How to Reschedule an Interview Without Losing the Job

Job seeker on the phone, illustrating how to reschedule an interview

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AnnaMarie Houlis
AnnaMarie Houlis
July 25, 2024 at 4:0AM UTC

So you've been offered a job interview—congratulations! It's already on the calendar and you're hoping you’re well on your way to landing the gig. Then suddenly, something else comes up, and you have no choice: You need to reschedule your interview.

Showing up on time and prepared is key when you’re trying to prove to prospective employers that you're reliable, punctual, and on top of your game. But sometimes life happens and you know you just can’t make it at the original time. In these situations, how do you ask to reschedule an interview? Can you do it without jeopardizing your chances of getting the job? Let's find out.

Is it unprofessional to reschedule an interview?

While rescheduling an interview isn't ideal, it's not necessarily unprofessional depending on your reasons and how you deal with the situation. There is always a chance, of course, that an employer doesn’t have time in their schedule to accommodate a switch or that they need to fill the job ASAP. 

But as long as you follow some basic courtesy tips—and give your interviewer as much heads up as possible—the employer is likely to understand, and hopefully they won’t hold this scheduling snafu against you. 

Read more: This is How to Turn Down an Interview Without Ruining Your Reputation

Valid reasons for rescheduling an interview

Ultimately, whether your reason to reschedule an interview is “good enough” is up to you. But some of the common reasons for rescheduling an interview are: 

  • Your health: If you're severely sick, you’re not going to perform optimally and you risk infecting other people, including your prospective employer. Use your discretion here. If you have a slight headache and the interview is happening over Zoom, you probably don’t need to reschedule. But if you have a cough, fever, or any symptoms of COVID-19, no prospective employer wants to meet you in person—and they’ll think it’s way more unprofessional that you risked getting them sick than that you rescheduled. 

  • A serious work obligation: While you're interviewing for a new job because you plan on leaving your current one, you don't want to burn bridges before you even have a verbal offer. Mitigate the chances of having to reschedule for work reasons by letting your prospective employer know up front that the scheduled interview date is tentative until you can confirm that you’ve been granted the time off. 

  • A personal or family emergency: Any employer should understand that you need to reschedule if a personal or family emergency occurs, like a death in the family or your kid breaking a bone, for example. If they don't, you might want to reconsider your interest in working for them in the first place.

How to reschedule an interview in 6 steps

Once you realize you have to reschedule an interview, make sure to do it properly to avoid leaving the interviewer with a negative impression. Follow these steps:

1. Reach out as soon as you can

Thinking about how to reschedule an interview last minute? Try not to. The more notice you give about needing to reschedule, the better. Your interviewer will likely appreciate that you let them know as soon as you found out about the scheduling conflict. 

Depending on how you've been communicating so far, you’ll want to either send an email or make a phone call ASAP. If you've been exclusively chatting on the phone to discuss the job and schedule the interview, you should call to let them know you’re sincere. Usually, though, an email is a safe bet. 

2. Say you’ll need to reschedule up front

Within the first two sentences of the email you should state plainly that you need to reschedule the interview. Getting directly to the point not only makes it less likely for someone skimming their email to miss it, but also shows respect for your interviewer’s time—rather than making them read a long story about your day before they even know why you’re reaching out. 

Make sure you explicitly state you need to reschedule. Don’t just tell the interviewer how busy you are and that you’re not sure what to do and hope they’ll suggest rescheduling. 

3. Provide a reason (if you can) 

If you’re comfortable sharing and you can come off professional while doing so, you should give your reason for needing to reschedule. If you don’t want to go into detail, a simple descriptor like “family emergency” or “unexpected work obligation I can’t get out of” will suffice. Even if you’re comfortable going into detail, keep your explanation brief—a sentence or less. Again, you want to show you respect the interviewer’s time. 

