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How to Decline an Interview After It's Already Been Scheduled Over the Phone

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Picture this scenario: you want to have your house renovated and after hours of searching, you arranged appointments with several contractors to come to your house give you estimates. In addition to the planning, you took some time off work to meet with them. Now imagine how you'd feel if one contractor doesn't show and you haven't heard from them, and another cancels at the last minute. They've already left a bad impression with you and chances are you will not want to work with them in the future. The same situation can be applied when a hiring manager receives a last-minute cancellation or a no-show during job interview. In order to keep your professional reputation intact, first rethink the cancellation and if you are absolutely sure, contact the hiring manager immediately.

Rethink the Cancellation

Think about the benefits of going through with the interview, even if you have another job opportunity or have changed your mind about wanting to work for this company. First, you'll get a chance to hone your interviewing skills. You also may impress the interviewer to the point that he becomes a supporter in your professional network. Finally, in case the other opportunity falls through, you have left the door open to reconsider the interviewer's company. For these reasons, job experts advise strongly against cancelling interviews.

Contact Immediately

Contact the interviewer immediately if you're going to go ahead with cancelling the interview. Call the individual with whom you initially set up the interview appointment. Make at least three efforts to reach your contact before resorting to leaving a voicemail. Send an email, as well, if the contact communicated with you through email. Provide at least a week's notice of your intent to cancel to minimize any inconveniences caused by your decision. Follow up with a formal business letter, expressing thanks for the individual's time and consideration.

Prepare a Short Explanation

Prepare a brief, truthful explanation about why you're canceling a scheduled interview. Say something to the effect of, "I have accepted another job," or "I have decided to move my job search in another direction." Speak in a courteous tone when informing your contact of your decision to cancel. Thank the contact for the time she has taken up to that point to consider your application. Leave the contact with a favorable impression of you in the event that you might re-apply at that company in the future.


As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

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