How to Decline an Interview After It’s Already Been Scheduled

You need to have your house painted. You’ve set up appointments with several painters to come to the house and give you estimates, and you’ve arranged to take off work to meet with them. Imagine how you’d feel if one doesn’t show and another waits until the last minute to cancel his appointment. At the very least, you’re not going to be impressed with their professionalism, and you’re not likely to recommend them to others. The same can be said when cancelling a job interview. You damage your professional credibility and risk a negative reputation if you cancel in a disrespectful manner.

Think about the benefits of going through with the interview, even if you have another job opportunity or have changed your mind about wanting to work for this company. First, you’ll get a chance to hone your interviewing skills. You also may impress the interviewer to the point that he becomes a supporter in your professional network. Finally, if your other opportunity falls through, you have left the door open to reconsider the interviewer’s company. For these reasons, job experts advise strongly against cancelling interviews.

Contact the interviewer immediately if you’re going to go ahead with cancelling the interview. Call the individual with whom you initially set up the interview appointment. Make at least three efforts to reach your contact before resorting to leaving a voicemail. Send an email, as well, if the contact communicated with you via email. Provide at least a week’s notice of your intent to cancel to minimize any inconveniences caused by your decision. Follow up with a formal business letter, expressing thanks for the individual’s time and consideration.

Prepare a brief, truthful explanation about why you’re canceling a scheduled interview. Say something to the effect of, “I have accepted another job,” or “I have decided to move my job search in another direction.” Speak in a courteous tone when informing your contact of your decision to cancel. Thank the contact for the time she has taken up to that point to consider your application. Leave the contact with a favorable impression of you in the event that you might re-apply at that company in the future.

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