A man cancelling an interview politely

Cancelling Interviews: A Comprehensive Guide

So, you’ve landed an interview, but something came up, and now you need to cancel. It happens, and it’s okay! Cancelling an interview doesn’t have to be stressful or awkward. 

You are also not the only or first person to do it, many people have done it before.

Interviewers are human too and they understand that unplanned things happen that we can’t be in control of.

So don’t be too hard on yourself.

What I am saying is that…

With the right approach, you can handle it smoothly while still maintaining professionalism and leaving a positive impression. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about cancelling interviews, from when it’s appropriate to how to do it politely and even offer practical tips for rescheduling if needed.

We have also added message templates that you can use to cancel the interview.

Great, so let’s get into it.

When Should You Consider Cancelling an Interview?

Life is unpredictable, and sometimes circumstances arise that make attending an interview impossible or impractical. 

Here are a few scenarios where cancelling might be necessary:

Unforeseen Emergencies 

Whether it’s a sudden illness, a family emergency, or unexpected personal matters, emergencies can happen that require your immediate attention.

And, to be honest these are things that are beyond your control as a person. So if you find yourself in such a situation you can cancel if you wish, these are valid reasons.

Conflicting Obligations

Perhaps you’ve scheduled two interviews at the same time or have a prior commitment that cannot be rescheduled.

Sometimes we forget, and since we are excited to hear that we have an interview we might just accept without confirming. 

If the prior obligation was important then you can cancel the interview.

Logistical Challenges

If travel arrangements fall through, or you encounter unexpected transportation issues, it may not be feasible to make it to the interview on time.

At such a time you have no choice unless you consult with the interviewer and they agree to add your time.

Lack of interest

Not being interested in the job is a valid reason for cancelling an interview. 

Sometimes you may lose interest after learning more about the role and realising it does not align with your career goals.

In such a scenario, it’s better, to be honest about your lack of interest rather than waste both your time and the employer’s time by attending an interview for a position you have no intention of accepting. 

Now that you’ve determined that cancelling is the best option, let’s explore some dos and don’ts to ensure you handle the situation with professionalism and courtesy:

A lady happy with an ATS friendly cv

The Dos and Don’ts of Cancelling an Interview


Notify as Soon as Possible

Once you realize you need to cancel, don’t procrastinate. 

Reach out to the hiring manager or recruiter as soon as possible to inform them of the situation. 

The more notice you can provide, the better, so they can plan themselves accordingly. 

Be Honest and Respectful

Honesty in communication is key, provide a genuine reason for cancelling without sharing too much personal information. 

Respect the interviewer’s time and express your regret for any inconvenience caused.

Offer to Reschedule (If Possible)

If you’re still interested in the position, express your willingness to reschedule the interview at a mutually convenient time. 

This demonstrates your continued interest in the role and maintains a positive relationship with the employer.


Cancel at the Last Minute

Unless it’s an absolute emergency, avoid cancelling at the last minute. 

Doing so can reflect poorly on your reliability and professionalism. 

Aim to give at least 24-48 hours notice if possible.

Provide False Excuses

Honesty is key. Fabricating excuses can damage your credibility and tarnish your reputation

It’s better to be upfront about the reason for your cancellation, even if it’s uncomfortable.

Be honest and let the interviewer know, this way you will get it off of your chest and be free.

Ghost the Interviewer 

Ignoring the interview invitation or failing to communicate your cancellation is highly unprofessional. 

This could be bad for you in case you meet the same interviewer later on. It could also lead to having your CV ignored.

Always communicate your decision promptly and respectfully, even if it’s difficult.

How to Cancel an Interview: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you know the dos and don’ts, let’s break down the steps to cancelling an interview effectively:

Review the Interview Invitation

Take a moment to review the interview invitation email or any correspondence you’ve had with the hiring manager.

Note the preferred method of communication and contact information.

Draft Your Message

After carefully reviewing, craft a concise and polite message informing the interviewer of your need to cancel. 

So what do you say when cancelling an interview?

Think of your reasons and come up with an email to send to your interviewer.

Remember to be honest and genuine.

Here are a few templates if you decide to send an email cancelling the interview.

Feel free to customize these templates to fit your specific situation and communication style. 

The above samples will guide you if you want to reschedule or if you are cancelling after accepting another offer.

Remember to keep your message professional, concise, and polite.

Send Your Message

Of course, the next step is to send the message.

Once you’re satisfied with your message, send it via the preferred method of communication (email or phone call). 

If you opt for email, ensure it’s sent from a professional email address.

Follow Up (If Necessary)

If you don’t receive a response within a reasonable timeframe, consider following up with a polite reminder. 

However, avoid excessive follow-ups, as it may come across as pestering, so beware.

Here is How To Reschedule An Interview

If the interviewer agrees to reschedule, here are a few tips to ensure a smooth transition:

Propose Multiple Options

Offer a few alternative dates and times to accommodate their schedule. 

This shows flexibility on your part and increases the likelihood of finding a suitable time.

Confirm the Details 

Once a new date and time are agreed upon, confirm the details in writing to avoid any confusion. 

Double-check the interview location, format (in-person, phone, video), and any other pertinent information.

Prepare Accordingly

Treat the rescheduled interview with the same level of preparation and professionalism as you would any other interview. 

Review your notes, research the company, and practice your responses to common interview questions.

Flexi Personnel ATS


Cancelling an interview can feel daunting, but it’s essential to handle the situation with grace and professionalism. 

By following the tips outlined in this guide, you can navigate the process smoothly while maintaining a positive impression. 

Remember, honesty, respect, and clear communication are key to handling cancellations effectively. 

Keep calm, be courteous, and trust that everything will work out in the end. Good luck!


How do you politely cancel an interview?

To politely cancel an interview, it’s essential to communicate respectfully and promptly. Begin by expressing gratitude for the opportunity and then provide a clear reason for the cancellation. Offer to reschedule if possible, and apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Is it unprofessional to cancel an interview?

No, While cancelling an interview is not ideal, unforeseen circumstances can arise. It’s crucial to handle the situation professionally by notifying the interviewer as soon as possible and providing a valid reason for the cancellation. By communicating respectfully and offering to reschedule, you can mitigate any negative perception.

What is the etiquette for cancelling an interview?

The etiquette for cancelling an interview involves prompt communication, expressing gratitude, providing a valid reason, and offering to reschedule if possible. It’s essential to be respectful of the interviewer’s time and efforts while also being honest about the reasons for the cancellation.

How do I cancel an interview without burning bridges?

To cancel an interview without burning bridges, prioritize clear and respectful communication. Express appreciation for the opportunity, provide a valid reason for the cancellation and offer to reschedule if feasible. Additionally, maintain professionalism and sincerity in your interactions to preserve a positive impression, even if you cannot proceed with the interview at this time.

What if I need to cancel an interview at the last minute?

If you find yourself needing to cancel an interview at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances, it’s crucial to communicate immediately. Apologize sincerely for the short notice and inconvenience caused, provide a brief explanation for the urgency of the cancellation, and express your willingness to reschedule if possible.


Related Articles


Latest Blogs

Follow us on social

Get started today!