize you cannot do this.

Is it unprofessional to cancel a job interview?

Canceling a job interview doesn’t look exactly right.  But if you are confident that you don’t want the job, then making a wise decision about your career and not wasting anyone else’s time is not necessarily unprofessional.  Of course, there are ways to cancel an interview more professionally.

So, while canceling a job interview can be awkward, you can save a lot of time on yourself and the potential employer by excluding yourself from the hiring process.

When you shouldn’t cancel a job interview

You don’t have to cancel an interview if you really want the job or if there’s still a chance that you want the job.  If you need to reschedule your interview, that’s a different story.

In other words, do not cancel the interview because you fell ill, were unable to take a day off from your current job or had a family emergency;  Instead, request rescheduling.

Likewise, don’t cancel the interview just because you were running late because you didn’t take into account the crowding or extra sleep, were unable to find a babysitter, were tired, or anything else that would have been avoided if you had planned in advance.

How to Cancel a Job Interview


Give (at least) 24 hours notice


Interviews aren’t the only thing you have to be meticulous about.  If you really want to cancel a show, it is very essential that you do so as soon as you discover that you cannot attend.

This is because recruiters often have such a short time that the period of time you missed can be used to interview another candidate.

Since the interviewer had to allocate space on their calendar to be able to stand unexpectedly – the least you could do was give them the opportunity to dedicate it to something else.

Remember: Leave it too late, and you could end up ruining your professional reputation, putting your chances of any potential future opportunities at risk.


Use the phone


We hate breaking it for you.  But the text doesn’t always cut it – especially if you’re canceling an interview.  To ensure you are able to send a personal and professional message, try calling first. Not only will you be able to get an immediate response, but you’ll also handle the situation with the urgency it deserves.

Sending email might seem like a valid option – but it can be lost or sent to a junk folder, let alone read the next day if the recipient has a long list of messages to access.

Plus, if you’re looking to reschedule a back and forth phone conversation is a more effective way to set a new date that works for both of you.  And if they do not pick up?  Do not panic.  Leaving a voicemail and / or sending an email asking them to call back is a great way to cover all the bases.




Because canceling an interview is not something that you have to deal with casually.  To acknowledge the inconvenience you may be causing, always take time to apologize – even if it wasn’t your fault.

For example; your car may have broken down unexpectedly, but that doesn’t mean you should use your phone call as an opportunity to talk about the impact of the mechanic’s inferior work on you. Be humble, considerate, and apologetic, and the more likely you will get a polite response.

If you don’t want to reschedule, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say sorry. Always thank the employer for this opportunity, apologize for your inability to attend, and tell them that you will contact you if your circumstances change.

Give a good reason


When it comes to explaining the reason for canceling, not everything will lead to a cut.  Although honesty is important, you must also maintain a good level of professionalism. So aside from making sure that your reason justifies the cancellation, you should avoid exaggerating the details as well.

This means giving a good and honest reason (say, you got another job) – then avoiding the temptation to exaggerate or detail.  Being immersed in the personal aspects of your life not only makes you look unprofessional, but it may also put your credibility at risk.


Follow up


Finally, follow-up isn’t just post-interview.  If you are anxious to reschedule (or have previously) – send a follow-up email to reiterate your interest in the company and the role, and apologize once again for the inconvenience the cancellation may have caused.

Even though your original phone call might have been completely honest, there’s no guarantee that the employer still has harsh feelings.  After all, you had to tell them you couldn’t attend, but you didn’t have to send a follow-up email.

Show them that you care enough to put in the effort, and they are more likely to consider you in the future.


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