I recently had two very good interviews over the phone with a hiring manager. Both interviews were pretty technical and I suspected that round 3, the on-site interview, would be more of a formality/behavioral/team-fit type of interview, just to see whether we'll all get along together.

However, I impulsively canceled this round 3 interview, on the day of the interview, telling the human resources lady (not the hiring manager who interviewed me over the phone) on email that I am planning to stay longer at my current job because things are in an exciting stage here.

Now I regret it and wish to be reconsidered. What could I do to ask for reconsideration? Should I apologize too? I feel at this point there's nothing to lose from asking them and expressing interest again.

For clarity: I don't have the email or phone number of the hiring manager that conducted the phone interviews; the human resources lady set up my appointments and confirmed the interview details with me.

Note: yesterday was the scheduled on-site interview.


Update: I wrote an email to the HR lady and apologized for the inconvenience that I may have caused them and I expressed interest again and asked whether they could reconsider me. I told her honestly that in the moment that I canceled my interview I had felt somewhat attached to my current place of work, but that I do have plans to leave soon.

The lady emailed me back later in the day to give me the phone number of someone in charge of these decisions, and she said that he'll decide how to move forward. I couldn't reach him on Friday afternoon so I intend to try him on Monday morning. Thanks everyone for your answers and comments :)

up vote 20 down vote accepted

Now I regret it and wish to be reconsidered. What could I do to ask for reconsideration? Should I apologize too? I feel at this point there's nothing to lose from asking them and expressing interest again.

You should call immediately.

Apologize and indicate why you backed out. Tell them that you thought it over and would like to be reconsidered. Then hope for the best.

You are correct that you have nothing to lose.

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    The only time I would disagree with this is if the company is hiring very regularly, if you can be certain a new role will open in 3 months, 6 months. it might be worth holding off on trying to fix this one and just re-apply when the new opportunity comes around. They wont care you backed out in 6 months ago, but they might remember that you messed them around if you start asking for more – J.Doe Aug 17 at 15:28

The problem with this is, you've shown a few flaws here.

  • Indecisive
  • Acting on impulse
  • Spontaneous decision making (clearly wasn't thought about)

You've shown that you clearly change your mind easily with something so important. You also had doubt about working for the new company or you are attached to your old one. You've acted upon impulse before actually thinking about it.

Also there was no harm in just attending the interview and seeing what the outcome would be as you wouldn't have been starting literally as the interview ended. It's likely you hadn't even spoken about the start date. Although you may be suitable for the role, these things will play in the back of the hiring managers mind if you are given another chance.

That being said, the only thing you can really do is ask the same person who you cancelled through to reconsider you, simply call (or email) and say that you recently cancelled an interview and you regret that decision and that you would like to be given a second chance.

Whatever you do/say it's always in the hands of the hiring manager on what they want to do.

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    OP's action are not definitively proven to be these flaws you listed. For example, OP could've received a reasonable counter offer from their current employer and then found out that they're reneging on that offer. In such a case, OP wouldn't have been impulsive or spontaneous, but can argue that they made a well-reasoned decision and have shown loyalty to their current employer. Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that OP should lie to their next employer to hide their actual flaws (owning up to mistakes is so much better, both for personal development and as an employee's qualities). – Flater Aug 17 at 11:07
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    (extension to previous comment) The example given reduces OP's flaws to not having made sure to have the counter offer in writing before cancelling the interview. But that's a considerably minor flaw compared to the ones you listed. – Flater Aug 17 at 11:08
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    @Flater OP stated that he stayed because "things are in an exciting stage" that doesn't show any sign of a counter offer what so ever – Twyxz Aug 17 at 11:10
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    @Flater - to be disqualified in the eyes of an employer, you don't need to be definitively proven, just for the possibility to even raise its head. OP has poisoned the well, I think, for himself/herself. To be honest, that's a pretty major flake-out move, and would at least raise questions about how motivated/serious a candidate is. – PoloHoleSet Aug 17 at 18:19
  • @Twyxz What are you talking about? Wouldn't you be getting in an excited state if you were to be getting a counter offer? – mathreadler Aug 18 at 22:12

You blew your best chance by being impulsive. They may still be interested but nowhere near the same degree prior to the cancellation as you have effectively shot down their offer once already.

The most you can do is tell the hiring manager everything you've asked here and see how it goes from there.

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    Agreed. You can still try, but likely this bridge is burned for the next months, years if you're unlucky. – Mast Aug 17 at 13:35

As you noted in your comments you are only one day removed from your rash decision. This means that you can call them back, and ask to be reconsidered. They can say no. They can say no if they believe your actions disqualified you for consideration. They can say no if they have already filled your slot in phase 3 with another candidate.

If it has been a week or more then it is too late. They have moved on. Calling now probably won't help. You could still try, but I would expect that even if they wanted to re-consider you they have moved other candidates to the next phase.

Applying, interviewing, getting an offer, then being enticed to stay with your current company is not an unusual set of actions seen by hiring managers. Frequently those candidates end up applying again in a few months or years, when the promises made by the current company fail to materialize, or the situation continues to deteriorate. So rejecting them at some phase of the interviewing process doesn't ban you forever. In your case they will be concerned about your recent demonstration of whipsawing between decisions.

Other answers suggest that you call back and say you changed your mind. That approach is risky because you come off as waffling.

As an alternative, you can stick to the plan you told them. Stay at your job for 3-6 months. Then apply to the company again.

This approach is not without drawbacks. You might have to start the interview process from the beginning, although the company would probably still have a record of you passing the first two rounds, which might work in your favor. Worse, the job might not be available anymore. Or they might still think you are waffling and not want to give you another chance.

Also with this plan you will have to keep working at your current company for some time. However, that probably isn't a problem if your current work truly is exciting.

You made a mistake but it's water under the bridge. You still have a chance with this company and there are plenty more companies you can work at.

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