A job interview is a process that determines whether a working relationship between the company and the candidate is possible. But what if you need to cancel an interview? This can happen both to employers and candidates. You are either not interested in continuing the application process or just want to reschedule. In any case, your task it to let the other person (an interviewer or an interviewee) know as soon as possible and to do it in a polite way. Simply not showing up to the appointment makes you seem unprofessional and might ruin future options. Consider writing an email to cancel an interview.
The Difference between candidate and employer cancellation email
Employers and candidates have different reasons and therefore different approaches to writing a cancellation email. Let us see why your “cancel-an-interview” email matters depending on whether you are an interviewer or interviewee.
When you want to cancel an interview with a candidate, the first thing you should be thinking about is your company’s reputation. In other words, you should make sure that your company brand isn’t affected. Once you treat a candidate with the lack of respect for their time and efforts, you risk that their friends and relatives will learn about your ill-treatment. This way, you could lose not only one candidate, but a number of potential ones. Regardless of whether you are still interested in the candidate or not, there is no way you should ghost on them. Write them a timely employer “cancel interview” email with or without a suggestion to reschedule your appointment.
If you cancel an interview via email as a candidate, you have to make sure that your reliability is not compromised. You should stay on good terms with the interviewer because:
When and why you should write an interview cancellation email
There can be four different situations in which you would have to write an appointment cancellation email. Let’s see them below.
1. You are an employer and want to cancel without rescheduling.
This can happen happen due to a number of reasons, such as:
- You found a more qualified candidate
- Your company has decided to close the position
- The company’s management decided to postpone hiring a new employee
2. You are an employer and want to reschedule.
You are still interested in the candidate, but due to the following circumstances you cannot conduct the interview on the agreed date:
- An emergency has occurred (you got ill, were locked inside the apartment, your car broke down, your flight was delayed, and so on)
- There have been scheduling issues, and the interview has to be moved
- The person who was supposed to conduct the interview with you cannot make it
3. You are a candidate and want to cancel without rescheduling.
As a candidate, you can have your own reasons why you no longer want to attend the interview:
- You are not interested in the position anymore
- You’ve got a job offer from a more attractive company
- You have read bad reviews about the company
- You are already having bad experience with the company and don’t want to continue
4. You are a candidate and want to reschedule.
Here are the reasons why you might need to move your interview to another date:
- An emergency has occurred
- You’ve got ill
- You have not prepared for the interview
- You have an unsolved issue at work or home that cannot wait
- You agreed to an interview with another company, which could not be scheduled on any other day
No matter if you are a candidate or hiring person, you need to be professional and polite in your request to cancel an interview. In case you would like to reschedule an appointment, you’ll also need to clearly communicate your interest in talking to the person again. Also, make sure to avoid any schedule conflicts before you suggest a new time slot.
And remember: once you’ve sent a cancellation email, there’s no turning back. You cannot undo it. You must accept the possibility that a person may not want to reschedule or might be offended by your lack of consistency. Try to write your email in such a way that your recipient understands your situation. Below are some tips for you.
Tips on writing an interview cancellation email
- Give an advanced notice for cancelling your interview
Make sure you message the person in advance. Ideally, you should do this at least 24 hours before the scheduled interview. Keep it in mind that all people are busy, and changing plans is no easy thing to do. If you are cancelling your job interview, doing it as soon as possible might let the interview schedule another candidate for your time slot
- Stay courteous and professional when writing your cancellation email
Bear in mind that anything can happen in the future. As an employer, you might want to hire the current candidate at some point later. Besides, those who were once candidates may become your company’s clients or partners. You need to be sure there are no bridges burned between you.
Click here to personalize interview cancellation email even more by creating professional email signatures
As a candidate, you might apply for a position with this company again. Or it can happen that the person you were supposed to talk to will interview you for some other position with some other company. You never know how things will turn out in the future, so better be remembered as a polite, decent, and professional person.
- Mention interview details in cancellation email
In your email to cancel the interview, write the job position and the word “interview” in the subject line. In the body of your message, you need to mention the date and time when the appointment was set to happen. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings, and, in case your recipient had a number of interviews scheduled, he or she will know at once which of them you are talking about.
