You can set 3 alarms for the morning, check the air pressure in your car tires, and leave 2 hours early, but sometimes a situation arises where you can’t make it to an interview. In the treacherous conditions of winter (and other times, when you least expect it) car problems like engine failure, a flat tire, or a car accident are commonplace. Winter is also cold and flu season, and avoiding sickness altogether is rare. Then, there are family emergencies, power outages, tornados, and other predicaments that throw a major wrench into your life, let alone your interview plans.
No matter what situation arises, there are a particular set of steps you should take when you can’t make it to your interview to ensure you don’t ruin your job prospects:
- Don’t Panic. Just because you have to reschedule an interview doesn’t mean that you’re chances of getting the job are shot. Hiring Managers are real, understanding people like the rest of us. As long as you have a legitimate reason for canceling, in all likelihood, they won’t make it difficult for you to reschedule.
- Give as much notice as possible. The moment you realize you won’t be able to make it, tell your interviewer. In some situations (like illness, blizzards, death in the family) providing advanced notice is more possible than in others (car accident, flat tire, family emergency). Making an effort to tell your interviewer as soon as possible lets them know you are serious about employment and displays qualities of a good employee.
- Call first, then email.The best and most direct way to reschedule is to call your interviewer. Talking to them directly allows them to more easily understand your situation and plan accordingly. If you are directed to their voicemail, leave a detailed message and then email them, as well. This way, you will be making every effort to inform them of your cancelation. Even if you are able to initially reach them by phone, it is still good practice to send your interviewer an email to apologize for the inconvenience and to express your excitement about the possibility of future employment.
- Explain the situation. There is no need to be vague about the reason you’re canceling. The more the interviewer knows about your situation, the more likely they will be considerate and willing to reschedule. If you’re sick, don’t just say you can’t make it to the interview; explain that you have the flu and you didn’t want to spread illness to their office. Your interviewer will likely appreciate the fact that you don’t want to infect other employees and that you’re not willing to sniffle through an interview.
- Suggest an alternate date on initial contact. After explaining your situation, suggest an alternate date for another interview. This will immediately return focus to your interest in the position and allow you to secure a date and time in the future. Having another interview scheduled will put your mind at ease and allow you to focus on the reason you had to cancel in the first place. If you aren’t able to talk to the interviewer directly, suggest another date in an email. If you don’t hear back from them within 24 hours, call the interviewer again in an attempt to reschedule.