This Is How You Reschedule An Interview Without Ruining Your Chances

reschedule an interview

So you applied for a job, someone read your resume and you’ve been offered a job interview — congratulations! You’ve accepted that interview and you’re well on your way to hopefully landing the gig. It’s coming up but, suddenly, something else comes up, too. You need to reschedule.

Showing up on time and prepared for your job interview is key to letting your prospective employer know that you’re reliable, timely and on top of your game. But sometimes life happens and, in the worst case scenario, you might need to reschedule an interview for some unforeseen reason. Of course, there are certain circumstances that lend you legitimate reasons to rain check that one-on-one, and there are other times when you really should figure out a plan to make sure you get to that interview.

Is It Unprofessional to Reschedule an Interview?

While rescheduling an interview isn’t ideal, it’s not necessarily unprofessional depending on your situation. Of course, if you’re rescheduling because you’re hung over, you didn’t leave time for traffic, you forgot, you were unprepared in some way, you were offered free concert tickets and you wanted to go to that instead, or for any excuse along those lines, it’s unprofessional to reschedule.

But if you and have to rain check for an excuse within reason, and you follow some basic courtesy tips, your employer might understand and, hopefully, won’t hold it against you.

When You Can Reschedule an Interview

There are a few times when you might need to reschedule a job interview. These are situations that have to do with the following:

  • Your Health
  • A Serious Work Obligation
  • A Personal or Family Emergency

Your health is important and, if you’re severely sick, you’re not going to perform optimally and you risk infecting other people, including your prospective employer. But your health can really only be a reason to reschedule if you’re in a dire situation. If you have a head cold or a migraine, for example, you can and should make your interview (so long as you’re not highly contagious). You can ask your interviewer to excuse you for your hoarse voice, but you can probably get through the interview just fine if it’s not so bad. If you’re battling a disease, however, and you need to make an important doctor’s appointment that can’t be rescheduled, or you’ve suffered something serious like a stroke, you shouldn’t be going anywhere.

As for work obligations, you need to use your discretion. After all, you’re interviewing for the new job because you do plan on leaving your old one. If you’re stuck traveling for work on a last-minute business trip, for example, you’ll need to reschedule your interview. You don’t want to risk delayed flights and being a no-show, which would be worse than rescheduling. Likewise, if you simply can’t get the time off of work from your current employer, you will need to reschedule. You don’t want to burn bridges with your current job before you even have the promise of the new job. In this case, however, you should let your prospective employer know that the scheduled interview date is tentative until you can confirm that you’ve been granted time off.

A personal or family emergency, of course, should always be excused. If you’ve had a death in the family or your kid broke a leg and you have to rush them to the hospital, for examples, your interviewer should understand. (If they don’t, you might want to reconsider your interest in working for them in the first place.) Be reasonable when it comes to what you define an as an emergency. If it can wait, let it.

When You Can’t Reschedule an Interview

If you’re not canceling an interview for reasons of health, work obligations or emergencies, then you probably shouldn’t. Here is a whole slew of times when you really shouldn’t reschedule an interview:

  • You’re hungover.
  • You forgot.
  • You were about to be late.
  • You weren’t prepared.
  • Some activity came up (concert, travel opportunity, NFL game, etc.).
  • You couldn’t decide if you really wanted the job.
  • You slept in.
  • You couldn’t find a last-minute babysitter.
  • You accidentally double-booked with something else that can wait.
  • Your dog ate your resume.

Your employer will deem you unreliable and unprofessional if you have to reschedule an interview for something that could have been avoided, could have waited or has made you seem uninterested in the job (like choosing an activity over the interview).

How to Reschedule an Interview

Figuring out how to reschedule an interview can be taxing. You don’t want to come off the wrong way, like you’re uninterested in the position or can’t be depended on. And you’re not sure how to go about contacting your prospective employer or interview and what to say. Here’s what you can do in three simple steps:

1. Make sure your reason is legitimate.

2. Contact your interviewer as soon as possible.

3. Have a backup plan.

Depending on how you’ve been communicating before, you will want to either send an email or make a phone call as soon as you know you can’t make the scheduled interview time. If you’ve been emailing back and forth and haven’t yet spoken on the phone, an email is a safe bet. But if you’ve been chatting on the phone to discuss the job and schedule the interview, you should call to let them know you’re sincere.

Templates for Rescheduling

Email Script

Hi [employer/interviewer name] / Dear [employer/interviewer name],

I’m reaching out to inform you that, unfortunately, I need to reschedule our interview for the [job title] position that we had arranged for [date and Ttme] at [interview location].

[Brief explanation of why you’re rescheduling, such as you couldn’t get the day off after all or that you had a family emergency without oversharing.]

Could we reschedule for [new date and time]? Let me know if that works for you or if you would prefer another date or time this week. I am available [other dates that you’re available].

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding in advance.

[Your name]

Phone Script

Hi [employer/interviewer name],

I wanted to give you a quick call to discuss our upcoming interview for the [job title] position that we had arranged for [date and Ttme] at [interview location]. Unfortunately, I need to reschedule.

[Brief explanation of why you’re rescheduling, such as you couldn’t get the day off after all or that you had a family emergency without oversharing.]

Could we reschedule for [new date and time]? I am also available [other dates that you’re available].

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. What works best for you?

Whether you email or call, be sure to take note of your interviewer’s response. Remember that an interview is a two-way street, and you’re deciding on them just as much as they’re deciding on you. How they choose to respond to you, and how receptive they are to your delay, can be very telling in how they’ll be with regards to work-life balance if you do end up working for them.

Just be confident in your need to reschedule, be prepared for the possible outcomes and be short, sweet and to the point. If you handle it professionally, and they’re really interested in you, they’ll make it work.

This article originally appeared on Fairygodboss

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