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How to Cancel An Interview: 5 Expert Tips You Need to Know

How to Cancel An Interview: 5 Expert Tips You Need to Know

We asked five career experts for their top tips on how to cancel an interview to help make the process feel awkward and difficult. After all most job seekers and employers are focused on getting an interview in the first place — however, there are times you will need to cancel an interview.

Before you do anything, make sure that you have a valid reason for cancelling the interview. This could include a personal emergency, a scheduling conflict, or changes to your job search. From being upfront and honest to maintaining respect, here are their tips on how to cancel an interview:

What is your top tip for how to cancel an interview?

Be Upfront and Honest to Avoid Coming Across Flippant

The most important thing is not to come across as flippant or inconsiderate. Remember that you have made a commitment to the candidate, and it is important to uphold your end of the bargain.

You can start out by apologizing to the candidate and offering a sincere explanation as to why you have to cancel the interview. For example, you can say that the hiring manager is out of town or ill, or that the department simply needs more time to vet the candidates. You can also explain that the company has decided to move forward with different candidates. Whatever the reason, it is best to be upfront and honest with the candidate so that they do not leave feeling confused or disrespected.

Follow Up With a Phone Call Or Email

If you need to cancel an interview, I recommend doing it as soon as possible. The earlier you cancel, the more time the interviewer has to fill that slot with another candidate.

My advice is to call or email the interviewer as soon as you know you won’t be able to make it and explain the situation in a concise and professional manner. Be sure to apologize for any inconvenience your cancellation may cause.

And, if possible, offer to reschedule the interview. I believe that being prompt and professional when canceling an interview can help to minimize any negative impact and maintain a positive relationship with the interviewer.

Arkadiusz Terpilowski, Head of Growth & Co-founder, Primetric

Be Proactive, Responsive, and Professional

There are plenty of legitimate reasons why someone may need to cancel an interview. If you’ve been offered a different job, for example, or no longer want the position for any reason, you’ll be wasting both your and the interviewer’s time by attending the scheduled interview.

It’s to both of your benefits to cancel this appointment as soon as possible. That’s the key, though – you want to let the interviewer know as soon as possible. This gives them time to adjust their schedule, as well, or fill in that interview slot with another candidate

 If you don’t feel comfortable explaining the full reasoning, you don’t have to. A simple message stating you need to cancel the interview and are grateful for the opportunity will suffice and will keep you in the good graces of that company if you decide to apply for a role there in the future.

Matt Erhard, Managing Partner, Summit Search Group

Provide as Much Notice As Possible 

One tip on how to cancel an interview is to provide as much notice to the interviewer as possible. Setting up interviews can be a daunting task and if you can give the interviewer notice they will appreciate it.

Let the interviewer know if you would like to reschedule or if you are no longer interested in the position.

Lindsey Hight, HR Professional, Renue Commercial

Be Respectful and Honest When Cancelling

When canceling an interview, one important tip to keep in mind is to be as transparent and respectful as possible. For example, rather than simply sending a generic rejection email, it may be beneficial to suggest a potential rescheduling of the interview if appropriate.

This shows respect for the candidate’s time and will likely leave them with a much more positive impression of your company. It also helps create a culture where communication is open, honest, and direct throughout the recruitment process.

Grace He, People and Culture Director,


Remember, canceling an interview is sometimes unavoidable. However, handling it professionally can help you maintain a positive relationship and keep your options open for better opportunities.