I started the interview process with two companies, Company A and Company B at approximately the same time, have been through 2 rounds of phone screenings with both companies and had a final interview for Company A today and a final interview with Company B tomorrow. Company A was very excited after the interview today and got me a job offer the same day. I am 99% sure that I want to accept job offer from Company A so I want to cancel my interview with Company B so that I am not wasting their (probably higher paid) time. I am now under 24 hours before the final interview at Company B.

What about that 1%, you ask? What if they come back with a better offer? While I will admit it is possible, I have already been asked about compensation by Company B and they have provided me with their pay scale. The culture, work and compensation all seem to be a better fit for me at Company A and I am willing to risk that 1% so I do not need to take additional time off at my current position, don't have to go through the stress of a multiple hour interview, etc...

Is under 24 hours too late to cancel an interview (they may have even left for the day and so will not receive my cancellation until tomorrow morning)? If that time frame is too short, how short is too short?

Update: At the urging of many user's here, I decided to go through with the interview even though it meant taking a little more time off from my current job. I liked the folks there but realized it wasn't a great fit for me, solidifying my choice for Company A (plus their offer was a bit lower) but I realized it would be an excellent fit for a coworker who is also looking for a new job so I sent him a link and told the hiring manager at Company B about him. They really appreciated it and now I have some brownie points with Company B for the future, a friend and coworker is closer to a potential job and Company B has a new, exciting candidate so it was a win-win-win.

  • 12
    Is the job offer from A in writing, with no dependencies? – Dan Pichelman Aug 21 at 20:10
  • @DanPichelman Yes, it is. I think they had already started the paperwork before the interview I think they just wanted to have me in for a quick "team fit" thing and if noone was a massive thumbs-down, they wanted to move forward as quickly as possible. – Pants Aug 21 at 20:28
  • @Pants: Still, you haven't signed a contract yet. Potentially obtaining two offers is better than relying on just one panning out, no? – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 23 at 18:47
up vote 124 down vote accepted

Is under 24 hours too late to cancel an interview (they may have even left for the day and so will not receive my cancellation until tomorrow morning)? If that time frame is too short, how short is too short?

It's never too late to cancel a interview that you are sure you don't want.

The alternative is wasting their time as well as yours.

As a hiring manager, I've had plenty of folks cancel out of interviews - some as short as a few minutes before the interview was to take place. While that can be frustrating, I'm glad my time wasn't wasted.

  • 1
    Totally agree with this, the key part is being considerate for the time of other's and not just go to the interview because. If they really are interested in OP's profile they will want to reschedule (and OP will have a hint that they may ask for a better deal). – DarkCygnus Aug 21 at 21:22
  • 1
    This got me thinking that for every potential interview you should also have a plan B for your time incase they cancel, to avoid any wasted time whatsoever. – ESR Aug 22 at 5:36
  • 15
    @EdmundReed, I still have to meet a manager who doesn't know how to fill a last minute cancelation in their agenda. – L.Dutch Aug 22 at 5:46
  • 12
    I've had people cancel interviews 15 minutes after the interview was supposed to start. It might seem like a wasted phone call, but I was able to immediately move on with other tasks rather than try to contact the candidate or keep close to my phone for the call from the front desk saying they had arrived, etc. – Todd Wilcox Aug 22 at 15:15
  • 2
    @Ans, at the time my problem happened, Uber didn't exist and I couldn't afford a taxi. Also, where I lived, taxis aren't common, so it might have taken 30+ minutes for it to show up. – computercarguy Aug 23 at 13:59

Question, again: Is under 24 hours too late to cancel an interview (they may have even left for the day and so will not receive my cancellation until tomorrow morning)? If that time frame is too short, how short is too short?

The moment you realize you must cancel, then contact them. No time is too short. You have no idea when they are committed to being at the interview site. An email they will check before the drive into the office, may allow them to adjust their schedule. Or it might just open a block in their day because you were 1 of 3 interviews they had scheduled.

If your alternatives are waste their time, or not show up then yes contact them.

The standard advice (which I agree with) is that until everything is signed and accepted and there are no contingencies, then keep applying and interviewing. There was even a question on this site about a delayed starting date that was not communicated until the last working day before the start date. So it might make sense to keep interviewing even if you are sure you won't turn down company A.

It is not too soon to cancel, but I do not think it is necessary. Interviews are valuable learning opportunities for you personally, and a chance to practice a hard-to-acquire skill, despite the perceived "leading on" of Company B, there is no reason to forgo the interview as you have nothing to lose. But, you should politely decline any employment offer they may give as soon as possible.

You are still in "courtship", and while you are inclined one way or another, fundamentally you are undercutting your own opportunities.

