When is the Right Time to Reschedule Your Job Interview?

May 12th, 2014 | Articles, Job Search | No Comments »

Rescheduling your job interview

Sometimes, even the best laid plans go awry. When something happens outside of human control, even a prepared job seeker will be faced with an undesirable question: should you reschedule your job interview?

Rescheduling your job interview may be unthinkable when your old job isn’t lighting your fires anymore. The longer your talents are left smoldering, the harder it can be to rekindle them. Yet on occasion, it’s better to reschedule your job interview instead of attending and hurting your chances at new employment.

Before you ask to reschedule your job interview, see if your reason fits into one of the following three categories:

Physical Illness: Unfortunately, bacteria, viruses, and any physical ailments won’t wait until your job interview is done and over. However, not every illness is a reason to reschedule your interview.

Are you highly contagious or visibly ill? Ask about rescheduling your job interview the moment your symptoms become unbearable. Hiring managers, rather than being impressed by your dedication to the interview, will be perturbed that you didn’t think of the health and well-being of everyone else in their office.

If your symptoms are under control, there’s no need to reschedule your job interview quite yet. Keep your scheduled interview time but take as many precautions as possible to avoid spreading your illness. Avoid shaking hands and politely explain that you are beginning to feel under the weather – you don’t want your conscientiousness to be interpreted the wrong way.

Personal Tragedy: A death in the family or a pressing emergency are more than reasonable excuses to reschedule your job interview. Hiring managers understand that your mind will be anywhere but the interview when so many other thoughts are swirling around in your head.

When rescheduling your job interview, you don’t overload your interviewer with gruesome details. Stick to a basic explanation (i.e. you lost a family member or have a family emergency) and remain polite. Anything beyond surface level descriptions can be too much for a total stranger to handle.

Work Obligations: Even if you had the foresight to schedule your job interview around work obligations, the unexpected can crop up out of nowhere.

For example, if you have to travel for work and have to make an unforeseen flight to the opposite side of the country, you don’t have much choice.

In this case, it’s also important to bear in mind the response of the company interviewing you. They may interpret your prioritization of your current employer as a sign that you’re not willing to move on quite yet. If you decide to reschedule, always be sure to convey the full gravity of the problem.

When rescheduling your interview…

When you decide to reschedule your job interview, stick to these rules:

  • Contact the hiring manager as soon as you know you will not be able to keep your commitment.
  • Reschedule your job interview on the spot. If you try to reschedule later, it may already be too late.
  • Don’t push back the job interview any further than a week. Hiring managers that are looking to move fast will be reluctant to wait that long.
  • Send a message thanking the hiring manager for allowing you to reschedule your job interview.

When you finally make it to your rescheduled interview, it’s time to pull out all the stops. Show that you have thoroughly researched the company, prepared thoughtful responses, and explored ways to advance the company forward. That way, the hiring manager will know rescheduling your interview was the right thing to do.

by James Walsh

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