- Provide reasons for cancelling your interview
You should state a valid reason for cancelling the interview, especially if you still hope to talk to your recipient. If you are cancelling because of another interview, it’s better to not say this directly — telling that a work conflict has occurred would be enough. If you got ill, you should write so. To appear more polite and considerate, mention that you do not want to pass the bug onto anyone.
In case you are a candidate and are no longer interested in the job, you don’t have to provide any reasons. You can just write that you are no longer viewing the position. If you are an employer and have found a more suitable candidate, it is okay to say so.
- Apologize for cancelling the interview and any possible inconveniences
An interview cancellation will surely be an inconvenience for your interviewer. They might have already made plans for the interview, and any change in those plans will mean they need to adjust their plans once again.
Write a sincere apology and be polite. Make them understand that you are still interested in the position and will do everything possible to make up to them.
- Mention possibilities for future cooperation
If you want to reschedule the interview, make it clear that your interest for the job (or the candidate) remains. Also, suggest several dates for the other person to choose from. Pick the dates carefully: you probably won’t be able to cancel the appointment again.
If you are cancelling the interview without rescheduling, you can express hopes for future cooperation, but do it only when you really mean it. If you are cancelling because the person you were communicating with was rude, you probably wouldn’t want to deal with them again.
- End the letter with appreciation
At the end of your decline-interview email, thank the recipient for their patience and understanding. Tell them that you appreciate their time. In case you are rescheduling, you can add that you are would be extremely grateful for their flexibility. Do not forget to ask the person to confirm that they have received your email.
- Send the letter as soon as possible
The sooner you send your cancellation letter, the easier it is for another person to make an adjustment in their plans. Do not leave it until the last minute, unless it’s an emergency that makes you cancel the job interview. Make sure they received the email by following up if necessary.
Best examples of interview cancellation emails
Below, we have provided examples of how to cancel an interview by email. Please see one of the four templates depending on whether you are a candidate or an employer and whether you are just cancelling or would like to reschedule the appointment.
Cancel-an-interview email template for employers
Subject line: [Position] — Interview Invitation (Cancellation)
Thank you for your interest in joining the [Company Name] as [Position Title]. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the [Position Title] position due to a downturn in staffing. As a consequence, the interview which was scheduled at 2 p.m. on [Day, Month] will not take place.
I deeply apologize for the inconvenience. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. You can check our Careers page for any suitable opportunities.
Thank you for your understanding.
[Your email signature]
Cancel interview email example with suggestion to reschedule (for employers)
Subject line: [Position] — Interview Invitation (Change in Schedule)
Thank you for your interest in joining the [Company Name] as [Position Title]. Unfortunately, we have to cancel the interview scheduled at 2 p.m. on [Day, Month] due to unforeseen schedule issues. Would it be possible to reschedule the interview for any of the following dates below?
11 a.m., [DDMMYY]
12 p.m., [DDMMYY]
Please send me a reply with a suitable date. If you are not available on any of these days, I will be open to your suggestions.
Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.
Looking forward to your response.
[Your email signature]
Cancel interview email: template for candidates
Subject Line: [Position] — Interview Cancellation
Thank you very much for your interest in my candidacy for the position of [Position Title] and for inviting me to interview with [Company Name] scheduled on [Day, Month]. However, I regret to tell you that I have to cancel our interview. I have just received an offer from another company and am discontinuing my job search. I hope for your understanding.
I am sincerely grateful for you time and consideration. I hope you find a suitable candidate to fill in the position soon.
Again, please accept my apologies.
[Your email signature]
Email to cancel interview: example for candidates who want to reschedule
Subject Line: [Position] — Interview (Change in Schedule)
Thank you very much for your interest in my candidacy for the position of [Position Title] and for inviting me to interview with [Company Name] scheduled on [Day, Month].
Unfortunately, I cannot attend the interview on the agreed date because of my sudden illness. I would not want to pass it on to anyone from your company. I apologize and hope for your understanding.
Is there a possibility to reschedule my interview for next week? Wednesday, [Day, Month] or Thursday [Day, Month] would work for me best.
Again, please accept my apologies for such short notice.
Looking forward to your response.
[Your email signature]
Follow Up if you are eager to reschedule
After you get a response from the person you wrote an interview cancellation email to, be sure to reiterate your apologies and express the willingness to meet them at an agreed time. Thank them once again for their consideration and understanding. This will help to show your interview/interviewee your sincere intentions and make them more inclined to see you at the interview.