How to Reschedule a Job Interview Through an Email Effectively

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Unsure how to reschedule an interview via email? Rest easy knowing you’re not alone and there’s a way out. 

Sure, a new job opportunity can turn into excitement and anticipation. But having to postpone an interview can be downright scary for any young professional looking to excel in their career. 

I get it! You’ve worked hard to land an appointment with your dream company. Life’s good. 

 After all, a typical online job posting attracts over 250 resumes, but only 2-3% of the applicants get interviews.

But let’s face it:

Life has a way of producing surprises.  And as much as you prepare for your interview and confirm the date and time multiple times, things come up that force you to reschedule. 

Don’t feel like you’ve lost the opportunity. Neither should you worry about seeming flaky by rescheduling an interview. 

The truth is, hiring managers understand that life happens, and they respect honest candidates. By approaching interview rescheduling right, you will preserve your impression and credibility and foster your chances with the role.

This post will highlight legitimate reasons to reschedule an interview and guide you on the proper steps to do it. Also included is an interview reschedule email example for your inspiration.

 Let’s start with why rescheduling shouldn’t intimidate you.  

Why Rescheduling is Normal (Even Through Email)

Despite having genuine reasons to schedule an interview, candidates often worry they’ll seem unreliable or unprofessional. 

Don’t sweat it! Rescheduling an interview is commonplace (and even expected) that most companies have a whole process to handle scheduling conflicts. 

Regardless of your best intentions, bad weather can compromise travel. Spouses and relatives get sick. And sometimes, there just isn’t enough time to fit in all your job responsibilities in a single day. 

Assuming interview rescheduling isn’t a chronic problem for you, you’re good to go.

But don’t be a jerk about it. 

Asking to reschedule at the last minute shows a lack of interest. It’s also a disrespect for the recruiter’s time. And if you’re postponing the meeting over an activity that’s pure entertainment, it’s time you rethink your priorities.

In this day and age, it’s perfectly normal to email your interviewer. 

Some people argue that calls build connectivity between recruiter and candidate. Others may disagree because the interviewer could be doing something else productive instead of having a phone conversation. And still, the recruiter could forget some critical pieces of information. 

If you’re confused about whether to call, email, or SMS your interviewer, this Accountemps study should ease your mind. It highlights the top ways hiring managers prefer to be contacted: 

  • Email (94%)
  • Handwritten note (86%)
  • Phone call (56%)

Social media and text messaging won’t cut it as they scored 7% and 5%, respectively. 

An interview reschedule email is super-convenient compared to explaining yourself over the phone. Plus, emails ease tracking down information. 

What if we look at rescheduling from the perspective of a hiring manager? Well, according to a Yello report, 70% of recruiters prefer email over software for interview scheduling.

5 Good Reasons to Schedule an Interview

Below are among the most legitimate reasons to postpone an interview:

1. You’re Unwell

While this isn’t ideal, illness and injuries happen — and you’re less likely to ace an interview when unwell. And if the condition is contagious, the last place you want to be is in the office with other people.

Send an email right away explaining you’re ill and won’t make it. Not only will rescheduling give you time to recover, but it will also ensure that you are at your best for the interview.

2. Family Emergency

Everyone’s definition of a family emergency is different, but generally, these are somewhat rare and unexpected situations that require immediate attention. 

You certainly don’t want to race through the interview with your mind elsewhere. If your spouse needs immediate medical attention or you’re mourning the loss of a loved one, that would be a logical reason to schedule an interview.

3. Car Troubles

Car issues happen at the worst possible times, so don’t feel bad about having to reschedule because of them! Just make sure you provide plenty of notice. 

Depending on the issue with your car, it may be unnecessary to rearrange the meeting for another day. But by informing the interviewer about a potential delay beforehand, they may be willing to keep your appointment even though you’ll arrive a few hours late. 

4. Work Commitments

It can be challenging to get away for an interview if you’re working full-time. Whether it’s a last-minute business meeting or an unexpected shift at work, explain that you have another work commitment and suggest another time.

5. Unfavorable Weather

Mother Nature can be unpredictable, and sometimes severe weather calls for caution when traveling. But better be safe than sorry. 

