How to Cancel an Interview for a Valid Reason (+ Email Examples) [2020]

It is a common occurrence for a job candidate to have to cancel an upcoming job interview. Various situations like an at-home emergency, deciding to go with a job offer or determining that there wasn’t a “good fit” for the candidate and the employer. Depending on the reason, a few steps should be taken to ensure the employer is aware of the situation and proceeds to the desired next steps (withdrawing from the interview process or rescheduling the interview).

Common Reasons to Cancel an Interview

As a job seeker and job candidate, below are common reasons for canceling an upcoming interview:

  • A family or health emergency.
  • Accepting a job offer from another company.
  • Deciding and determining an inappropriate fit for the job role.
  • Deciding on alternative career paths.
  • Deciding to return to school.
  • Deciding company benefits and salary were unacceptable.
  • Deciding the relocation or commute was unacceptable.

All of these are considered a “good reason” or acceptable reason ("valid reason") to have to cancel an interview. A less appropriate reason would be something like, "needing to prepare for an important lunch or dinner."

How to Cancel an Interview by Phone or Email

To cancel an interview as an applicant, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Inform the employer as soon as possible.
  • Step 2: Request to reschedule the interview along with informing the employer of the reason or need to reschedule.
  • Step 3: Be brief and direct with the employer.
  • Step 4: Reinforce being thankful for the opportunity and show apologetic nature to the employer, interviewer, or hiring manager for having to reschedule.

These steps are applicable for a phone interview, in-person interview, or virtual interview (Zoom or other video conferencing platform).

While it may be best to send a recruiter or hiring manager an email informing them of the cancellation, a phone call can be a sufficient way as well. Employers may prefer to be notified by email so that future scheduling can be made easier. But if the cancellation is “last minute”, a phone call should be made to the prospective employer.

Interview Cancellation Tips

When needing to reschedule an interview, it can be helpful to the interviewer to include availability or times to reschedule the appointment. Include a schedule of three to four dates and times for the interviewer to choose from.

Always express a sincere apology for having to reschedule or cancel the interview with the potential employer. Especially if rescheduling “last minute” on the interviewer.

Mentioning the interview time in the email can be helpful for the employer or interviewer if they have a larger number of upcoming interviews. It can be useful to mention the interview time and job title as reference.

Deciding to decline an interview invitation is a similar process to cancelling a job interview. To learn more about declining an interview invitation, go here.

Interview Cancellation Email Examples by Reason

Below are email examples canceling an upcoming interview by reason.

Reschedule and cancel due to an emergency example

Email subject: Emergency - Need to Reschedule Interview

Dear John —

I apologize for having to do this but I have a family emergency that needs to be tended to. We have a scheduled interview for this Thursday and I was hoping we could move it to next week.

I have availability between 9 am and noon on Monday or 9 am and noon on Tuesday.

Once again, I really appreciate your flexibility here.
Sam

Reschedule and cancel due to accepting another job offer example

Email subject: Cancelling an Upcoming Interview

Dear John —

I appreciate the opportunity to interview with you and speak with you about this job opportunity. I’ve decided to accept another job offer that better fits with my career path. I want you to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me about the opportunity and for us to get connected.

Sincerely,
Sam

Cancel an interview appointment example

Email subject: Cancelling our Interview Appointment

Dear John —

I’m really sorry to have to do this but I’d like to cancel our upcoming interview. To be perfectly honest, I need time to consider my career path and where my passions are. And I would be disappointed to join the team and not be able to fulfill the needs of the role due to a lack of passion.

I hope you can understand and we can get connected once again in the near future.

Thanks so much,
Sam
author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

Share

Help us by spreading the word