How to Сancel an Interview by Email or Phone


Have you faced a life situation when you can’t turn up at the interview? Do you want to reschedule or cancel it in a professional manner? Naturally, canceling an interview is not a good idea, but if it is the only option and nothing can be changed, you should know how to cancel an interview in a polite and careful way without spoiling the impression about you.

You will agree that the interview can be canceled not only by the job applicant but also by an employer who scheduled it. The reasons for that are also absolutely different, though some of them should not be mentioned and considered unacceptable.

Look: this article will provide tips on how to cancel a job interview both for an employer and applicant in several suitable ways and what mistakes to avoid during this process

How to cancel a job interview general tips

You will agree that people are always nervous before the job interview but there is even more stressful experience when it is necessary to cancel it. It goes without saying that employers have completed dozens of interviews and it is not challenging for them to cancel one too, while many applicants often consider job interviews a life-changing experience and it can be a real stress to have to cancel or reschedule it. In any case, the cancellation process requires certain knowledge and skills from both sides to be met with understanding and it is time to find out them.

For applicants

Calling off an interview is a responsible task since there are several ways for an applicant to do it. The main factor to consider what way to choose depends on the timeframe left. In general, the best method is to cancel the interview using the same way it was scheduled. If you were called by phone or an invitation was sent by email, you should select the same method. However, if you decide to avoid visiting the interview the evening before it but received an invitation by mail, it would be better to call an interviewer since the chances for him to check mail are much smaller.
How to cancel a job interview general tips
One more thing to consider is who to inform about the cancellation. There is one correct answer to this question – an interviewer. You can contact another representative of the company only if you can’t reach him or her directly and are limited in time.

You see that this basic information is not enough, so if you want to find out how to cancel a job interview, example of tips for an applicant looks as follows:

  1. Give a notice in advance. It is natural that noticing an employer immediately before the interview that you fail to attend it is a huge mistake. The best time to do that is 24 hours or earlier before the time scheduled. If you do that early enough, explain your reasons, and ask for rescheduling, there are chances to get approval. If you are not able to notify an interviewer yourself, it is important to assign a person to do that early enough.
  2. Provide honest and acceptable reasons. You should explain the reason for cancellation clearly and briefly. In fact, an interviewer is not interested in them, the only thing he would like to know if this reason is acceptable for rescheduling. Avoid too personal information and many details, while the information what reasons are considered acceptable can be found further in this article.
  3. Ask for rescheduling. If you are still interested in this position and want to get it, you can ask to schedule the interview for another time immediately after explaining the reason. It is necessary to sound polite and ask to contact you to inform a new date and time if possible. You can also mention the date suitable for you to ensure that you are absolutely free on this day and will turn up for an interview undoubtedly.
  4. Explain briefly and accurately. Interviewers are usually busy people who have no time to listen to your problems, so it is important to make your explanation brief and accurate without gaining into deep details.
  5. Thank for the time devoted if you are recruited to another company. If you have applied for several jobs and were recruited earlier, it is necessary to show your gratitude for being selected as a candidate and invited to the interview. You should also mention that you are not interested in this position anymore because another company has invited you to the position desired.
  6. Cancel the interview only if you are confident to be unable to attend it. Sometimes it happens that you are not sure if you have time and the possibility to attend the interview, and people make a great mistake canceling it not knowing for sure what to expect. It is important to understand that the first impression is one of the most important ones. It means that your chances not to spoil it by canceling the meeting are very low, so no matter how tough the situation is, you should agree to cancel the interview only when you understand that it is the last option available.
  7. Send a follow-up note after a phone cancellation or vice versa. Most of the cancellations are made by phone, but it does not mean that you cannot confirm it with an email. It would be a good tone to accompany a telephone conversation with a follow-up note or vice versa where you will give your apologies and explanations one more time and show interest in the position applied for. It will add chances to have your interview rescheduled.
  8. Mention the career aspect if it is one of the reasons. It often happens that the search for a new job is performed while you are working at another position. Moreover, you are not able to turn up at the interview because of the important business meeting or training courses. Don’t try to hide this information since it will only confirm your professional approach. An employer will see that any career aspects are important for you and your follow the work ethic, so it will not be a problem to reschedule the communication.
  9. Avoid negative evaluations. Sometimes it happens that a job applicant does not want to go to an interview having found out certain negative information about the company. It is better to avoid this information and provide other acceptable reasons for cancellation.
  10. Sound professional and confident. If you realize that interview cancellation cannot be avoided, it is important to think about what you will say and sound confident when you speak. It should not be a kind of begging to sympathize with you or taking your situation close to heart in any case. You should present yourself as a professional and provide clear and honest explanations in a diplomatic and serious manner.

How to Сancel an Interview

For employer

It is not a rarity that a scheduled interview can be called off by an employer as well. There are many reasons for that, but the procedure looks similar to one mentioned above though some peculiarities should be considered too.

  1. Contact the job applicant as soon as you learn about cancellation necessity. Like for applicants, it is important for employers to give advanced notice if they learn about the inability to conduct it at the time discussed. It is important not to postpone that for the last minute since it can be considered unprofessional from the company’s side. If a company cancels the interview because of any emergency situation but is still interested in an applicant, it is important to mention that a representative will contact this person as soon as possible to schedule it for another date and time.
  2. Inform if a candidate was found for this position. Some companies fail to mention all other candidates about filling the position they have applied for. However, cutting off all the communication because of that is the wrong decision. It can reflect on business and spoil the impression of the company. If you have scheduled an interview with several job seekers but realized that one of them is the best fit earlier than all the candidates were interviewed, it is important to tell this information when you cancel the communication. Moreover, it can be also a good reason to mention if you have changed your decision about any candidate and do not want to hurt him or her. Both phone and email are suitable for this purpose.
  3. Reschedule the interview as fast as possible. If you plan to invite a job seeker to the meeting again, you should tell about this when you cancel the interview. After that, try to contact the interviewee as soon as possible and set a new date and time of the communication not to lose a valuable specialist.