Most employers will understand if you need to reschedule because of a natural disaster. 

Inappropriate Reasons to Reschedule an Interview

There’s a fine line between convincing a recruiter you’re a serious professional and making yourself look like a flake. Below are wrong reasons not to mention in a reschedule interview email:

  • Forgetting: The recruiter will question your organizational skills if you admit to forgetting about the interview. 
  • Hungover or oversleeping: No recruiter and employer would accept such habits. They’re pointers to poor work ethics and a dent in the capacity to deliver expected results.
  • Other interviews: Stating you’re rescheduling an interview because of other job opportunities indicates you’ve set your priorities elsewhere. That will likely rub the recruiter up the wrong way.

How to Reschedule a Job Interview Through Email

The current job market is a candidate’s market! But that isn’t a leeway for job applicants to do things haphazardly. Here’s how to reschedule a job interview without jeopardizing your candidacy:

  • Be prompt
  • Provide a genuine reason
  • Be gracious
  • Suggest new interview times
  • Follow up with a phone call 
  • Accommodate suggested alternatives

Be Prompt

Respect the interviewer’s time. They probably have to work around a business lunch or project meetings to accommodate your interview. In other words, the sooner you reschedule an interview, the better.

The minimum amount of time you should wait before sending an interview reschedule email is 24 hours. 

If your situation changes within 24 hours of your interview, call your interviewer immediately and let them know.

Provide a Legitimate Reason

Canceling your interview without a good reason could have dire consequences for your job search.

Don’t beat around the bush. Provide a brief explanation, but don’t go into too much detail

But what if the issue might negatively impact the interviewer’s perception of you (like a hangover)? If so, consider using a more generic excuse like “personal reasons” or “unforeseen circumstances.” 

Be Gracious

A postponement might inconvenience and frustrate the recruiter. Whether or not the reason for rescheduling is under your control, it’s common courtesy to apologize for the inconvenience. 

Suggest New Interview Times

Have a few alternative dates and times in mind before rescheduling the meeting with the hiring manager.

Don’t push the interview out too far. Time is of the essence, and the closer you get to the original date, the less likely the recruiter will fill the slot with another candidate. 

Suggest 2-3 dates that will suit your schedule. 

Follow Up With a Phone Call

With the average professional receiving 121 emails daily, the possibilities of your interview schedule email getting lost in the shuffle are pretty high. 

That brings us to the criticality of following up on your email with a phone call. Wait until 24 hours if you provided enough notice (say three days in advance). 

For last-minute rescheduling, follow up within 1-2 hours.

Accommodate Suggested Options

If the hiring manager thinks your proposed interview time slots are inconvenient, they might be flexible enough to suggest alternative times. 

Choose an option you can squeeze into your schedule. If all suggested interview slots work for you, demonstrate your enthusiasm by picking the earliest date. 

And finally, don’t miss the rescheduled interview; else, you risk burning bridges and being blocklisted. 

Example Email Template for Rescheduling a Job Interview Through Email

Not sure how to phrase your reschedule interview email? Customize the following template with details specific to the position and situation.

Dear [hiring manager’s first name],

Thank you for the job interview we scheduled for [original date and time for the interview]. I am excited to learn more about the [job title] role at [company name]. 

Unfortunately, I cannot attend our scheduled meeting because [a brief, legitimate reason for scheduling].

Would it be possible to change the date of our meeting? I am available on [bullet list of convenient dates and times]. Please let me know if any of those times would work for you, and I will change my schedule to accommodate your availability.

Please accept my sincere apology for the inconvenience stemming from my request. I look forward to hearing from you and having the opportunity to discuss how my extensive experience as an [relevant job title] would benefit your company’s goals and objectives.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Summary

It’s okay to reschedule an interview (but only for the right reason). You are not losing a shot at the job. And it’s not about you being flaky; it’s just about life happening. 

By executing a thoughtful, sincere approach, you’ll be better off than if you had canceled your interview outright or shown up unprepared.

And when you attend the interview, don’t turn into a stammering, nervous wreck. Practice and think through all possible questions and scenarios before sitting down with the interviewer. And remember to dress the part and project confidence. 

Happy job hunting!