You have a job interview scheduled but you're sick, your car won't start, you’re stuck in a storm, or you simply can't make it. What should you do? We all know how important in-person interviews are, but sometimes circumstances arise that can require you to reschedule even the most vital job interview.
Interviewers don’t want to meet with sick candidates, so definitely think about rescheduling if you are ill.
If you’re not sure you can get there for any reason, it’s better to try to reschedule in advance than to call from the road when you slipped off into a ditch during a snowstorm, or are on your way to the hospital with a sick child. There are appropriate ways to reschedule a job interview to preserve a chance of getting hired, even though you can’t make your scheduled interview.
What to Do if You Are Sick
Showing up for a job interview when you are sick is going to worry the interviewer, not impress them. If you have any respiratory or flu-like symptoms—including a cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, or a sore throat—do both yourself and the hiring manager a favor and stay home.
You will be spreading unwanted germs, and will not interview well if you're sick. Your judgment may be called into question as well. Do they really want to hire someone who is willing to put their colleagues at risk?
Valid Reasons for Rescheduling an Interview
There are other reasons besides illness that necessitate rescheduling an interview. Most companies understand that circumstances come up—a sick family member, a scheduling conflict, car troubles, and a variety of other reasons. It’s a good idea to be honest about why you need to reschedule, so make sure it’s a valid reason.
If you’re rescheduling because you scored an interview for a job you’re more interested in, maybe you should consider canceling the interview rather than leave them waiting. You never know if you might be meeting with the interviewer’s sister-in-law at the other company, and your deception could get back to them. It’s better to be honest than to be caught in a lie.
How to Reschedule an Interview
What's important is to let the company know in a timely manner that you won't be able to make the interview and to try to secure a new interview date when you talk to them, as long as this job is still a priority. If you need to cancel an interview, give the hiring manager as much notice as possible.
It’s best to notify the person who scheduled the interview by email and phone as well, to ensure that your message is received as soon as possible.
Depending on the interviewer’s schedule, they may not see one or the other message until arriving in the office.
Let them know you can’t make it and ask if it would be possible to reschedule:
- Suggest a day or two when you'll be available if you email or leave a voicemail.
- If you get an answer, ask when would be a convenient time for you to come in for your interview.
- When rescheduling because of illness, make sure to give yourself some time to recover.
- Be as flexible as possible, and try to accommodate their schedule to set another date for the meeting. They are giving you a second chance, so be gracious.
Request to Reschedule an Interview Example
Subject: Your Name - Rescheduling Interview Question
Dear Ms. Calibran,
Would it be possible to reschedule the interview we had scheduled for the social media assistant on August 17th at 10 am? Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend at that time. However, I would very much appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about the position.
I'm available on any other day and time this week, whenever it is most convenient for you.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Provide as Much Notice as Possible
Whatever the reason, give the company as much notice as possible that you aren't going to be there. Being considerate of the interviewer's time will be appreciated.
Canceling at the last minute, unless it's a genuine emergency, may be held against you.
Contact the interviewer just as soon as you know you won't be able to make the interview. Interviewers and hiring managers are human beings, too, and they are most likely to understand and appreciate your being honest and giving them enough notice to adjust their own schedules.
Follow Up to Confirm the New Date
Send a thank you note before your rescheduled interview to thank them for letting you reschedule. Let them know you understand that their schedules are busy and say you appreciate their accommodating your need to change plans. Confirm the date and time of the rescheduled interview in your message.