Cancelling anything, from a first date to a hair appointment, can feel awkward, however with job interviews you gain the extra pressure of not burning your bridges for the future. Whether the cancellation is due to a real emergency, a change of heart, or the acceptance of another role, it’s important you tread lightly when cancelling your appointment.
Depending on the amount of time between your decision to cancel and the interview itself, the ideal way to cancel is via the way it was arranged, however as you get closer to the date, it’s going to become more prudent to call, especially if you’re looking to reschedule.
Similar to the interview itself, once the phone call is complete, it can show extra commitment to email and reiterate your interest in the position. However, a common mistake for those panicking about cancelling is to go off on a tangent detailing their issue or emergency, coming across as unprofessional and even as though they’re overcompensating for a lie.
Whilst you do owe the interviewer an apology for their time, you do not owe them an overwrought explanation, simply stating you have had a family or work emergency is enough. When hoping to reschedule, this negation of detail will also ensure they don’t jump to the assumption the same emergency will happy constantly at work also.
Things crop up, life is messy, however the most important factor to your interviewer will be that you have informed them as soon as is possible, allowing them to fill that timeslot with something else. Other than that, stay calm, stay to the point and always be polite.