How to Reschedule a Job Interview Respectfully

How to Reschedule a Job Interview Respectfully

We all are humans, and we can face all kinds of unexpected events on our daily paths. It is possible that on the eve of the interview, a recruiter will call you and tell that the interview is rescheduled for some other time or date (and will not even give reasons for that). You may get angry, but it happens. Now consider a reverted situation: you have some true emergency on your hands and need to reschedule the interview. Just as an employer can do it, so can you. Don`t worry whether is it ok to reschedule an interview, do it respectfully and do it as soon as possible.

Some say that it diminishes your chances of getting a job, but trying to make it to the interview location and failing because of troubles diminishes them even more. So read on and devise your emergency plan for rescheduling (although we hope you will not need it).

Give a Valid Reason

First of all, the reasons should be very, very urgent and solid. Not getting a fresh haircut or not buying a cool new suit does not count as valid. What reasons count as serious: they can be varied and also depend on the place where you live and time of the year:

  • Illnesses – yours or family member;
  • natural disasters;
  • commuting troubles;
  • or your personal considerations (getting an interview that is more desired).

They all count as valid obstacles.

However, there are the most common causes and explanations that do not raise questions and are treated as acceptable and excusable.

–    Health. Your health issues or health troubles of your close relatives are strong enough reasons to reschedule. If you got something contagious or something that renders you weak and unable to move more than 10 feet from the restroom, you simply could not show up in the office. You will either spread the disease to other workers or make an employer feel guilty (or irritated). This is not what you need from this interview.

–   Work Obligation. You cannot risk losing an old job before actually getting a new one. If an unexpected meeting or business trip looms over you – reschedule the interview.

–   Personal Issues. Personal does not mean that you are in a bad mood and so can cancel the meeting. Personal can relate to having commuting troubles – cancellation of a train or flight is you go from a remote place. It can also refer to natural disasters like storms and blizzards. If it is said in the news that people are asked to stay at home and not to undertake any long trips because it can cost them lives – you should believe this news and reschedule an interview for later.

–   Family Emergency. When your kids fall ill and need hospital treatment, or older relatives do need care (or death occurs), it is also a grim but solid reason to reschedule. A babysitter is not a solution in some cases, and so you have to take care of everything personally. But if anything can wait (it is not an emergency but a long-planned routine visit to a dentist) – better move it to some other date and show up for the interview.

Contact the Interviewer at Once

The main rule is: notify the employer as soon as possible. If you know, you cannot show up for the meeting three days before it, do not delay for the eve of the interview. Canceling the meeting very close to the appointed time is rude and breaks plans of an employer. It can really cost you a job – if it is not a very valid and serious emergency. So as soon as you understand that you cannot come on an appointed date – notify the people.

How to do it? Tips and opinions differ on that matter. Some suggest calling the employer in office hours. The downside is that the person may be very busy and get angry at you for disrupting the workflow. This negative feeling plus interview delay may cost you a job in total. But if it is an emergency – just call, no other options.

If there is a couple of days ahead, send a polite and brief email (the less you say, the less you have to apologize for). Check your mail regularly and as soon as people respond that the interview can be rescheduled, write a ‘thank you’ and mention when you are ready to arrive. You may also want to call not the employer directly but call the reception or a secretary and say that you sent a letter (just to be sure they open it – but not overdo with it).

If possible, reschedule for the next day, a couple of days or even later on the same day. It means the employer will not forget you amidst other applicants.

Email Template to Reschedule a Job Interview

Such letters should be brief, very polite, and provide the right amount of information. Name the valid reason but do not describe the graphic details of illness you have. For example, take this sample as a pattern for your own writing:

Dear (Name of HR or boss),

I am deeply interested in the positions of (name it) and I am eager to meet for an interview. Unfortunately, I face serious emergency (name it briefly but accurately) that prevents me from coming to interview on an agreed date. I hope it is possible to reschedule an interview for a later date (names closest dates you can come). I bring apologies for causing you inconveniences, so I am willing to meet for an interview on any mentioned date you find convenient to you.

Thank you in advance for your understanding, 

Kind regards


Thank the Interviewer

When talking over the phone (or writing, for that matter) always express sincere thanks for understanding and goodwill of an employer (if he/she agrees to reschedule). You are now in a rather weak position compared to other applicants, so let the employer know you understand and appreciate the trade-off he/she makes for you.

Confirm the New Date

It is a must that when rescheduling the interview, you confirm that you can arrive at a newly appointed date. So pick it carefully, so that you did not have to reschedule once again. Whether over the phone or in a next email, write clearly that you accept this time/date and that you will be there for an interview. Thank an employer for understanding and prepare well for this interview that you scored as a second chance. Good luck anyway!