Advice for Employers and Recruiters

Top 9 excuses for not attending a job interview

William Frierson AvatarWilliam Frierson
June 13, 2016


Oh no! Something has gone horribly wrong and now you can’t attend the job interview! What can you possibly say to the company to make them give you another chance? Well, whatever you are going to say, may I suggest that you say it as early as possible? Call in a timely fashion. This will show them you respect them and their time. This is vital if you want to make certain that you’ll get another chance.

Also, though you might be a fantastic writer and have followed all the writing tips in the world, sending an email really isn’t an option when cancelling a job interview. First of all, it’s impersonal. Secondly, by doing so you demonstrate that your discomfort is more important to you than their opinion of you. That is not how you make friends. So whatever excuse you’re going to use, you should at least have the courtesy to call.

Related: The 5 basic interview questions every entry level job seekers should know

Here are nine excuses job seekers often give when calling employers to pass on job interview opportunities.

1. Family emergency

Though it is a golden oldie that every recruiter has no doubt heard hundreds of time, what makes this one so good is that they really can’t say ‘that’s unacceptable.’ An important thing to consider, however, is that you don’t make the emergency too drastic. There is no need for somebody to have died, for example. Your mother has fainted, your grandmother broke her hip, or your little brother swallowed a marble really are good enough reasons. And as an added bonus if they invite you to come in for another job interview a few days later, they don’t require you to put on a show of misery.

Being sick is an excuse to miss the interview

2. A friend was in bad shape, and I couldn’t leave them

This one is good as it shows that you care about other people enough to sacrifice something that is i

mportant to you in order to look after their well-being. Again, just like with the reason outlined above, you don’t need to take this too far. They should be depressed, not suicidal.

3. Car trouble or accident

It happens to a lot of people and therefore is a good excuse. You can also go with any of the other common accidents that happen if you prefer. That might make it slightly more original. After all the car trouble has been used a lot.

Related: 6 non-verbal interview tips

4. Illness

“The plague” might not be the way to go. Instead, anything that significantly impacts your functioning is good enough. Some people will suggest something like “the runs.” I wouldn’t go that way, however, as dirty illnesses can end up getting associated with you, which can thereby reduce your chances of getting the job. Better to go with a migraine or the flu.

5. I just got a freelance gig at the last minute that I have to take to keep my head above water

This is a great one as it shows that you’re not just looking for work but also working at jobs in the process. Of course, it’s even better if it’s actually true. Have you checked out real freelance opportunities?

If you are feeling bad, you cancel the job interview6. I’m not in good shape today, and I’d just be wasting all your time

Maybe you suffered from a bout of insomnia because of the job? Maybe you’re just in a weird place? If you call early enough in the day then there’s a good chance they will understand and allow you to reschedule your job interview.

7. Somebody called me and told me that the job was gone. Only later did I realize they were calling from another company.

It’s an honest mistake. It does make you look slightly scatterbrained as you got confused, but it could have happened. It’s also not that common of an excuse, meaning you’ve got originality going for you. So there’s that.

8. There was an emergency at work, and it would have been irresponsible to leave.

The great thing about this one is that it makes you look like you care a great deal about your current employer, despite looking for other work. It also makes you look indispensable, which is also a bonus.

9. The truth!

But honestly, I would never use any of these if they weren’t true, as that means you’re starting off your relationship with a potential future employer with a lie. There are a lot of employers’ reviews websites where there could be negative information about you. And to me that that doesn’t feel like the right way to go. Call it karma, call it doing the right thing, call it the golden rule, but for me the only option is calling them and telling them the truth.

If you miss out on the opportunity to reschedule your job interview because you told the truth, then so be it. Better to miss an interview and maintain integrity than to move forward under false pretenses.

Diana Beyer, guest writer

Diana Beyer, guest writer

About Diana Beyer: Diana is an experienced and self-driven media expert who is passionate about writing. Her purpose is to share values amid those interested. She is always seeking to discover new ways for personal and professional growth. Connect with Diana though Twitter.

New Job Postings

Advanced Search

Request A Proposal

We believe that every student and recent grad deserves a great career. Get a personalized proposal for how best to reach your target candidates by entering your info here. We will respond within one business day.


Related Articles

No Related Posts.
View More Articles