How to cancel an interview because you got a job

How do you cancel an interview because you got a job?

To cancel an interview because you got a job, contact the hiring manager and let them know you’re no longer available. Ideally, you will contact the manager over the phone, but you can send an email. You should ensure email messages are received if canceling over email.

Imagine, canceling an interview because you found your dream job. You don’t have to show up and be asked the same questions over again.

Canceling an interview may sound scary, but it’s actually very simple.

Luckily for you, I’ll show you if it’s unprofessional to cancel an interview. I’ll show you how to cancel an interview and if you should interview anyway. After this article, you’ll know how to get the best job offer possible!

Key Takeaways

  • It is considered professional behavior to cancel an interview with advanced notice, typically 24 hours prior to interview. Canceling an interview the day of or last minute is considered unprofessional because you have not given sufficient notice.
  • You can cancel an interview after accepting another offer, but it’s better to interview anyway. The company may give you a better offer which you can take or use to negotiate with your current employer.
  • Reasons to cancel a job interview include personal reasons, family emergencies, anxiety, you’re no longer interested, another job offer, feeling ill or sick, or a work emergency arose.
  • Different ways to cancel an interview include phone and email. Try to avoid texting, which is the least professional. Always confirm the interviewer is aware of your cancellation and never assume the message was received without confirmation.
  • Politely cancel by stating you are no longer available and thank the recruiter for the opportunity.

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Is it unprofessional to cancel an interview?

It is not unprofessional to cancel an interview with advanced notice. There are many valid reasons why you should cancel an interview, such as accepting a job offer or being no longer interested. However, canceling an interview last minute is considered unprofessional.

Canceling a job interview is acceptable, provided you give enough notice. As a rule of thumb, it is too late to cancel an interview if you’re within 24 hours of the interview.

Companies want to spend their time with candidates interested in the position. Canceling your interview allows the company to focus its time, energy, and money on finding the right candidate.

Employers may also cancel an interview, but they should give the candidate as much notice as possible. An employer will cancel an interview with notice to respect your time because they either found a candidate or need to reschedule.

Canceling an interview last minute

You should never cancel an interview last minute or the day of unless you really can’t make it. It is considered unprofessional to cancel an interview last minute.

The interviewing managers have busy schedules, and they’ve set aside this time for you. Canceling without advanced notice shows you’re not respecting the other individual’s time.

Think about you and your best friend. You make plans to go to the zoo on Friday at 8 a.m.

It’s no big deal should your friend notify you they can’t make it on a Tuesday. You have time to make other plans because of the advanced notice. However, it sucks when you’re 10 minutes away from the zoo and your friend texts you saying they can’t make it.

You should still attend the interview, even if you don’t think you’ll work for the company. They may give you a better offer, which you can use to negotiate with your current employer.

Canceling an interview the night before

Canceling an interview the night before your interview is less than ideal because it may be too short of notice. Your potential employer might not have enough time to receive the message if you were scheduled for a morning interview. However, you may have sufficient time to cancel an interview that was scheduled for the afternoon.

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Should I cancel an interview after accepting another offer?

You should cancel an interview after accepting another offer if you don’t see yourself working for the company. However, there is no harm in interviewing because you might get a better offer or use it to negotiate higher pay. 

Typically, employment is considered at will. Either you or your employer can terminate your employment at any time.

It’s not unethical to interview after accepting another offer. 

You need to respect your skills and provide for your family, which means accepting the best offer available. Your employer is also looking out for their best interest by trying to pay you as little as possible.

You should consider interviewing with another company after accepting another offer. The second company may give you a better offer. You can either take this offer or use it to negotiate a better salary from the first offer.

Either way, this puts you in a position of power.

You don’t want to burn any bridges. However, the point of working is to make money and provide for our families. Your managers can’t fault you for earning more money.

It’s also easier for companies to find a replacement for your position if you quit immediately after being hired. Working for a company for a couple of months means the company has to start the job search over again. Quitting immediately means the company might have other candidates they recently passed over.

When to cancel or reschedule an interview

There are many valid reasons for rescheduling or canceling an interview. You should cancel or reschedule any time you don’t want the position or can’t make it due to unforeseen circumstances. Any good reason, such as medical, family emergency, undisclosed position criteria, or benefits, is enough to move your interview.

