Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova
In an ideal world, nothing would interfere with your interview, but sometimes life gets in the way. We look at some acceptable reasons to ask to reschedule and how to reschedule an interview without ruining your chances of getting the job.
You’ve landed that interview, and you are ready to show the hiring manager why you’re the best person for the job. You’ve carefully prepared for the interview, chosen just the right outfit, and readied yourself to demonstrate your value to the company and earn that job. However, sometimes things happen that you just can’t foresee. If you find that you need to reschedule that all-important interview, there are ways to make sure you do it professionally and politely, being mindful of other people’s time and effort. There are ways to reschedule your interview that involve demonstrating maintained interest in the job and keeping a top-notch first impression.
With a little effort and a lot of enthusiasm, you can work around any major conflicts that arise and keep the door open for your new career possibilities.
In this article, we’ll discuss the following:
Good reasons (and bad reasons) to reschedule an interview
How to reschedule politely and respectfully
Example of a rescheduling request email
Before you contact your interviewer, make sure your reason is legitimate. Hiring managers are human beings and are usually very sympathetic. However, there are a few reasons you shouldn’t reschedule:
You aren’t prepared
A leisure activity that you’d rather do
You are indecisive about the job
It’s important to keep your interview time as a priority, but sometimes things happen that can’t be avoided. Try to work around the conflict and see if you can still make it happen. But if you can’t, the best time to request a reschedule is as soon as you know you won’t be able to get there, even if it’s at the last minute. If you simply must reschedule, here are some valid reasons why it would be better for all parties if you rescheduled for another time:
A medical or personal emergency within your family is something most of us have experienced at one time or another, and most hiring managers will be sympathetic. The death of a loved one, a medical emergency, or caring for a sick (close) relative are all acceptable and reasonable excuses for rescheduling.
If you’re employed at the time of the interview, you may have a last-minute change to your schedule. Rescheduling your interview would be an appropriate move, as it also shows your commitment to your job performance and that you are reliable and trustworthy. This may show the potential new employer that you are a team player, and add some unofficial “bonus points” in your favor.
Don’t risk spreading your illness to others. If you’re sick, stay home. There is no value in showing up to an interview contagious and not at your best. Be conscientious and considerate. Hiring managers will be glad to reschedule to a time when you’re feeling better and there’s little chance of making others sick.
Vehicle problems happen, and they can be truly frustrating. The first thing to do is see if you have any other way to get there and arrange alternate means of transportation. If it just isn’t possible, it is important to let the company know as soon as possible that you need to reschedule.
If you find that it’s absolutely necessary to reschedule your interview, take the time to be as professional as possible, to maintain a positive relationship with a potential employer. You don’t want to burn bridges or sabotage your chances of getting the job. Additionally, try not to reschedule more than once. Most hiring managers can forgive one change, but after that, you run the risk of appearing flaky or unreliable.
Sometimes things come up at the last minute that can’t be helped, but do your best to give your interviewer as much advance warning as possible to minimize any inconvenience. A little consideration goes a long way, and people appreciate knowing you value their time.
Express and emphasize your continued interest in the job, despite your need to reschedule. The interviewer will recognize that the position is still a priority for you.
You don’t have to go into intricate detail but do take responsibility and tell the interviewer why you need to reschedule. Be honest and concise—the interviewer doesn’t need to know how much your car will cost to fix or an itemized list of your family member’s medical emergency.
Apologize for having to reschedule and being unable to meet at the agreed-upon time. You may be throwing their schedule off-kilter and if you are asking for another opportunity, it helps to be contrite. This will make it seem like you’re not taking this decision lightly, and that you appreciate their understanding.
If possible, request—don’t demand—an interview on another date, and offer a few alternate times that would be an option for you and ask if any of these dates are convenient for the interviewer. Remember, they’re doing you a favor so you may need to be flexible. However, offering some date and time suggestions allows you to collaborate with the hiring manager and find a mutually beneficial time.
So now that you know what to do, what would it look like in practice? Here’s an example of a request to reschedule an interview. You can use this when calling or sending an email, just make sure to fill in the appropriate blanks:
Dear [name of hiring manager],
[If calling, state your name]
I’m really looking forward to the chance to talk with you about [role] with [Company]. Due to [reason for rescheduling], however, I will no longer be able to make it to the interview we had scheduled at [date and time].
Would it be possible to reschedule our meeting? Here are some dates that I would be available:
1. Date 1
2. Date 2
3. Date 3
I would also be happy to talk about other dates that might be more convenient for you.
I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. I am still very enthusiastic about this position and I hope we can connect soon. I look forward to hearing from you.
If you’re sending an email, write a detailed subject line that informs your recipient why you're writing. It should include important information such as your name, the meeting's original date, and the position for which you were applying. A more detailed subject line increases your chances that your message gets noticed and read promptly.
Need some help polishing your interviewing skills? Check out our Interview Prep tool to get expert advice, AI feedback, and practice questions to help you gain confidence and ace your next interview.
Rescheduling an interview is not a decision to be taken lightly, but when done professionally and politely, most hiring managers will be happy to work it out with you.
Make sure you have a valid reason to reschedule your interview. These could include illness, a medical/family emergency, or a scheduling conflict with your current job.
Give the interviewer as much notice as possible.
Be clear, concise, and honest in your request to reschedule, either by phone, email, or both. Express your regret, and politely ask for an alternate interview time.
Jennifer Inglis is a freelance writer and content creator with extensive professional expertise in advertising, media analysis, teaching, writing, and literature. Prior to working for Career.io, Jennifer was a public school teacher, teaching courses in college and career readiness, writing, and public speaking. Jennifer has a master’s degree in Teaching, and is the author of two published novels.