2 essential things you need to know before cancelling an interview

Two things to remember when cancelling an interview are timing and the medium of communication (Shutterstock.com)

Things come up all the time, and sometimes that means cancelling a scheduled interview. If you find yourself in this predicament, consider the following...

Turning down an interview can never be an easy task, and it becomes even worse when you’d love to accept the offer but the timing just isn’t right. Maybe, you have another interview scheduled for the same day, or perhaps you can’t leave your current job just yet.

No matter what the case may be, you want to decline the invitation without painting yourself in a bad light, just in case another opportunity is available. So, can you cancel the interview in a way that the hiring manager understands?

Of course yes! Just keep these things in mind…

The two most important aspects to remember when cancelling an interview are your timing and the medium of communication you use:

1. Respect the hiring manager’s time

Get in touch with the interviewer as soon as you find out that you need to cancel your interview. If you wait till the last minute to cancel it, it will be a wasted effort and you’ll come across as disrespectful.

Although you may be keen to interview for the same position another time, keep in mind that your timing may never be right. Sometimes, the same position may always be available, such as call centre agents (interested? Take a look here). In other cases, positions need to be filled in ASAP and so you can’t expect the company to wait for when the time is right for you. Either way it’s important to respect other peoples’ time – they’ll respect yours too. Also, notifying the hiring manager sooner rather than later, will compensate for your cancellation.

2. While a well-crafted email may do the trick, picking up the phone is usually a better option

Be honest about your reason for cancelling the interview – the hiring manager will take more kindly to the news. If for personal reasons you can’t provide further details, make that clear, but do give as much detail as you can. You can share how excited and thankful you are for the company’s consideration, and how given different circumstances, you would have loved to accept it. Then mention your interest in being kept in the loop if new positions are available in the future.

Read: Things you should always do the night before the interview

If you can’t reach the hiring manager and need to leave a message, note the name of the person you’ve left the message with - it will add a personal connection.

Keep in touch

If you’re really keen to be notified about new opportunities as they become available, make an effort of keeping the communication lines open. Truth is your CV and cover letter has either been thrown in the bin or has been digitally archived with the other candidates who didn’t make the cut.

Follow the company on social media; send articles you think they may be interested in, tweet about any of their developments you think are awesome, etc. In this way, when you’re ready to get in touch with the company again, the hiring manager will have an idea of who you are.

Of course things do happen and you’ll have to cancel at the last minute. It’s understandable, and the hiring manager may understand too. Still, make cancelling interviews a seldom habit. Keep in mind that the professional world, especially among recruitment agencies can be small. Word will spread fast if you make a habit of ditching your interviews, making it hard to get a job.