9

I am a senior in college and I've just landed a very coveted job interview with a well known company. I shared those details to paint a picture of how careful I want to be when handling this situation.

I have been through the first interview with no problem, and it was during that interview that I scheduled when my second interview will take place. That was 3 weeks ago, and my second interview is in 1.5 weeks. The company was very clear about their desire to work with my schedule, since they are well versed with working with and hiring college seniors, given their tight schedules.

This is the kind of interview which requires a lot of brushing-up of skills I already know in order to succeed. If I only prepare a little or not at all, I'm guaranteed to not do well.

However, I had a very major academic project which came up, and is due the day before the interview. Given the large scale of this project, no matter how much I have worked, or will work on it, I can't both complete the project and put in the appropriate amount of brush-up time into the interview. The project's due-date is non-negotiable.

The following week is very open for me and will provide the necessary time I will need to polish up my skills. I'm considering asking my recruiter if the interview could be moved to the following week.

Given the situation, should I consider asking to reschedule this interview, and if so, how should I do it? I know my recruiter will not need the details of why, but do I risk coming into the interview not fully prepared or, perhaps, look as though I can't manage my time effectively? After all, this project did appear between now and the time we last spoke.

What are your recommendations? Thank you.

P.S.: If the name of the company would help anyone target their answers, I will edit my question to include it.

  • 3
    given your name is pretty visible and you're asking a question about interviewing, i'd recommend you don't add the name of the company. – bharal Nov 6 '14 at 3:09
  • @bharal yep, forgot about that... good point – Oliver Spryn Nov 6 '14 at 3:14
  • 4
    no worries. i'd just call them up and tell them you'd like to reschedule due to the project. everyone knows how hard some well-known company's interviews are, they want you to be prepared, they don't want you semi-prepared at all. – bharal Nov 6 '14 at 3:20
  • 1
    Just a side note: an ability to foresee upcoming conflicts and address them before they become crises is a useful skill. This is a subtle way to demonstrate that skill. – Dancrumb Nov 6 '14 at 22:39
11

Given the situation, should I consider asking to reschedule this interview, and if so, how should I do it? I know my recruiter will not need the details of why, but do I risk coming into the interview not fully prepared or, perhaps, look as though I can't manage my time effectively? After all, this project did appear between now and the time we last spoke.

Something to keep in mind is moving the interview will seem a much bigger deal to you than them.

Someone might have to rearrange a few meetings, but that's the extent the company has to change things. Maybe adjust some travel plans. This sort of thing happens all the time for meetings/interviews/lunch/etc. It's not a big deal at all for the interviewer to move the interview in most cases.

But for you? It's a large event requiring potentially several days of your time. This will naturally make you feel moving the interview is a bigger deal than it will for the company.

Something like:

Hi, I just got a project assigned due right before this interview which will take up a considerable amount of my time - is it possible we could move this back a week? The next week is much more open and would work much better for me. Let me know if this is possible!

is fine.

  • 5
    +1. Also remember that the company doesn't want you to bomb the interview because you couldn't prep, since then you really waste everybody's time. Rescheduling is by far the lesser of two evils. – jpatokal Nov 6 '14 at 4:51
6

You mention two things in your question that support asking to reschedule:

  • You said they're very willing to work with students' schedules.

  • You're working through a recruiter (so you don't have the awkwardness of having to approach them directly).

Given that, I would contact the recruiter, explain that a major assignment has been given since you scheduled this, and ask if it would be possible to move it to the following week. Unless at this company it's normal for candidates to spend lots of time preparing, I would not add the "I'd like more time to prepare" angle; it can make you sound like somebody who's cramming for the test, so to speak, when they want to hire somebody who'll be good at the job every day, not just on one day. There's nothing wrong with what you're doing, but why raise the question in anybody's mind when you already have a good reason to make the request without adding that?

At my company (US, high-tech) we are currently in the midst of interviewing college seniors, and we've had some shuffling because of academic demands. As far as I can tell this has not caused any of the interviewers to think less of the candidate -- this sort of thing happens.

4

Your thought process seems pretty reasonable. I would call or send an e-mail to your contact in the company and explain the situation as you have here:

I've been assigned an unexpected project with a deadline just before the interview. I'm afraid I won't have enough time to be well prepared for the interview. Would it be possible to reschedule it? I'm available on days X, Y and Z.

If they say no, then you just have to deal with it.

  • There seems to be a good consensus. Thank you for your input. – Oliver Spryn Nov 6 '14 at 18:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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