Will you reschedule an interview?

This question can be asked by every job seeker who has heard about the interview cancellation. If a potential employer calls you with the explanations why the interview was called off and says nothing about the next date, it is important to ask this question to understand what to hope for and how to act further. Some people stop searching for another job having been invited to an interview, so any emergency situation in the company should not prevent people from losing income. Therefore it is important to listen to the employer or interviewer till the end and if nothing was mentioned about rescheduling, ask about that yourself. The answer to this question will let you know if there is any sense to wait for a call or it is better to undertake new steps in the job search.

Acceptable reasons to cancel

Looking for an answer on how to cancel an interview, example of acceptable reasons for that seems a great necessity. Any silly reasons mentioned both by the employer and job seeker lead to negative consequences in both cases, so it is important to know suitable excuses if an interview has gone out of your plans:

  • Serious health issues: fever, hospitalization, or inability to leave a small sick child alone usually act as suitable excuses for cancellation. Migraine and sickness are not among them;
  • An accident that ended in an injury: being also connected with health troubles, this reason seems acceptable if the consequences of this accident are quite serious;
  • Unbearable weather conditions: high temperatures or heavy rain can be hardly considered good reasons, but storm, hurricane, volcano eruption, or earthquake are decent reasons not to leave your home or do that immediately but not for an interview;
  • Emergency situation: the death of a close relative, car accident, fire or flood;
  • Being recruited by another company: if you have been hired by another company, it is one of the most suitable reasons for cancellation.

Unacceptable reasons to cancel

How to cancel an interview examples
If you look for suitable words how to cancel job interview, email with one of the following reasons as well as a phone conversation mentioning them will only spoil the impression about a candidate or be considered a joke:

  • Being overwhelmed with nerves;
  • Asking for some more time to prepare for the interview more thoroughly;
  • Having had a good party and suffering from a hangover;
  • No mood, bad hair or broken heel;
  • Scheduling another event to the same time;
  • Having another interview at this time;
  • Unbelievable things like aliens or ghosts etc.


Since canceling a job interview causes some inconvenience it is natural that either an employer or a job seeker should give apologies for doing that. Moreover, it is important to start the conversation with the apologetic words for ruining the plans of the second party. The words of apology should be sincere and sound polite enough to make another person understand that you do regret doing that.

How to cancel by phone

When it comes to the best way how to cancel an interview, email should be selected only if you have enough time in advance to send it. In fact, it is more advisable to select a phone call for an interview cancellation. Naturally, you may lack words explaining the reasons that made you call off this important meeting, so it is better to think through your speech up to the smallest details and write it down on the paper to present it in a confident and professional manner.

What should you say? Include the following:

  • Greetings;
  • Name of the person speaking;
  • Date, time and position for the interview planned;
  • Reason of inability to turn up;
  • Words of apology.

Your short explanation should look like this:

“Hello, Mr. Smith. It is Jerry Holly speaking to you. My job interview in your company for the Senior Engineer position is scheduled for January 15 at 10 a.m. Unfortunately, I am not able to come because of the car accident that happened yesterday. My leg is broken and I can’t walk. I am sorry for such short notice and any inconvenience caused.”

If you are sure to be free on certain days, you can ask to reschedule it for them.

How to cancel an interview via email

One more suitable way to call off the interview is to write an email. If you have already called the company with the words of apology, this email should look like short notice. If you want to notify an interviewer about your inability to come and do not know how to cancel a job interview, email should include the following information:

  • Name of the person you are writing to;
  • Filled in subject line (e.g. ‘Interview Cancellation: Jerry Holly’);
  • Date, time and position for the interview planned;
  • A short explanation of the reasons;
  • Words of apology;
  • Asking for a possibility to reschedule the interview;
  • Contact information.

It is very important to sound short and professional as well as check for mistakes or typos.

How to cancel an interview examples

For an applicant

Dear Mr. Smith,
I am writing to you with the purpose to inform you that I have to cancel the interview scheduled with me for the Senior Engineer position on January 15 at 10 a.m. Unfortunately, I have serious health issues and was hospitalized. Excuse me for any inconvenience caused. Would you be so kind as to reschedule the interview for February 1? I will be in touch once things settle. Please let me know by phone 777-666-55 or email
Sincerely yours,
Jerry Holly.

For an employer

Dear Ms. Holly,
Thank you that you have found the time and applied to the position of Senior Engineer at ADB company. Unfortunately, the interview with you scheduled for January 15 at 10 a.m. must be canceled due to the emergency situation.

At the same time, I am asking you to agree to reschedule this interview for the date and time suitable for you. Would you be so kind as to contact me and tell me this information as soon as possible?
I apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to getting a response from you.
Best Regards,
Mr. Smith


A job interview is an important stage in every person’s life and when you face a situation with the necessity to cancel it, it may be difficult to find the correct words. This article has provided you with two ways how to cancel interview: email and phone. Follow the tips and look through the templates of how to do that in the best manner and never lose a chance to get a dream job even if there are any obstacles on your way.