Good reasons to cancel or reschedule an interview include:

  1. Personal reasons
  2. Family emergencies
  3. Anxiety
  4. You’re no longer interested
  5. You feel ill or sick
  6. A work emergency arose with your current employer
  7. Health issues
  8. Death in the family
  9. Low salary
  10. The job is in a bad location, or relocation is required
  11. You don’t meet the qualifications
  12. Bad weather makes traveling unsafe
  13. You are expected to travel for the job
  14. Car trouble

Let’s examine each excuse to cancel or reschedule an interview.

Personal reasons

One of the most generic ways to cancel an interview is to cite personal reasons. A personal reason is any reason you deem fit not to go to the interview. You are not required to explain your reason because you have no obligation to the interviewing company.

Examples of personal reasons to cancel or reschedule your interview include:

  • Deciding to go back to school
  • Making a life change
  • Not being interested in the company
  • Taking a career break
  • Becoming a stay-at-home parent

Family emergency

Most employers are willing to reschedule your job interview due to a family emergency. Family emergencies are often unforeseen circumstances that require your immediate attention. It would be best if you could contact the interviewing company and let them know a family emergency has arisen.

Good reasons to cancel your job interview because of a family emergency include:

  • A family member is sick or has a fever
  • A family member has been hospitalized
  • There was a death in the family
  • A family member is showing signs of mental health issues
  • There was a car accident
  • Adding a family member, such as birth or adoption

Attempt to let the company know you won’t be able to attend the interview if possible. However, if you were unable and missed your interview, reach out to the recruiter and explain the situation.

Anxiety

Severe interview anxiety can ruin your interview or cause you to cancel the interview. Even if you’re anxious, try to interview if it’s a position you’re interested in. I find it helps to disclose to the interviewers your nervousness.

For example, I might say, “It’s been a long time since I’ve interviewed last. Not going to lie, I’m a bit nervous! Do you mind telling me a little about yourselves before we begin?”

I find disclosing my anxiety and asking about the interviewers is a good ice breaker. It lets everyone lower their guard and makes the interview less formal.

However, anxiety and other mental health issues are good reasons to cancel or reschedule an interview. You can even ask to change the interview format (e.g., in-person vs. phone) depending on if you interview better in one.

You’re no longer interested

You should cancel an interview if you have no interest in the position. The employer wants employees who are interested in the work.

Contact the recruiter, preferably over the phone, to say you are no longer interested in an interview. Let them know that you appreciate the opportunity but do not feel the position is right for you now.

A sample template for saying you’re no longer interested includes:

Thank you for considering me for this job position. However, I must regretfully decline the interview as I have chosen a different path.

It would be in your best interest to attend the interview anyways. Reasons to go to the interview anyways include:

  • You might discover something about the company which makes you want to work for them. 
  • They could give you a better offer.
  • You can meet people in your industry and network.
  • You could recommend someone else that might be a good fit for the position.

Illness or sickness

You should cancel or reschedule an interview if you feel ill or sick. The interviewers will understand and likely don’t want to become sick. Instead, you could see if you can have the interview over the phone or through a service like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Consider rescheduling an interview if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Body aches
  • High temperature
  • Fatigue

A work emergency with your current employer

A work conflict is another good excuse as to when you should reschedule an interview. You should not blow off work responsibility to apply to another job. However, you have the right to attend the interview if you took time off specifically for interviewing.

The company you’re applying to will understand because you currently have work responsibilities.

Not to mention, it’s tough to interview for another position when interviews happen during your working hours. You can try to avoid work conflicts by:

  1. Taking paid time off or unpaid leave to interview
  2. Scheduling the interview on your day off
  3. Scheduling the interview during your lunch break as a phone interview
  4. Adjusting your work schedule to facilitate the interview

You don’t have to tell your current employer about your interview. Instead, you can ask to adjust your work schedule slightly for personal reasons.

Just make sure to charge your time appropriately, depending on how you avoid work conflicts.

Health issue

Any health issue, mental, physical, or otherwise, is a good excuse to cancel or reschedule an interview. You don’t have to disclose your ailment, but it would be good to give a general reason, such as a ‘health concern.’

Examples of health issues which you should consider rescheduling your interview include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Illness
  • Ongoing medical treatments
  • A medical appointment opened up at the same time as your interview

Remember, needing to reschedule due to a health issue can be for yourself or family members.

Reach out to the recruiter and inform them of your need to reschedule. Cite health concerns or personal reasons as your need to reschedule.

Death in the family

Canceling or rescheduling an interview is appropriate if you have a schedule conflict due to a family death. Contact the recruiter and state that you’ll be unable to make it due to a death in the family and that you’d like to reschedule. If you’re leaving town, make sure you have the dates you’re going and when you plan to be back.

