How To Reschedule A Job Interview (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 4, 2020

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You submitted the perfect cover letter and resume and have been invited to start the interview process.

The date has been scheduled with the hiring manager and now all you have to do is prepare for the interview.

This is an exciting moment and huge accomplishment, but then you realize that you mistakenly set the wrong date and have a conflict. In this situation, you may be wondering how do I reschedule my interview without losing the opportunity?

Although it is less than ideal to move an interview that has already been set in stone, it luckily is not uncommon. Having to set up a new date or time for your interview does not automatically end your candidacy, you just have to make sure you take the appropriate course of action.

How to Reschedule a Job Interview

The actual process for rescheduling an interview is important and you want to make sure to maintain your professionalism being that canceling can seem quite the opposite. Done correctly, you will still show respect to the recruiter and the situation will result in a positive result. Here is how to reschedule the right way:

  • Provide as much notice as possible. As soon as you realize you need to reschedule, reach out to the recruiter. This gives both parties more time to find a suitable date and time to avoid having to reschedule again in the future. This also looks better in the hiring managers eyes if you reschedule almost immediately rather than waiting until the day of the interview.

    The best method of contact is always to call, as it is more personal and direct. It is also more efficient then having to go back and forth in an email, especially if the interviewer does not check their email often throughout the day.

    Make sure that you are on top of your schedule and choose a date that works. Beforehand, consider any childcare, medical appointments, or other situations that you may impact your flexibility.

  • Give your reason. Just as there are certain things you should never say in a job interview, there are certain reasons that you should not reschedule an interview.

    You need to give the hiring manager a valid reason for why you need to reschedule the interview. This should not be long and drawn out, be as concise as possible. You also want to be truthful in your reasoning for rescheduling; if you have a more leisurely reason, you may want to reconsider if it is worth the potential impact of moving the interview.

    However, employers understand that situations arise and that interviews may need to be rescheduled. As long as you have a legitimate reason, the interviewer will in most cases be accommodating.

  • Offer an apology. While you are only one person, a hiring manager typically has to manage numerous candidates throughout the application process. This means that they take time and consideration into making their calendars, so having to reschedule is an inconvenience at some level.

    That is why it is courteous to apologize for having to move the interview. Even in situations that are out of your control, this still shows the interviewer that you are also considerate of their time.

  • Provide a new date and time. For a high-demand position, the interviewer may automatically provide you with their next available time to conduct the interview. Otherwise, you will want to give a date range and timeframe to help the interviewer narrow down potential times.

    You always want to get rescheduled as soon as possible; waiting until weeks later puts you at high risk of the vacancy getting filled. While the interviewer may still have you come in, it could result in your information being kept on file but no offer. Also, the sooner you start the interview process the sooner you can potentially land your new job.

  • Say thank you. When the hiring manager is kind enough to reschedule your interview, you want to make sure to thank them. Expressing gratitude is always a positive, and you can also use this as a time to show your enthusiasm for the position.

What to Do if You Are Sick

So what do you do in instances where advance notice may not be an option, such as when you are sick? First off, you should try to relax and not stress yourself out. No one can plan an illness in advance and the situation is out of your control.

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Also, do not consider still coming if you are exhibiting symptoms such as a fever, runny nose, shortness of breath, or cough. This puts the interviewer and the entire organization at risk, and they may ultimately cancel the interview upon your arrival.

Instead focus on how to communicate to the hiring manager that you will no longer be able to make it in. Give them a call and let them know that due to illness, you need to reschedule the interview.

Typical Reasons For Rescheduling An Interview

Being sick is one of the most understandable reasons for rescheduling an interview, because your health should be your first priority. However, there are other incidents that may make it necessary.

  • A family emergency. Sometimes you are not directly the reason that you need to reschedule, but it is instead because of a loved one. Employers understand that you may have a spouse, child, or other family member that needs your help. This may include an injury, illness, or a recent death.

  • A work commitment. Even though your objective in interviewing is to get a new job, you still need to take your current obligations into consideration. It is possible that your work schedule changes frequently, and you do not have the scheduled interview day off. Another scenario is last-minute travel arranged by your employer for a business meeting.

    In these types of situations, you should feel comfortable having to reschedule. You want to maintain a positive relationship with your current employer, and the company you are interviewing with will also appreciate that you honor commitments.

  • Unexpected car troubles. No one can plan for a flat tire or dead battery. If this happens, you should call the hiring manager to alert them that there is an issue. You do not need to cancel at this point and should try and see if you can make other arrangements to get to your interview on time.

    If you find that you cannot, call the hiring manager back as soon as possible to let them you will need to reschedule. By letting the employer know beforehand that there could be a potential issue, they will be more understanding that you need to set up a new time to interview.

  • A competing interview. If you have been applying to multiple positions, you may hear back from a different recruiter regarding another job. If the scheduling conflicts and you feel the other opportunity is worth accommodating, ask to reschedule with the hiring manager.

    While you do not want to be abrasive in stating that you have a better job prospect, you should be honest if the recruiter asks for a reason why. It speaks well your character by being honest and simply letting the interviewer know that you want to be able to accommodate both opportunities as you continue your job search.

Make Sure To Confirm The New Date

Once you have successfully rescheduled your interview, it is a good idea to send a follow-up confirming the new date and time.

The best way to do this is via email, so that everything is in writing. You can combine your thank you and your confirmation, once again expressing your appreciation for still being able to interview at a later date.

How to Prepare if You Don’t Reschedule a Job Interview

After careful consideration, you may actually be able to keep your interview as scheduled. You may have realized that your reasoning was not strong enough to reschedule. For example, if you were considering cancelling due to staying up to late, or to attend an event with friends, it would not be in your best interest to reschedule.

If you do not reschedule your interview, you will want to make sure you are prepared for the big day.

This starts with getting adequate sleep the night before to ensure that you are well-rested. It is also a good idea to go ahead and plan your interview attire, making sure it fits in with the company culture.

You should have already spent time rehearsing your answers to avoid any awkward interview moments where you are unsure what to say. A few options include rehearsing with a close friend or setting up a mock interview for a more realistic experience.

Mock interviews will also give you more insight on your answers and overall communication, making sure that you describe yourself in the best possible manner during your interview.

When you arrive at your interview, be courteous and respectful to your interviewer as well as any front desk staff or security. Bring a few copies of your resume in case you have more than one interviewer and keep them contained neatly with a portfolio or notebook.

The latter will also be beneficial when it comes time to collect contact information to later on write your thank-you notes for the interviewers.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

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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