4 Cancel Interview Email Templates That Don't Burn Bridges

Recruitment doesn’t always go smoothly, so it’s useful to have a few go-to templates in the locker. One of the templates that’ll prove handy is for an interview cancellation email. Being able to cancel interviews politely and professionally lets you take care of candidates without losing them from your candidate pool.

Reasons vary for canceled interviews. That’s why it’s crucial to have more than one cancel interview email template you can rely on.

So, is it unprofessional to cancel an interview?

Of course not, sometimes circumstances change and it would be rude not to cancel. But how you cancel an interview with candidates matters.

Note: if you’re a candidate that needs to cancel an interview by email, skip to the “cancel an interview by email” sample at the bottom of this article.

How to cancel an interview without burning bridges

A phone call is a preferred way to inform candidates that their interview has been canceled, particularly if it was scheduled for that day.

A phone call gives candidates space to ask questions if they need to.

But, if the candidate pool is still quite large, calling around is time-consuming. You may not reach everyone in time.

In these cases, a cancel interview email is best. Regardless of the reason you’re canceling, the same rules will apply.

  • Get straight to the point in the subject line:

This lets the candidates know this email needs to be opened — ASAP.

  • Use the candidate’s name:

Personal touches matter. Generalized emails come across as cold and uncaring.

  • Show empathy in your opening lines:

A lot of effort goes into preparing for interviews. Showing respect for a candidate’s feelings helps to maintain better relationships.

  • Give an honest reason for the cancellation:

It could be that the company decided to put the position on hold. Or the interviewer may have an unexpected conflict of schedule. Whatever it is, be honest.

  • End honestly but positively:

If the interview is to be rescheduled, let the candidate know you’ll be in touch. If the position has closed let them know. If you plan to be in touch about similar opportunities, say so.

How do you politely cancel an interview by email?

So, we have all of the ingredients, but how do we mix those together for different kinds of candidates and cancellations?

Template 1: How to cancel an interview due to a closed position

When there’s no need to reschedule because the business has closed the position, this email politely and kindly lets candidates know their interview has been canceled through no fault of their own.

Note: Using the Magical text expander in combo with email templates means you can send personalized emails to candidates in seconds without having to type out the same messages time and time again. Just summon your frequently-used phrases in a couple of keystrokes, populate candidate details automatically, and customize whichever parts you want.

You can download Magical for free. No complex setup required—it just works like a charm.

Template 2: How to cancel an interview and reschedule by email

Sometimes it’s just unforeseen events that get in the way of interview schedules. When this happens, it’s best to cancel an interview via email and reschedule in the same message.

Links direct to the interview calendar will make the process more manageable for both you and the candidate. Using apps like Calendly or Acuity helps.

Template 3: How do you write a cancellation email for an interview?

It’s not just recruiters who need to cancel interviews or reschedule. Candidates may have a better job offer waiting or simply decided a company isn’t the best fit for their career aspirations.

When this is the case, canceling interviews politely by email is the accepted professional response. When writing cancellation emails for interviews, brevity is key.

It also helps to stick to the point and always be polite—you never know when you may cross paths with these people in the future.

If you decide to terminate the application process because you feel the position isn’t suitable, it still pays to be polite and respectful. There is no need to go into great detail.

When you need to cancel interviews by email, stick with brevity and don’t be afraid to show empathy for the other party and gratitude for the opportunity.

Happy interviewing!

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