I believe it is OK, and even normal to go for interview you have no intention on accepting a job afterwards, I have co-workers announce they are going on interviews just to go interview. It is normal practice in many fields to interview regularly to keep the skill. Who knows it may be a valuable connection for the future, but I do not believe worrying about anything beyond your opportunity is required of you.

As an example, in a contract project situation when evaluating multiple vendors with competing bids, a company would wait for every bid to be finalized even if they know early on that one vendor is the most likely candidate. There is value in going through with the process for both parties. Company B may get use you as a "model candidate" and work harder to recruit individuals like you in the future.

This has its caveats, is if an offer and contract with Company A has been signed, and they find out you are still interviewing, there is a small possibility they will be upset and rescind your offer.

  • 1
    "I have co-workers announce they are going on interviews just to go interview. It is normal practice in many fields to interview regularly to keep the skill." I'm not sure that I would call this "OK"; I would call it wilful time wasting and if I found out that anyone I interviewed had used me in such a way, they certainly wouldn't be working for anyone in my sphere of influence ever again. – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 22 at 11:29
  • That being said, it doesn't apply here: the OP has plenty of real reasons to continue with their Company B interview and it is assuredly not just "time wasting". I strongly believe they should keep the appointment, even if they think they've already made up their mind ... and even if it turns out that they have! – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 22 at 11:30
  • @lightness why do you believe it is time wasting? interviews keep a candidate fresh and allow companies to sample the talent pool and see what people are working on, since in my sphere an interview usually also has a talk associated with it,. There are benefits for both. I would of course not suggest one take a personal favor for an interview in this way, but if you have a recruiter or someone insisist you come on site, even if youve made it clear that you aren't interested, may as well humour them, no? – crasic Aug 22 at 15:12
  • 1
    The interviewer took time to read your CV, prepare for the interview, conduct the interview. You had no intention of making that worthwhile for them. It's time wasting. I understand why it's beneficial to the interviewee, and you could argue that having a nice chat is in some way useful to the interviewer, but there are better ways to do that than to lie to someone about your intentions and let them carry on a charade for you – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 22 at 18:01
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit I am not advocating for a bad faith interview, only one that you do not expect to accept. As the interviewee I have taken time to prepare for the interview, update my CV, and in some cases prepare a talk. This is a serious, professional thing that keeps you engaged with the industry, as the interviewer you have the opportunity to either court me , dismiss me, or maybe we revisit when situation changes. I am not proposing everyone go around and solicit bad faith interviews to waste everyones time, but an interview is a two sided sales pitch, and not every lead is a sale. – crasic Aug 23 at 2:36

I'm going to answer your question, but also play Devil's Advocate, sorry if the second half seems off-topic...

If you truly believe there is no chance you will gain anything from this offer, cancel ASAP as the others have said. You'll save yourself some time, as well as the people at company B.

However, you possibly have more to gain than you think. The interview is a chance for you to learn more information about the company, as much as it is for them to learn about you. You may discover things about them that help cement your decision to choose company A, or that make you question whether that is actually the right decision to make.

Finally, if company A are excited to have you, you have a lot of power. If you were to get a better offer from company B, you could use that to negotiate remuneration more strongly than you otherwise can.

  • 2
    I like this answer the most because OP has nothing to lose by attending interview B aside from a few hours of their day. – MonkeyZeus Aug 22 at 12:55
  • 1
    OP hasnt said he has signed with company A. Until its signed... anything can happen... I'd take the second interview as a backup. You never know what can happen in 24 hours (stock market shock? company buyout?) – vikingsteve Aug 23 at 13:14

Just let company b know. A simple 'thanks' would suffice. That is the polite and professional thing to do.

Good luck on the new job!

Go to the interview or don't. It is up to you.

I am personally a fan of not telling them and not showing up. Everyone is mentioning professionalism as a reason to call and cancel, but I doubt the company would be so professional to you if roles were reversed.

It is a nice and polite action to call them and cancel, but completely unnecessary. Chances are Company B will have no bearing on your future even if they remember you. Hang them out to dry. Of course someone earlier said you should go and see what they are offering. I agree with that as well. If they do have a better offer take it and tell the other guys you quit. You have to do what is best for you. If you expect the companies of today to sacrifice even a penny for your well being, you are seriously delusional.

  • In today's society, it is not illegal to "not be nice". But as a reputable source, I think we should encourage decent and socially acceptable behaviour, even if nobody "has" to act like that. You should edit your answer to switch from "encouraging to waste the company's time" to mentioning that they are allowed to be impolite and do so, but it would be better for everyone if they just told them in advance at least. – Kaito Kid Aug 24 at 12:50

Your Answer

 
discard

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.