Will Rescheduling My Interview Look Bad?

John Krautzel
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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.

Rescheduling Etiquette

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.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks @Susan for that. I also work from home and love it. Wouldn't change it. Although I see job postings that are tempting, I love what I do and the convenience of my commute. I am in Pittsburgh so I know what you mean by traffic! Congrats again for stepping out and doing your own thing!

  • Who Cares
    Who Cares

    @Nancy: I've been in business for 5 years. It's been great thank you! No long commutes, no driving to work other than client meetings which are rare anyway. Love it. In a metro area such as Phoenix it was maddening the amount of gas I wasted on going to interviews I knew I would never get hired from anyway.

  • Nancy A.
    Nancy A.

    @Susan thanks for your comment. I could actually see it happening because I, also, have been in your position. What are the odds that it would be the same CFO?! You would think that the CFO would have been given your resume and would have known ahead of time that it was you. Sad state of affairs in some companies. Good for you for moving away from this and starting your own business. No more interviews from that side of the table anymore. Now you get to run the interviews when you start hiring. Good luck in your new adventure!

  • Susan Ashe
    Susan Ashe

    When I first moved to Arizona from Illinois I made the horrible career killing decision to get wrapped up with temp places - big mistake but anyway I went to work for one of the airlines here and was going to be working directly underneath a manager that I really liked and who I had alot in common with. I was going to be groomed as her right hand person and then moved into a lateral position equal to her and take over managing part of her staff. Within the first 3 days I quickly discovered that not only did her own staff hate her but so did her (our) bosses and the CFO was a complete a**! The staff spoke to her in such a way that my jaw literally dropped a few times overhearing it all. I wasn't getting any training, no work assigned to me ... nothing. So a week into it all she took me out for a "welcome lunch" with the rest of the department. It was during that lunch that she announced that she was resigning. Um what???? You personally handpicked me and now you're leaving? Anyway long story short - the CFO and the staff all took out their hatred for the resigning woman and passed it onto me. I sat in the company for 3 months (that was my 90 days with the temp agency before I got hired full time) literally going to work every day - turning the PC on and doing NOTHING! 8 hours of absolutely NOTHING! On my 89th day of course I got told it wasn't going to work out and that I wasn't a "good fit". I laughed in the CFO's face and said well considering that you never gave me any work to do how do you know I wasn't a good fit? I got up and left and walked out a happy person with a month's severance.

    Fast forward 6 months and I got a call for an interview for a job that I was perfect for - right down the line of everything they were looking for in an industry that I had worked in for 20 years. I get to the interview and the gal that had set the interview up with me came out and greeted me and took me into a conference room and told me the CFO would be in within a few minutes. Well... she and I sat there for a few minutes and he walks in and when I looked up it was the CFO (AKA Mr Jacka**) from the former airline company! We looked at each other and I immediately grabbed my purse and notebook and got up and said "NOT IN THIS LIFETIME!" And walked out laughing.

    But the absolute worst one I can ever remember was the fat bald slob that kept looking over my shoulder past me into the reception area - I didn't look behind me until he started making lewd comments about how he wanted to "hit that" and I looked over my shoulder to see a young gal in a thigh high miniskirt and I promptly got up and walked out after I said "thanks and have a nice day". When his business partner called me 5 minutes later I told him what happened and that I was not interested in a job with them.

    I wake up every morning now and thank God that I no longer have to go to any interviews, never have to deal with any hiring managers, never have to deal with insolent staff either. Owning my own business is the best thing ever!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Thomas so sorry you had to get an interview with such an unprofessional company! If it had been me, I would have stood up, thanked him for his time and walked. That's just me! I also have been in interviews where the interviewer is reading my resume while I am sitting there - no forethought put into the interview. Just like grabbing someone off the street to do the interview. Needless to say, I would never accept an offer from a company like that. However, as to your second point - most hiring managers or interviewers probably had never worked the position. That's not unusual. Maybe they got hired directly into a management position with the company and were never in the trenches. Now, if I had been in the interview when the guy fell out of his chair - I would have quickly made sure he was okay and then would have laughed and made my exit!!! Big question here - did they make you an offer?

  • Thomas G.
    Thomas G.

    I've had interviews where the recruiter or hiring manager didn't even know my name, much less read my resume in advance of our appointment. I had one moron, prop his feet up on his desk - fall backwards out of his chair, then proceed to take 5 inbound calls, initiate 2 outbound calls all the while I sat there in front of him trying to explain my credentials. Another great gimmick is to have a hiring manager interview you for a position that they have never personally performed themselves - that's just brilliant. No wonder so much great talent is still sitting on the sidelines waiting to be hired.

  • David T.
    David T.

    Great article

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jose it really doesn't have anything to do with age. I have been on interviews with hiring managers who would rather be doing anything other than talking to me. They are distracted - keep looking at their phone - excuse themselves to take a call or have people knocking on the door during the interview. I have been on interviews where the hiring manager had no idea what the position entailed and therefore didn't know what questions to ask. Can you say uncomfortable! I have been in the same boat as Susan - almost at the company when I get a call that the hiring manager had an "emergency" and would have to reschedule. I simply thank them for their time and move on. Respect really does have to be given on both sides of the coin.

  • Jose B.
    Jose B.

    Only if you are over 50!

  • Who Cares
    Who Cares

    I can't count the number of times I sat and sat and sat and waited while the hiring manager "took another call" or better yet - they forgot the appt totally. But that's ok right? I got calls twice to "reschedule" only problem was I was a block away from the company after driving 40 miles to get to the place. I walked out on the ones who kept me waiting for a half hour or more and never rescheduled for the others. Thank GOD I don't have to mess with this anymore.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Thomas you are certainly right. If you absolutely cannot make the interview, call and let them know and request to reschedule. But it's best to do that prior to the day of the interview. Granted, emergencies do crop up but it would have to be a pretty serious emergency to miss an interview. So yes, always call and reschedule. Never just gaff off an interview.

  • Thomas C.
    Thomas C.

    It is most important to make your job interview. If not call and let them know why as to keep jobs open in future.

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