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How to Cancel an Interview Politely

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Even the most anticipated job interview can fall victim to a scheduling conflict or unforeseen events. Whether you are the interviewer or the job hunter, if you must back out, follow proper etiquette to maintain good business relations. Provide as much advance notice as possible to minimize the inconvenience experienced by the other person. Confirm that the other party is aware of the cancelation. Be sure to offer a sincere apology. If the interview is to be rescheduled, make every effort to accommodate the other person's schedule.

Contact the person immediately when it becomes clear that the interview must be shelved. Send an apologetic e-mail or text message advising him of the cancellation and a brief explanation. Note the time and place of the original meeting and assure him you will follow-up with further details. Ask the recipient to confirm that he has seen the message. Use text documents to ensure there is a record of the exchange and avoid misunderstanding.

Send a formal business letter that conveys your gratitude and expresses your regrets. Begin by saying, "I want to thank you for agreeing to meet me for an interview." If the letter is being sent to a job applicant because the position has been filled, assure the applicant she will be considered for future openings. A candidate who wishes to withdraw from consideration should note that he appreciates the employer's time and effort and is grateful for having been considered.

Call the person directly and explain that you are canceling. Begin by apologizing and express your appreciation for the opportunity. If you want to reschedule, don't insist on an immediate time and date. Give him a chance to review his schedule. Although a phone call might be the most personal way to communicate the cancelation, it should not be the only way. Also send a written note referencing the phone call. and once again offering your sincere apology.


Al Stewart's 30-year background as a writer/editor includes staff positions at "Adweek," "Billboard," "Chain Drug Review," "Cable World," "DNR" (men's fashion), "National Floor Trends," and "Variety." A native New Yorker, he is now a writer/editor living in Los Angeles. He has a BA in political science from Wagner College.

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