How To Cancel An Interview (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 18, 2020

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So your upcoming interview isn’t panning out the way you thought it would. Maybe you’ve been looking at the calendar and realizing something isn’t quite right, something unavoidable has suddenly come up, or you feel uninspired by this potential position.

At this rate, you might be thinking about canceling your interview. Fortunately, there are completely valid reasons for canceling your job interview, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty about your decision.

However, keep in mind that you should cancel in a professional and polite manner so you don’t cause any issues with the employer. This is especially true if you’re still interested in the position but have to cancel anyway. In this instance, when you cancel your interview properly, you’ll be able to maintain a professional connection with the company and interviewer.

Overall, knowing how to cancel an interview properly is an essential aspect of basic business etiquette. In this article, you’ll learn the best ways to tackle interview cancellations and reschedules, and see some samples of cancellation messages and emails.

Reasons for Cancelling Your Interview

Canceling an interview may seem unprofessional by nature. But if you don’t have a choice or are confident that you don’t want the job, deciding to cancel promptly isn’t necessarily improper business etiquette. In this way, you avoid wasting the company’s and interviewer’s time.

You don’t have to feel awkward about canceling. Remember that there are valid reasons for taking yourself out of the recruitment process.

For instance, here is a list of appropriate reasons for canceling your interview:

  • You’ve been offered another job that you’d prefer to take

  • There’s been an emergency change in your schedule

  • Your research into the company has shown that the position isn’t a good fit for you

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time
  • You’ve discovered the position is unrelated to your field

  • You’re changing your current field or returning to school to study a new field

  • You suddenly need to move and cannot commute to the company’s location

In some of these examples, you might want to simply reschedule your interview as well. As long as you include this in your message or email, you may be able to arrange a new interview.

Overall, keep in mind that your reason for canceling your upcoming interview is less important than the way you go about the cancellation. Professionalism is key.

How to Cancel Your Interview via Phone Call or Email

Depending on how you’ve been communicating with your interviewer, you should decide whether you want to contact them via phone or email. Generally speaking, if your only contact with them has been through email, you don’t need to consider a phone call. In this case, sending an email will save the employer time, which they will likely appreciate.

On the other hand, if you talked to your contact at the company on the phone most of the time, it’s probably best to give them a quick call. With a phone call, you can confirm that they’ve received your message and allow yourself to come across as sincerely as possible.

When in doubt, regardless of how you decide to cancel your interview, there are a few critical steps you should keep in mind. These steps include:

  1. Give your notice in a timely manner. First and foremost, once you decide to cancel, it’s imperative that you contact the employer as soon as possible. Not only for courtesy’s sake, but also because this step is crucial if you want a chance at rescheduling.

    If possible, be sure to cancel your interview at least a day in advance, as giving the proper notice will show the potential employer that you respect their time.

  2. Inquire about a reschedule if needed. If you’re facing unforeseen circumstances, but you’re still interested in the position, you can attempt to reschedule in your cancellation message. Use your phone call or email to mention times you are available for a new interview, and remember to apologize for the inconvenience.

    Additionally, to reassure the interviewer that you’re reliable and still interested in the position, it can also be helpful to explain your reasoning. You want them to understand your circumstances. After all, they’ll want to be sure you won’t have to cancel again.

  3. Be brief and show business etiquette. Whether you’re interested in rescheduling or not, you should be as polite and professional as possible. Ideally, you should be able to deliver your message in only a few sentences.

    Even if you want to explain why you’re canceling, remember to keep this explanation as brief as possible. More importantly, you should apologize for the cancellation and thank the employer for their time. Following these guidelines will help you maintain your professional network.

  4. Mention interview details. For the sake of courtesy and professionalism, be sure to mention the date, time, location, and job title for the interview you’re canceling. If the employer is working with several different candidates, you’ll be making it as quick and painless as possible for them to identify you.

    Additionally, when you include these details, you’ll make the process of rescheduling much easier for a potential employer.

  5. Don’t burn bridges. To maintain a professional network, it’s important that you show proper business etiquette. Don’t cancel your interview the day of or send a rude, inconsiderate message to the employer.

    Instead, keep in mind that following all these steps will ensure that you maintain a positive and healthy relationship with the company in question.

Cancellation Email Template and Example

Utilizing those five steps, here is an interview cancellation email template and example you can utilize:

Permanent Cancellation Template

Email Subject: [Your name] Interview Cancellation

Dear [interviewer’s name],

I am writing this letter to inform you that I must cancel my [time] interview for the [position title] position scheduled on [date] at [location].

While I value the opportunity, I am no longer available for this position because [insert reason].

I apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your time, consideration, and understanding in this matter.

[Your name]

Permanent Cancellation Example

Email Subject: Molly Parker: Interview Cancellation

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I am writing this letter to inform you that I must cancel my 5:30 pm interview for the Office Manager position scheduled for January 4th at your headquarters.

While I value the opportunity, I am no longer available for this position because I’m moving out of state within the next week.

I apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your time, consideration, and understanding in this matter.

Molly Parker

When You Want to Reschedule Your Interview

Even if rescheduling your interview isn’t ideal, you can write an appropriate email that addresses your cancellation while also inquiring about a new interview. First, think about your reason for rescheduling. If your reason fits with what’s been mentioned in this article thus far, you should be within your rights to request a new interview.

However, if you find yourself missing an interview because you’re hungover, forgot about it, something more fun came up, or you were unprepared in some other way, you might find that you didn’t care enough about the job opportunity to begin with. In this case, it’s not appropriate to ask the employer for a different date.

Usually, though, if you know this job opportunity is valuable to you and truly have no control of the situation at hand, your prospective employer will likely respect your needs.

In general, it’s always good to have a back-up date in mind. Know your schedule and be willing to work with your potential employer. Avoid burning bridges by being as polite and professional as possible. That will give you the best chance of setting up a new interview.

Email Request to Reschedule Example

If you need to reschedule your interview, here is an email template and example that exemplifies good business etiquette:

Reschedule Request Template

Email Subject: [Your name] Interview Reschedule Request

Dear [interviewer’s name],

I am writing this letter to inform you that I must reschedule my [time] interview for the [position title] scheduled on [date] at [location].

Unfortunately, a conflict has arisen in my schedule [or insert reason], and if possible, may we reschedule the interview for [date] between [time]?

I apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your time, consideration, and understanding in this matter.

[Your name]
[Your email]
[Your phone number]

Reschedule Request Example

Email Subject: Samuel Fig: Interview Reschedule Request

Dear Ms. Smith,

I am writing this letter to inform you that I must reschedule my 11:15 am interview for the Head Gardener position scheduled on June 5th at your 533 Park Ln location.

Unfortunately, my mother is in the emergency room, and I need to drive to NY. If possible, may we reschedule the interview for June 9th between 1-3 pm?

I apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your time, consideration, and understanding in this matter.

Samuel Fig

What to Do When You Know Don’t Want to Reschedule

Suppose the employer is highly interested in you, but you know for a fact that you are no longer interested in the position. In that case, the key is to maintain a polite attitude when canceling or declining interview offers.

Things change, and if you no longer want the job, that’s okay.

The best thing you can do is be as honest and upfront as possible, while still maintaining proper business etiquette. Be sure that the employer receives your cancellation email and politely decline any other offers they may give you.

When in doubt, you don’t have to feel ashamed or awkward. Know what you want and how to communicate that professionally. Something as simple as that goes a long way in the job market and workplace.

Take the hassle out of your job search & get an offer faster
Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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