I have a phone interview in less than 24 hours. I have been feeling increasingly unwell. It has affected my ability to prepare but expect to be able to at least physically have a 30 minute phone call. Should I let the interviewer know this or ask to reschedule?

This is a first round interview but given it's with a technical person I'd be working with, I think it's more than a pulse check (e.g. I expect him to ask me technical test questions).

  • Has this been organised through a recruitment agency or directly with the company?
    – dvniel
    Feb 23, 2018 at 13:49
  • @theonlydanever directly.
    – smartname1
    Feb 23, 2018 at 13:50
  • 1
    Have you been feeling unwell because of the interview, is it stress related? Or are you getting genuinely sick, like in having the flue?
    – Pieter B
    Feb 23, 2018 at 14:08
  • @PieterB was genuinely sick like flu
    – smartname1
    Feb 23, 2018 at 22:56

3 Answers 3


If you're too sick to interview, then I would reschedule. You can attempt to do the interview and tell them you've been sick, but if it makes you inarticulate or forget answers, then the interviewer can't just assume you would've known if you were feeling better.

Most employers aren't going to hold it against you that you can't make a job interview unless it seems obvious that you're blowing them off. These kinds of things can be a good litmus test for the company where you're interviewing. Do you really want to work for a company that can't accept that you get sick from time to time? There is nothing unprofessional about rescheduling.

  • 1
    +1, I like this answer because it's the exact opposite to mine.
    – dvniel
    Feb 23, 2018 at 14:06
  • 1
    @theonlydanever it is fairly opposite yours. I think a lot of people would do the interview; personally, I've had people reschedule when I was interviewing them and I don't hold it against them, but it definitely depends on the interviewer.
    – dbeer
    Feb 23, 2018 at 14:11
  • Maybe it's quite pessimistic of me, but if someone rescheduled the day before... I'd think something was up. Another job offer, maybe? Just not keen on this role? Who knows. But if they're conducting two interviews tomorrow and one candidate's a no show, it makes the other person look infinitely better. To use the old cliche: "Showing up is half the battle"
    – dvniel
    Feb 23, 2018 at 14:20
  • 1
    @theonlydanever I agree. To take it even a step further: If I were the interviewer in this situation, I would be pretty cynical about the person who is rescheduling because they are too sick for a phone interview.
    – Lumberjack
    Feb 23, 2018 at 15:30
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    @Lumberjack It depends on how sick you are and what type of interview. If it is a technical one, I would definitively postpone, for a screening call, it does not make much sense unless you are extremely ill (it happens, xmas time I got a flu strain vomiting for 3-4 days in a row. In the 3rd day I got 2 surprise screening calls). On the other hand, I recently had a interview with a very technical person, and was no more than a friendly chat. If I were the OP, I would be forthcoming with them of being with a slight illness, and ask them wether it is a friendly chat or a real technical interview. Feb 24, 2018 at 10:46

I'd suggest continuing with the interview and, during the opening introductions, tell him you've been unwell lately. He (or she) will appreciate the honesty and will reflect well on you. Plus, they might take it easier on you if you hesitate on some answers.

Having conducted interviews, I think postponing the session is worse than pushing through - especially for the sake of 30 minutes. Interviewing when you're ill demonstrates you're keen on the role, but rescheduling might imply the opposite.

  • Some HR hunters do not take well delays, I have even people very annoyed with me in linked.in for I not being able to take a phone call while at work. If dealing directly with the company, I prefer to go with @dbeer answer, it is a good test for their culture. Feb 24, 2018 at 10:43

You cannot know for sure the nature of the interview without asking them. You are just assuming things. I also assumed heavy interviews when talking with technical people, and in a couple of times, they just wanted to know me as a possible future workmate as part of the process.

Ask them wether the interview will just be a light chat, or testing your knowledge, and if it the former, you can have it, while ill, if the latter, say you would prefer to delay it a couple of days.

Share a bit of the decision of delaying with them. They also get sick often in a while, and will most probably understand where you are coming from.

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