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.
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.
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.
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.
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.