Is It Ever Okay to Reschedule an Interview?

by Jan Archer, Demand Media
    If you reschedule, reiterate your interest in the job to avoid appearing hesitant.

    If you reschedule, reiterate your interest in the job to avoid appearing hesitant.

    So you landed an interview, but realize you have a conflict with the scheduled interview time. Is it okay to cancel? If you're canceling because you just realized that the latest episode of "Project Runway" conflicts with your job interview, the answer is most definitely no. But, if you have a real need to reschedule due to illness, sick children, or a conflict with your current job, then the answer is yes. In certain circumstances, it is okay to reschedule an interview, but you want to be tactful with your approach.

    Adequate Reasons

    You don't have to be too graphic, but you do need to provide an adequate reason for rescheduling your interview. For example, if you come down with a stomach bug or have a sick child, spare the recruiter the details of your digestive system, but be clear that the situation calls for rescheduling. The recruiter will be grateful to you for not bringing a plethora of germs into her office and will likely understand the situation. Don't be too vague, and resist the urge to be too detailed. A concise reason followed by a proposed rescheduled meeting time should do the trick.

    Appropriate Timing

    Calling to reschedule on the day of the interview is bad practice, and is sure to rub the interviewer the wrong way. Unless you have a true emergency, such as a car accident or sudden death in the family, canceling on the day-of will probably cost you the interview. As soon as you know you won't be able to uphold the meeting time, call your contact and let her know. This gives the hiring manager ample time to shift her own schedule and accommodate other applicants.

    Tone and Tact

    Remember: You are asking for an opportunity to audition for a job. Landing the interview does not mean that you are suddenly entitled to reschedule based on your own convenience. If you do have to reschedule, convey your apology for any inconvenience, and be very flexible about setting up a new meeting. Accommodate the interviewer rather than pushing the interviewer to accommodate you. All behavior before, during, and after the interview is part of selling yourself as the best candidate, so stay on good behavior and remain gracious and respectful at all times.

    Appropriate Follow-Up

    Thank the interviewer for rescheduling to accommodate your needs during your conversation. Then, after the interview, when you follow-up with your savvy thank-you note -- which is always necessary -- thank the interviewer again for being so flexible. This is about you demonstrating that you understand the busy nature of a company and the value of the interviewer's time. You are conveying that you are easy to work with and will treat clients and colleagues with respect and tact when you land that dream job.

    About the Author

    Jan Archer began writing professionally in 2007. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Archer has researched and co-written trade books for Books-a-Million and has written numerous articles on green living, health and nutrition, education and a variety of other topics. She teaches business writing and composition, and offers private web consulting and editing for small businesses.

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