This article will assist you in crafting the ideal email if you need to postpone a job interview.
I’ll outline exactly how to write your cancellation email in the following situations and offer word-for-word email samples for each:
- Canceling a job interview because you received a different offer of employment
- Requesting a date change and canceling an interview
- Cancellation without justification
- Canceling a second or third interview (I’ll show you what to include because this requires a little more personalization if you don’t want to alienate the employer.)
Make sure you read all the way to the end since I’ll also be sharing the top mistakes to avoid when postponing a job interview.
How to Cancel a Job Interview by Email:
Inform the Employer as Soon as Possible
When you’re certain that you want to cancel the interview, let the company know right away. The warning will be appreciated. Instead of a few hours before your interview, it will be much better if you cancel a few days beforehand.
Be Clear and Direct
Sending a 500-word email to cancel a job interview serves no purpose, and waiting until the third paragraph to advise the recruiting manager of your cancellation is ineffective.
When canceling an interview through email, it can be tempting to be vague, but it’s important to be direct and explain your decision right away.
Include the Date of Interview and Job Title in Your Cancelation Email
Consider noting the job title you were under consideration for and the date of your interview when writing to cancel, as some businesses interview many individuals for multiple roles. This will be demonstrated in the first email sample that follows. It’s a good addition, but not entirely necessary, and employers will value it.
Share Your Reasons for Canceling the Job Interview
You can explain to the employer why you had to postpone the interview if you’d like. For instance, it’s helpful to let the employer know if you’re unable to attend the job interview because you’ve accepted another employment so they don’t waste time attempting to reschedule, etc.
You can be more evasive, though, if you don’t feel comfortable disclosing the precise reason why you wish to reschedule your interview. Say, “Unfortunately, I need to cancel the interview as I’m no longer available for new opportunities,” for instance.
Apologize for any Inconvenience
Think about including an apology for the inconvenience in your email if you want to maintain a positive working relationship with this employer and hiring manager.
To accomplish this, start your email by alerting the company that you would like to cancel and end it with a statement like, “I’m sorry for any difficulty caused.”
Ask to Reschedule if You’re Interested
Next, let the company know that you need to reschedule if you are still interested in the position but were unable to make it to the interview at the planned time.
You can add, “If, at all possible, I’d like to reschedule the interview as I’m still interested in the position.”
Additionally, you can discuss your future availability to facilitate schedule changes.
Of course, you don’t need to include this in your email if you just want to cancel the interview without rescheduling.
Sample Emails to Cancel a Job Interview
Sample Email if You’ve Accepted Another Position:
Unfortunately, I need to cancel my job interview scheduled for <Date> for the <Job Title> position.
I’ve accepted a different offer and therefore am no longer active in my job search.
I hope we can keep in touch about future opportunities down the road, and if I come across anyone who would be a good fit for the <Job Title> position at <Company Name>, I’ll put the two of you in touch.
Thank you for considering me for this position and for your time.
Sample Email if You Want to Cancel and Reschedule the Interview:
Unfortunately, I need to reschedule our interview on <Date>
I had an unexpected obligation come up and simply can’t shift it around on my calendar.
Would it be possible to reschedule our interview for the upcoming week? My availability is as follows:
<Share Dates and Times Here>
Email to Cancel an Interview if You Don’t Want to Provide a Reason:
Unfortunately, I need to cancel our interview scheduled for <Date>. My circumstances have changed and I’m no longer available for the position.
I apologize for any inconvenience caused.
Consider Providing More Detail if Canceling a Second or Third Interview
The aforementioned email samples are adequate for canceling the first interview because they are succinct and uncomplicated. However, if you’ve already interacted with an employer or hiring manager by attending one or more interviews (or more), think about providing extra information or perhaps calling them to inform them of your cancellation.
An employer will value a phone call or email that is more in-depth than the examples above if they have taken the time to get to know you through one or two interviews. They want to know if you decided the job wasn’t a good fit, whether you took another job, or whether your circumstances have changed in any other manner.
Example Email for Canceling a Second or Third In-Person Interview:
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the interview scheduled for <Date>.
I’ve decided that the position isn’t a match for the direction I want to head in my career and job search.
I’m going to pursue roles with more emphasis on <Area of Focus You Want> and feel other roles offer that to a greater extent.
I appreciate your time spent discussing the position and I apologize for any inconvenience caused.
I apologize for any inconvenience caused.
If you decide to contact the hiring manager instead of sending an email, you can use the same basic script. This would be appreciated if you’ve already had a few interviews to get to know the person.
Who Should You Email to Cancel an Interview?
It’s recommended to email the HR representative or recruiter who booked your job interview to change your plans.
However, if you have the hiring manager’s direct email and you’re attending a second or third interview after you’ve previously met with them, you might think about writing them a note (or calling them on the phone, as mentioned above).
If you’re unable to attend the scheduled interview, the hiring manager will value a direct update over learning about it via an HR coordinator or recruiter after they’ve taken the time to get to know you.
Is it Unprofessional to Cancel an Interview?
It’s acceptable to postpone or cancel a job interview. In fact, candidates canceling interviews is a fairly typical occurrence. Conflicts in schedules occur, people accept employment offers and are thereafter unavailable, and occasionally people change their minds.
As long as you give proper notice, canceling a job interview is entirely acceptable.
Make sure you’re being clear and professional with the employer by using the interview cancellation email samples above, and think about giving a justification if you can.
Don’t overthink or obsess over it because it’s doubtful that you’ll be the first person to postpone an interview with the organization.
Is it Okay to Cancel an Interview the Day Before?
It is acceptable to postpone your job interview by a day. While canceling with thus little notice isn’t ideal, it is still acceptable and preferable to cancel your interview the same day. Even if you have to postpone an interview, the company will be grateful if you informed them in advance.
Critical Mistakes to Avoid When You Cancel an Interview by Email
Before I wrap up this essay, let me offer a few critical blunders you should steer clear of whenever you need to postpone or cancel an interview.
The first error to avoid is to send the message before being absolutely certain that you wish to cancel. There is no guarantee the company will be able to reschedule (or won’t just hire someone else right away) if you cancel. You never know what will happen once you do.
Therefore, always give your choice great thought before sending a cancellation email.
Next, it’s a mistake to make things tough for the employer if you want to reschedule. You want to make this as simple as you can, so be sorry for your mistake and then list the precise dates and hours you’re accessible.
The third error is sending emails that contain more information than you are comfortable with. When canceling job interviews, it’s courteous and good to provide some basic information about why you’re doing so, especially if you’ve already accepted another job offer. However, you are under no obligation to divulge any information that you don’t feel comfortable doing.
Use the third and least specific email template from the list above if you’re uncomfortable.
However, be aware that if you postpone a job interview and don’t provide the company with at least some information about why you’re probably going to damage your relationship with them.
Conclusion: The Right Way to Cancel a Job Interview
If you’ve read everything up to this point, you now understand how to end an interview without causing a rift.
Interview cancellation is nothing to be afraid of, and as long as you act professionally and let the company know as soon as possible, it’s not necessarily terrible to decline an interview.
Just keep in mind that canceling an interview is more common than you might imagine, and the company will probably comprehend and continue right away.
If you’re interested, you could even be able to maintain contact with that employer about potential job opportunities. Just let them know in your email if you’re interested in staying in touch so they can consider you for other positions.
More email templates for job seekers:
- Follow-up emails after an interview
- Interview thank-you letters
- LinkedIn networking and cold messaging