4. Apologize for the inconvenience 

Say that you’re sorry for any inconvenience you may have caused or be causing—not for the fact that you’re sick or that your children’s school had an unexpected snow day. Here are some examples of how to apologize for rescheduling an interview:

  • I deeply apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding in advance;

  • I sincerely apologize for rescheduling. I want to thank you in advance for understanding;

  • I want to sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you in advance for understanding.

5. Express your continued enthusiasm for the job

Make sure it’s clear that needing to reschedule hasn’t changed how excited you are about the position and thank them (again) for the opportunity to interview. 

6. Suggest alternative times when you can meet

Show that you’re proactive about fixing problems by suggesting times or days when you will be able to interview. And suggest days you’re sure will work. Needing to reschedule more than once isn’t going to look great to a future employer.

How to reschedule an interview: Examples

OK, now that you understand the basics of how to ask for an interview reschedule, how about putting these tips into action? Here are three examples of emails for different situations:

Example #1: How to ask to reschedule an interview due to illness

Dear Julie,

I'm emailing you because I need to reschedule our interview for the Copywriter position that we had scheduled for this Thursday. Unfortunately, I unexpectedly fell ill and am experiencing severe pain. I have a medical appointment on Thursday, and I won't be available until 5 p.m.

Could we reschedule the interview for another date? I am available from this Friday to next Wednesday at any time in the afternoon. Please let me know what works best for you.

I apologize deeply for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding in advance. I want to reiterate my strong interest in the position and my gratitude for being considered to join CopyAgency.

Thank you,

Emma

Example #2: How to reschedule interview email due to family emergency

Dear Catherine,

I'm reaching out to inform you that I will need to reschedule our interview for the Sales Manager position, which was originally set for this Monday. Unfortunately, there has been a family emergency as my mother was involved in a domestic accident, and I need to travel to her town to be with her at the hospital.

Thankfully, she is expected to be discharged from the hospital by Wednesday, and I will be available for the rest of the week at any time in the morning. I am also free next week from Monday to Friday, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Could we reschedule the interview to accommodate this change? Please let me know when it's more convenient for you.

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and I want to thank you in advance for your understanding. I remain very interested in the Sales Manager position at The Cool Firm and am eager to further discuss how I can contribute to your sales team.

Thank you once again,

Kandice

Example #3: How to reschedule interview due to current work

Dear Theresa,

I'm writing to let you know that I need to reschedule our interview for the Operations Director position, which was originally scheduled for Friday 3 p.m. I'm looking forward to learning more about the role and the challenges at The Operations Inc.. However, I have been asked to cover the shift of a colleague who unexpectedly fell ill at my current job.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Could we please reschedule the interview? I am available next Monday morning or Tuesday afternoon. If you have a different date in mind, please let me know and I will do my best to accommodate.

Once again, I sincerely apologize for rescheduling. Thank you in advance for understanding and flexibility. I want to reiterate my interest in the Operations Director position and my appreciation for the opportunity.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Mariah

How to reschedule an interview: Email template

Not quite there yet? Here's a handy template you can customize to send a clear and professional email in seconds:

Hi [Interviewer name],

I’m reaching out to let you know that I’ll need to reschedule our interview for the [job title] position that we had set for [day/date and time]. I’m looking forward to [discussing the job with you/learning more about the position/other aspect of the interview you’re excited about], but unfortunately, [brief explanation of why you need to reschedule].

Could we reschedule our interview for a later date? I am available [other days/times that you're available]. Let me know if any of those options work for you or if you would prefer another date or time.

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding in advance. I’d also like to reiterate that I’m very grateful to be considered for this position and have the opportunity to [reason you’d like to join the company/get the job].

Thank you, 

[Your Name]

Whether you email or call, be sure to take note of your interviewer's response. Remember that an interview is a two-way street, and you're deciding on them just as much as they're deciding on you. How they choose to respond in a situation like this can be very telling of how this employer will be with regard to work-life balance if you do end up working for them. 

Just be confident in your need to reschedule, be prepared for the possible outcomes, and be short, sweet and to the point. If you handle it professionally, and they're really interested in you, they'll make it work.

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