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Winter Weather is Coming! Tips for Rescheduling/Canceling an Interview Gracefully

Delayed subway trains and traffic jams.  Unexpected meetings or personal issues.  Nor’easters and snow bomb cyclones!  There’s no end to the curveballs that life, work and weather patterns can throw at someone who’s actively looking for a new job.  Interviewing itself can feel like a second job, and it doesn’t help when elements out of your control make the process even more challenging.  Here are some helpful hints on how to approach rescheduling or canceling an interview:

  • RUNNING LATE – Immediately contact your recruiter, or the HR/Hiring contact if you’ve determined that you will be arriving late. The more notice you can give the better!  Even if you’re in a traffic jam and can’t determine how late you’ll be; it’s helpful to let the Recruiter/Company know your status.  Giving more notice can allow the company to potentially rearrange the interview schedule if needed, and at the very least, most people appreciate the courtesy of someone alerting them that they will be late.  Also, be sure to include specifics.  “The train was delayed at 14th Street station due to signal issues” sounds better than “my train is late.”  Including those details can help separate you from candidates who arrive late simply because they forgot to set their alarm clock or mismanaged their schedule and are making an excuse.


  • RESCHEDULING – Make it a point to avoid rescheduling interviews unless it’s unavoidable. Remember that in most cases you are just a name on a resume before you meet a Hiring Manager.  You don’t want your first impression to be “the candidate who is asking them to make changes” to what could be a very busy calendar.  However, your CEO could call an emergency meeting, your child might need to stay home from school sick, etc.  Rescheduling appointments are a fact of life and the majority of Hiring Managers are reasonable people if it’s handled properly.  Give as much notice as possible to your Recruiter/HR contact, and be sure to have new availability to provide when rescheduling.  Providing multiple days & times to reschedule can send a signal to the Interviewer that you feel bad about rescheduling and are still excited to meet them.  Whenever possible ensure that the new availability won’t present another issue.  Rescheduling more than once can sometimes end your interview process before it’s had a chance to start.


  • CANCELLATIONS – There are a host of reasons why people decide to cancel interviews. Situations with your personal and professional life can change, and your job search might have to be put on hold.  The most important thing to remember in this scenario is that providing a reason to the Recruiter/HR contact can go a long way (especially when you’ve already had a first or second round with the company).  Most people know that the world is smaller than we realize – especially when you narrow it down to a specific industry.  Hiring Managers schedule an interview because they’re excited about your background.  It will be disappointing to hear that you’ve decided to cancel, but if there’s a reason offered up it can soften the bad news.  You never know when you might come across that Hiring Manager again, and you don’t want them to think of you as the person who canceled a first, second or final round interview without giving an explanation as to why.

The Point:  As mentioned above, the process of interviewing can be stressful.  It can be equally stressful for Hiring Managers who are choosing resumes, scheduling interviews and making tough hiring decisions.  How you conduct yourself when you run into these scenarios can make a big difference between landing that next great opportunity or leaving a bad impression with someone in your industry.  Simple tips to make the interview process easier!

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