Things can happen, and they often do happen in the most unfortunate moments. You get sick when getting ready for the BIG day, for the interview for your dream job. Or you have to attend a wedding, a funeral, an important celebration, or other occasion you simply cannot miss for one reason or another. What’s more, sometimes you may simply feel unprepared for the meeting with the hiring managers. You want more time to get ready for the questions, to do a better research about the employer, and simply to make sure you’ll give it your best shot. In all these cases, it makes sense to reschedule your interview, and I will try to show you how to do it, in the best possible way.

Before we look at the steps and hints, you should realize one thing: rescheduling an interview isn’t anything extraordinary. You will be neither the first nor the last person who calls the hiring managers asking for a new schedule. They’ve experienced it before, they will experience it after, and there is no reason to think that trying to reschedule your interview will have a negative impact on your chances to succeed. Of course, you should do it the right way, and that’s exactly what we will discuss on the following lines.

 

Phone call is ten times better than an email

Unless you lack the phone number or the corporation/recruitment agency communicates with you only by an email, you should always call them to reschedule your interview. First of all, you should realize the most hiring managers are extremely busy.

The last thing they want to do is sending back and forth messages with you, trying to find a fitting schedule. They do not want to waste your time, and they often cannot afford wasting their time… On the call, you simply discuss it in real time–they tell you the possibilities, and you will pick one that fits your schedule, and the reasons why you had to reschedule at the first place.

 

Emotions and attitude

What’s more, you can feel their emotions when you have them on the phone. How do they react to your request? Do they sound okay with it, or, on the contrary, do they sound extremely unhappy? Once you are talking to them in real time, you can even reconsider (in real time) your request, especially when you get an impression that they are under some time pressure, for example having an order to finalize the hiring process until a certain date.

Once you sense such a thing on a call, you may reconsider your plans. You may even accept some bizarre time they offer you as a replacement for the original schedule, such as early morning or late evening. Last but not least, calling them shows that the job offer means a lot to you, that you give the interview with them some importance. And that’s definitely an attitude you want to show.

You do not have to explain the details, but you should always give them a reason why you want to reschedule your interview

At the end of the day, you have no obligation to share details from your personal life with the corporate managers. And they have no right to ask for such details. At the same time, however, saying that you simply want to reschedule an interview without specifying any reason could put a serious dent to your credibility in their eyes. Bearing it in mind, you should always at least vaguely explain your reasons.

Perhaps you can say that you cannot come from health reasons, or because of an unexpected occasion in the family, or some unforeseeable commitment with your present employer, something you didn’t know about when they invited you for the interview the first time. Actually if you feel all right about sharing your real reasons with all details, you can do so. But do it without emotions and other unnecessary baggage. Simply explain why you cannot come.

 

Feeling unprepared isn’t a good reason to reschedule the interviews

It can easily happen that you want to reschedule the meeting simply because you feel unprepared, and want to spend more time getting ready for the questions they may ask you. And while it shows your strong motivation to do well and get a job, it isn’t a good enough reason to reschedule. Why?

Because other candidates had the same time as you did. They managed to prepared–perhaps sacrificing some evenings or even weekends to get ready, while you neglected the preparation, and now you want to reschedule… It just doesn’t throw a good light on you. What to do in this case?

Well, in this case you don’t have to be 100% honest with them. You can refer to another reason–commitment with your present employer, some family issue, etc, while in fact you simply want to prepare better, to maximize your chances of getting the job.

 

Let them offer you new schedule, and show some flexibility

You should let them lead the hiring process. It would not do you much good if you said that you could come only on Friday afternoon, because no other schedule suits you. Try to show some flexibility. Unless they ask you to choose the time, let them offer two or three new options, and pick the most fitting one.

Of course, the level of flexibility depends on your position in the interviews. If you apply for some entry level job with a big corporation, you have almost no choices. Because many people apply for such jobs, the differences between candidates are minor, and the hiring managers do not care that much whether they eventually talk to you or not. They have plenty of choices, many other candidates will come.

The situation changes completely when you apply for some engineering or IT role, or any specialist position. In such a case, the negotiation power is in your hands, because companies (unless they are named Amazon, Google, Facebook ,etc) struggle with hiring new engineers. Therefor you can even choose your time for the interviews, and in a way you dictate the rules, because the hiring managers definitely want to see you. In some extreme cases, you may be their only option… Keep these things on your mind while deciding how to approach the call, and the rescheduling of your eventual interview.

 

To apologize does never hurt

Rescheduling an interview is a certain inconvenience for the hiring managers. Because they already had their plan, perhaps of a long interview day, meeting many candidates from morning to afternoon, and now they have to make changes to their plan. They have to find a replacement for you, and also an empty space in their busy schedule to meet you.

You should show some emotional intelligence on the call. Say them that you are sorry, that you understand the inconvenience you cause them with your request. But bearing the circumstances you cannot do otherwise, and you hope that they will manage to find a new schedule for you. It never hurts showing some recognition of their efforts. On the contrary, it can only help you to build a better starting position for the interviews.

 

Final thoughts

Rescheduling an interview is not anything unheard of in the HR circles. People are busy, and things do happen, and hiring managers will understand if you have to reschedule an interview. When you do so, however, you should keep a few things on your mind:

  • Do it over the phone, and you should never do it later than 24 hours before the start of the actual interviews. The sooner you reschedule, the easier it will be for them to adjust your plans.
  • Give them at least a vague reason, and never say that you want to reschedule because you want more time for preparation. The more details you share with them, the more credible your request will sound.
  • Let them offer you the new schedule, and try to show some flexibility. If they offer you three different times and you refuse all of them–even for eligible reasons, you can forget about getting the job. When something matters to us, we will eventually find the time for it.
  • Consider your position carefully before calling them. Can you offer something other candidates cannot? And how many applicants can they have for the job in question? Adjust your strategy accordingly, without risking to lose your chances.
  • Apologize for the inconvenience, and give them some credit for their work. They should get an impression that you really are sorry, and did all you could to avoid a need to reschedule, before you actually picked the phone and called them…

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Matthew Chulaw
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