I applied for a position, and the company got back to me with an interview invitation. I accepted, the interview has been scheduled, and the time confirmed. Following this, I had a conversation with my mother who brought up a consideration about the job that didn't previously occur to me (it's location is less than ideal, if you're curious). I don't want the job anymore, but should I cancel? Is going ahead with the interview unethical, as it disrespects the interviewer's time? But I also don't want the cancellation to be a "black spot" on my record.

Another consideration is that another company sent an interview invitation for the same time, but my main concerns are the ethics and my professional reputation.

  • 9
    If you no longer want the job, of course you should cancel it. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 20:43
  • 3
    Just say that your circumstances have changed and are no longer interested in the position. Interviews cost time, I wouldn't want to interview a candidate that wasn't interested in the position.
    – Matthew
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 20:45
  • 1
    Tell them openly why you are no longer interested and tell them you did not realize this aspect of the job, when you accepted the interview invitation. But if I were you (thinking you are a fresh grad or something from your screen name) I would go to the interview to see the process, what they are asking and what they are trying to understand about your, as a reference for your future interviews. Even if they offer you the job, you do not have to take it
    – MelBurslan
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 20:46
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    Don't worry about black spots or professional reputation for such little things as this. Things that will hurt your reputation are genuine ethics problems having to do with honesty and integrity (or quality of work). Even then, they have to be repeated (realistically) unless you're in a very specialized industry. Ask yourself if you were in their position, would you rather meet with someone who has no intention of accepting or know upfront that fact? Which one wastes the most time?
    – Chris E
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 21:23

6 Answers 6


Yes. If you are no longer interested in or available for a job, you should cancel the interview in advance. You are not offending the employer in any way.

  • 6
    This answer proves that a good answer doesn't require length.
    – Chris E
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 21:19
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    I respectfully disagree, because this is a good opportunity to train. If you want the experience gained from going to the interview, you should go. Many of us don't do interviews very often, and when we do the stakes are high.
    – KlaymenDK
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 8:22
  • @KlaymenDK You've a good point. I went to some interviews from some companies that I wasn't excited about at the first place, but the OP's question is about being ethical and respectful in cancelling a scheduled interview.
    – user26193
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 14:43
  • Some recruiters and companies express "disappointment" when this happens, and can be offended ("But yesterday you were so interested, why did you change your mind?", etc) ...In any case @user26193 I believe your answer is right.
    – SaltySub2
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 9:58

If the location of the opportunity is a complete deal-breaker (e.g., it would be a 6 hour commute), then I would cancel the interview.

If you're a student however, and still getting career advice from your mother (nothing wrong with that!), you might consider taking the interview, even if you have to reschedule one of your appointments.

You just never know. Interviews are chances to network, to improve your communication skills, and simply get better in selling yourself. In the process, you might find out something about the job that offsets the location issue.


Why is the location not ideal? Do you really not want the job, or would you want the kind of work if it was located somewhere else? Do you have plenty of other offers or no urgent need to be employed? The answers to those might change this answer, but it might be too early to rule out the job completely.

  • "location not ideal" - you will be unlikely to find a job where everything is "ideal", and will have to compromise something. Why not location?
    • If you do find a job where everything is "ideal", it will be more desirable, competition for it will be stronger; your previous questions say you have no work experience at all and that puts you in a difficult place when it comes to picking and choosing an ideal job - a "less than ideal job" is often better than "no job". Depends on your situation, of course.
  • If the "not ideal location" is something every candidate would tend to dislike (e.g. by a busy airport and therefore noisy, or in a place with no local parking), then the company might know this and have to offer more to compensate for it and attract good candidates.
    • Or if they don't offer more, you could try and negotiate something because of it.
  • If they are a bigger company they might have multiple offices, you could find out - if so, ask if they have similar openings at any other locations. They have your name on record and have shown a spark of interest in you, that might get you a similar interview with them, but somewhere else.
  • If you go to the interview and are offered the job, you then have (a) a fallback job offer in case other interviews don't go well, (b) a genuine offer you can use when interviewing elsewhere to bargain with ("can you match this offer?"), and (c) a genuine offer which gives you a sense of grounding, you can at least get an offer for a job at that level.
  • If the job still has some of its attraction, consider how long you could put up with the location - in order to gain (experience, references, money, etc) - or what you could learn by dealing with the location before moving on.
  • The interview might completely change your view on the company or the people. After all, they all manage to work there, so can it really be that bad? Maybe it's not as (noisy, smelly, inconvenient, rough, run-down, difficult to get to) as you expect. Something might make you want the job a lot - and be willing to put up with the location problem - or it might make you not want the job for a dozen other reasons (management practices, other employees, lack of company direction, job is not as advertized).

Is going ahead with the interview unethical, as it disrespects the interviewer's time?

If there is absolutely no way you could be convinced to take the job, then it's a bit unethical for you to take their time for practice, and it's probably better for your reputation if you politely decline than if you turn up and half-ass it or no-show.

But can you really decide with that much certainty, without going to see?


It is an interview and not confirmation that one has the job. Just like the employer may be very impressed with you, another candidate can walk in after you, and the employer feels that person is now a better fit. Therefore, if you are no longer interested in the position for any reason it is better to cancel and let someone else have the spot.


Possibly a little bit of an "unethical" answer here as you would be wasting the interviewer's time... But, you may like to use the opportunity to get a bit of interview practice.

I'm just guessing by your username that maybe you have not been out in the job market long. But speaking from experience - I found my first few interviews quite difficult, and wasn't really prepared as I was new to interviewing, but I learned valuable lessons and gained confidence from each one.

From that point of view I was wasting the interviewer's time anyway.


I strongly suggest you to not to cancel the appointment and be there on time.

Cancelling the appointment is the adult thing to do, of course. However, you can't be certain if the HR department of the company is adult as well. Yes, they can blacklist you only for changing your mind. Therefore, in case you consider working for that company in future, you should go to the interview.

About the second company, you can ask them to schedule the interview for another date.

Of course at the end you are the one who makes pro's and con's list and decide if the company worth preserving for future.

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