How to Decline an Interview After It's Already Been Scheduled Over the Phone

Declining an interview after it's already been scheduled over the phone does not happen often, but most hiring managers are understanding if you need to cancel an interview and appreciate that you took the time to cancel with sufficient notice.

The most common cause of cancellation is that the job applicant received an offer elsewhere. If you are calling to decline an interview because of a schedule conflict or you anticipate a different job offer, consider asking to reschedule it for a later date rather than cancelling it.

Make Sure You Need to Cancel

Just because you don't want a particular job doesn't mean you don't have to do the interview. It can help your interviewing skills, and you might find out things about the company, job and compensation that make you think twice about not wanting the job.

Think carefully about your decision to decline the interview. Keep in mind that once you have cancelled the interview, you may not be able to schedule another one. Unless you have signed a contract with another employer, it may be more appropriate to reschedule the interview than decline it.

Don't Wait Until the Last Minute

Cancelling an interview the day of the meeting is rude, unless you can't avoid it. Give the employer as much warning as possible, recommends Generally, this should be as soon as you have decided you will not keep the appointment. A week's notice is better than a day's notice, and calling 20 minutes before the interview is better than not calling at all. Contact the same person who scheduled the interview with you.

Unless you've been asked to contact the interviewer directly, the person who called you is usually the most appropriate person to contact when declining a meeting. For example, if the receptionist scheduled your interview with the CEO, the receptionist is probably the one responsible for the CEO's schedule.

Use Consistent Communications

Contact the person in the same manner in which the interview was scheduled, recommends job search website If this was done over the phone, call the person. Only if the interview was scheduled via email should you consider cancelling via email. This is more than a matter of etiquette. Many people do not check email often, and if your email was not expected, it could end up in a spam filter without ever being seen.

Don't Start with a Voice Message

Call at least three times before leaving a voice message on the telephone. When leaving a message, mention that you did try calling twice before. Because some people check voice messages only once or twice a day, sending a follow-up email can be a good idea if there is less than a day before the scheduled meeting.

Whether you speak in person, leave a message or send an email, use the same etiquette to decline the interview. Begin by apologizing that you have to cancel the interview. Explain why you need to decline the interview. Thank the person for giving you the opportunity to have an interview for the position.