Job interviews, whether you want the job or not, are worth going to for the practice. You have nothing to lose and only experience to gain. You may practice your interviews with your friends and career coaches, but it is more helpful to go to a real interview. You get to see what happens when you have all the confidence in the world because you do not care if you get the job or not.
And what is the worst that can happen? They choose to hire you.
But for this post, we will explain the professional way to skip a job interview, if you are absolutely sure you cannot and do not want to attend the job interview.
Give as Much Notice as Possible
The worst thing to do is just not show up. If another job is posted at the company in the future, they will have your name on file and they would be less likely to contact you. The best thing to do is to let them know as quickly as possible that you cannot make it. If you have another job interview, it's best not to tell your interviewer. Instead, let them know you have a work or family conflict.
Try to Reschedule for Another Time
It seems backward to ask for a reschedule when you want to skip the interview, but it is professional to do it this way. Let the hiring manager know you would love to reschedule your interview for another time. Sometimes, they will reschedule, but most times they will just move on with interviews without you and promise to contact you for a job interview later.
When You Absolutely Cannot Make It…Tell Them
Life happens and so do life emergencies. If you cannot give a company 24 hours notices, contact them as soon as possible to let them know what happened. It is a real emergency, the person holding the interview will be understanding. It is better to be honest. Life emergencies happen and any company that does not show understanding is a company that should be ignored anyway.
If You Have to Cancel…but Want to Reschedule
There are times when you simply have to cancel and cannot reschedule. When you contact the company to let them know, try saying something polite, “I'm very sorry, but an emergency has come up and won't be able to make our interview tomorrow.”
Then, let them know, “I'm still interested in the position and would be extremely grateful if we could reschedule.”
It is uncomfortable when you have to share bad news and ask complete strangers for an interview reschedule, but it is better to be upfront and honest (without sharing too much private information). There is great value in today’s business world to be an employee with interpersonal and verbal skills. Being able to communicate what is wrong to solve a problem is a positive business trait.
If You Just Don’t Want to Go
Go to the interview anyway. As mentioned previously, job interviews are great ways to practice your interview skills while meeting possible future business connections. The best things always happen at the interviews you planned to skip, but went to anyway.
Something odd happens when we interview for jobs we do not want. We are not held back by the fear of loss and given we really do not want the job, we tend to be a little more confident. When we remove the fear of loss, we tend to show our most positive traits we normally are in fear of revealing (ex: sense of humor and true personality).
And when all is said and done, what is the worst thing that can happen because you interviewed? They offer you a job. You like the people you meet. And you discover you would not mind working at the company. You have to turn the job down or they reject you.
It’s all a win-win when you have no fear of losing the job because you really don’t care if you get it.