Low salary

One of the most common problems with applying for new jobs is that salary is not disclosed upfront. Unfortunately, lack of pay transparency results in wasted time searching for candidates because the compensation doesn’t work. Candidates know what to expect if the pay is disclosed in the job description.

You should cancel the interview immediately if you find the salary insufficient. The company needs to be able to pay you what you’re worth, and most companies struggle to do so.

Bad location or relocation

In some cases, you may have missed the job description, or it didn’t disclose that the position is at another business location. You should cancel your job interview if you are not willing to make the commute or relocate for the position.

For example, a company may have a business office in your city and the next town over. You apply for the job, and the company decides they want you in the next town over.

You could take the position, but now you have a longer commute and have to pay for gas. The increased travel time and gas may not be worth the slight pay increase you might receive.

Qualifications

After applying for the job, you may have decided you don’t have the qualifications for the position. You may choose to cancel the interview because you lack experience.

However, you should still consider going through the interview. Reasons you should interview even if you don’t meet the qualifications include:

  • You might get the job anyways with a big pay increase
  • The company may have decided you meet the qualifications despite the job posting
  • The company may have another position in mind for you along the same lines
  • You’ll meet people in the same industry, and is a good networking opportunity

Bad weather

You should reschedule a job interview for any inclement weather which makes travel unsafe. Alternatively, you can ask to change to a phone or virtual interview in lieu of in-person. However, you shouldn’t reschedule if you don’t want to get wet from a little sprinkle of rain.

Expected travel

When talking to the recruiter, you may find out the required travel time is not as advertised on the posting. Typically jobs might say something like 5-10% travel time. However, the job may require more than the occasional business trip, which is something you’re not interested in.

You should cancel your interview if the job requires more travel than you’re willing to perform. 

Traveling jobs can be difficult for families, so consult your family. Your spouse may have abandonment issues from a parent who traveled for work. Children are particularly vulnerable if their parental figure isn’t around because of constant traveling for work.

Car trouble

Car troubles are an unfortunate but valid reason to reschedule a job interview. Contact the recruiter as soon as you figure out your car won’t start. Alternatively, ask the recruiter if they can interview over the phone so you don’t miss it.

How to cancel an interview

Ideally, you will call the company’s hiring manager to cancel an interview after getting a job or are no longer interested with advanced notice. Give a brief explanation, such as you’ve accepted another position and that you do not wish to waste anyone’s time. Alternatively, you can cancel by email, but you should verify they received your message.

The most formal way to cancel an interview is by calling or emailing. Do your best to give adequate time when canceling an interview. Canceling an interview via text should be considered a last resort.

To cancel a job interview:

  1. Call the recruiter
  2. Thank them for the opportunity to interview
  3. Explain you’re no longer interested in the position
  4. Make sure the recruiter received the message

Some companies may ask you to interview anyway. Usually, they ask you to interview because they’re interested in you for the position and might sway your decision. You have the right to decline.

What do I say when I cancel an interview?

When canceling an interview, all you have to say is that you’ve accepted another position or are no longer available. You should also thank them for their time and consideration. Try to leave on a good note so you have the opportunity to work for the company in the future.

How to cancel a job interview example

Here is an example email template on how to cancel an interview.

To whom it may concern,

Thank you for considering me for [the position]. Unfortunately, I am no longer available for this position as I have accepted another offer elsewhere. I appreciate the opportunity, and I hope I have the chance to work with you in the future.

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Summary: Cancel an interview after accepting another job

As you can see, canceling an interview after accepting another job is okay. You have no obligation to interview, and canceling allows the company to focus on interested candidates. However, you should avoid canceling an interview last minute.

You have to provide for yourself and your family. Therefore, it is recommended that you interview with a company even after accepting a position. You might get a better offer or get an offer to negotiate with the first company.

Good reasons to cancel or reschedule an interview include:

  1. Personal reasons
  2. Family emergencies
  3. Anxiety
  4. You’re no longer interested
  5. You feel ill or sick
  6. A work emergency arose with your current employer
  7. Health issues
  8. Death in the family
  9. Low salary
  10. The job is in a bad location, or relocation is required
  11. You don’t meet the qualifications
  12. Bad weather makes traveling unsafe
  13. You are expected to travel for the job
  14. Car trouble

Canceling an interview doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply state that you are no longer available for the position and thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration. Ideally, you’ll cancel over the phone, but email would suffice.

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.