How to Cancel an Interview by Email

Cancel an Interview by Email

Cancelling an interview is never a good (or easy) thing to do. However, sometimes more important things get in the way, and we have no other choice but to cancel an interview by email. The email you are sending will either go to the prospective employee or employer (depending which side you are on).

Thankfully, the way you write a cancellation email often determines how it will be interpreted by the other party. Don’t rush and send off an email, but instead, take your time to figure out the most polite and careful way to construct the email to give you a much better chance of rescheduling the interview in the future, if that is what you want.

Are You an Employer or Applicant?

The cancellation email will differ depending on if you are an Employer or the Applicant. An interviewer will often have a more direct email to advise of a cancellation, whereas an interviewee will likely have an apologetic or remorseful tone to the email.

BONUS TIP: Whether you’re an employer or applicant, a great way to show professionalism when sending an interview cancellation email is by having a well crafted email signature at the end of it.

Don’t have an email signature? No problems, make a free one here.

For Employers

Letting a candidate know that you are going to cancel their interview will often test the new relationship. Rescheduling an interview for an inadequate reason can often give the applicant a bad impression about the company they are planning to work for, and this is not what you want.

Make sure there is nothing else you can do in order to keep the original interview appointment, such as rescheduling other meetings or moving them around. If there is nothing you can do to keep the original interview date, then make sure the cancellation email is sincere and genuine. Be honest, and explain the reason for the cancellation.

Why are you cancelling the interview?

Think about why you wish to cancel the interview. Is it because of a double booking in your calendar or something else has come up? Or is it because you are no longer interested in meeting with the applicant because the position has been filled, or the applicant doesn’t have the required skills? Be sure to know the exact reason for the cancellation and make sure the employee knows it.

Will the interview be rescheduled, or not?

You need to determine if you want to reschedule the interview or not. Rescheduling a meeting with someone and then cancelling it later can add a lot of frustration to candidates and give them a bad impression of your company. If the reason for the cancellation is genuine, then you can offer to reschedule the meeting.

For Applicants

Cancelling an interview as an applicant can be nerve-wracking as it could be your one chance to prove yourself to be a reliable candidate so you can get the job. As we all know, things can change, and more important things sometimes come up at the last second. With this in mind, your prospective employer should know this and be understanding of the situation, provided you have a good reason for not making the interview.

Why are you cancelling the interview?

If it’s not a life and death situation, you should probably attend the interview. Jokes aside, think about it from your interviewer’s point of view, would they be happy about the reasoning you are giving them?  Hint: Your excuse shouldn’t be “My little step sister’s uncle Larry’s cat had some kittens so I cant make it to the interview”. This likely won’t fly.

Will the interview be rescheduled, or not?

If you really do want this job, make sure you mention that in the cancellation email, as this will let the employer know that the reason for not attending is genuine and not because you have changed your mind about the job. If you are no longer interested in the job, mention that and it will be easier for the employer to move on and find someone else for the job.

Interview Cancellation Meme

Tips for Cancelling an Interview by Email

  • Give plenty of notice – The more notice you give, the better. It will allow the other party to organize their day better if you don’t leave it until the last minute to cancel.
  • Remain professional – Use professional language and don’t forget to include a good email signature at the end of your email.
  • Be polite and honest – Being polite and honest about your situation will make it easier to reschedule the interview and will also get your point across.
  • Advise if you want to reschedule – Make sure you let the other party know if you want to reschedule so they know you are still interested in meeting them at a later date.
  • Provide a brief (but good) reason for your cancellation – Notice the word ‘brief’ in there? The other person doesn’t need to know your life story, just a reason why you aren’t able to make it.
  • Apologize for the inconvenience – Ensure you apologize for the inconvenience caused.

Examples of Interview Cancellation Emails

We have some examples of interview cancellation emails below. Feel free to use or modify them to your needs.

Interview Cancellation Email Template for Employers

Hi <name>,

Thank you for taking the time to apply for the position of <position title> at <company name>. Unfortunately, I will need to cancel the interview that we had scheduled for <time/date> due to <reason>.

However, I do want to reschedule the interview for a new date and time that suits you. Please let me know a suitable date that suits you and I will be happy to see you then.

I apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to meeting with you.

Best Regards,

<Your Name>

<Email Signature>

Interview Cancellation Email Template for Applicants

Hi <name>,

Thank you for the opportunity to work for <company name> as <position title>. I am honoured to have been offered an interview for the position.

Unfortunately, due to <reason>, I will no longer be able to attend the interview. I am still interested in the position and would be delighted at the chance to reschedule the interview for another date.

I am sorry for cancelling the interview. Please let me know if we can reschedule for another date that suits you.

Best Regards,

<Your Name>

<Email Signature>

And That’s a Wrap!

All you can do now is send that email and hope that the recipient understands your situation. Chance are, if they are understanding about it, they will most likely be good colleagues to work with as well.

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