I was talking to a friend of mine who is a hiring manager for a major retail store and I asked for her most memorable interview experience. She said they had a candidate come in who looked perfect on paper, but when he showed up he seemed extremely pale and it looked like he was having a hard time moving around.
As the interview progressed, he started to look worse and they started to get worried about him. She asked him if he was feeling all right, as he was taking a long time to even start to answer a question. He responded by telling them that he had surgery that morning (I won’t tell you where, but let’s just say it was on an unmentionable part of his body, which he was very graphic about describing), he then asked to just “give him a minute”. About five very awkward minutes of silence later the interview continued.
While being called in for an interview is very exciting, there are times when it is OK to ask to reschedule:
- You already booked a surgery for that morning – See story above.
- You are legitimately sick – More than just a headache or hangnail.
- You have a family emergency – Hiring managers are people, too, and understand that emergencies do happen.
- There’s three feet of snow on the ground – Chances are the business is closed that day anyway. But if they’re open then you should use your best judgement.
It’s not OK to reschedule when (actual real-world examples):
- Your pet cat seems depressed and you don’t want to leave it alone.
- The interview time is too early and you like to sleep in.
- It’s too nice of a day and you want to go to the beach.
- You decided to stay an extra day on your vacation.
Rescheduling an interview can be tricky, but if you are open and honest (and can reschedule quickly) it may not be a problem.