Cancelling a job interview


Screaming headache, unrelenting sniffles, and sudden fever. You know that autumn “bug” is going to hit you on the day of your interview, right? So should you cancel an interview when you’re sick?

If your illness is (or could be) contagious, it’s definitely a good choice to cancel the interview and ask to reschedule. The last thing you need when your immune system is vulnerable is exposure to new germs from your interviewer and his/her workplace. The last thing your interviewer needs is to be exposed to your active germs.

Will the interviewer be understanding and forgiving? Likely so. And if they’re not, do you really want to work for an employer that encourages people to take these health risks? Remember: the employer is communicating something to you about their culture with every step of the interviewing process.

If your illness is not contagious, then you have some considerations to weigh in deciding whether to reschedule your interview.

  • If you’re not feeling well, then you’re likely also not interviewing well.  You want to interview when your energy, focus, and presentation are top-shape.
  • Your interviewer may not be as understanding about cancelling and rescheduling if this is a non-contagious circumstance.  If you cancel, they may wonder whether this is a chronic pattern for you that could signal a lack of dependability as a prospective employee.
  • For some positions, the hiring timeline is such that rescheduling may not be an option.  So cancelling your appointment may also mean withdrawing your name from consideration.

Whatever your choice, be sure to give your interviewer as much notice as possible if you need to reschedule.  That’s just basic courtesy.

by Elyse Williamson

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