Getting a company to call you in for a job interview is one of the hardest parts of the job search. What happens if circumstances force you to consider rescheduling? Believe it or not, having to reschedule the interview does not automatically disqualify you from the running.
Reasons to Reschedule
There are several valid reasons for having to reschedule a job interview. Personal reasons such as a hospitalization, a death in the family or another unavoidable emergency understandably require your immediate and full attention. If you are traveling to another city to interview and your flight is canceled, that's another valid reason. If you are currently employed, sometimes commitments related to your current position may arise and prevent you from interviewing. Your own health issues may also present a very good reason to reschedule. If you come down with a severe cold or the flu, the interviewer is sure to appreciate you reaching out to make alternate arrangements.
One big reason you may have to reschedule the interview is if you are running extremely late. This is a delicate situation, as you should always do your best to make it to your original interview on time and well prepared. However, getting lost, stuck in traffic or caught in bad weather can all make you run seriously behind. Rescheduling a job interview at the last minute can be a deal-breaker for potential employers, especially if they are on a tight schedule or must make a hiring decision quickly. Understand the possible consequences of rescheduling, and apply your best judgment should this happen to you.
The moment you realize you need to reschedule a job interview, notify the interviewer immediately, preferably via email and phone. You want to give the interviewer as much advance notice as possible, to show him that you respect his time. You are not required to give him the full details if it is a personal situation, but convey the seriousness or urgency of the situation as well as your regrets. If you cannot call or don't get through and must leave a voice mail message or send an email, follow up to ensure the interviewer received the message. If the interviewer allows you to reschedule, follow up with a short note or email thanking him for accommodating you.
After the Interview
Being allowed to reschedule a job interview is not the end of the battle. Even if you had a good reason to postpone, you are now at a disadvantage compared to other candidates who made it to their interviews on time and with no drama. Therefore, your follow-up routine after the interview must be top-notch to keep you at the top of the interviewer's short list. Prepare a handwritten thank you note for the interviewer, thanking him for his time, consideration and accommodation to convey not only your professionalism and graciousness, but also your gratitude.
Rescheduling a job interview does not have to spell doom for your job search dreams. Interviewers are people too, and they know that life sometimes gets in the way of best-laid plans. If you have a valid reason for rescheduling and go about it with professionalism and tact, you can salvage your reputation, ace the job interview and still have a great shot at that dream job.
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