Is it ethical/justifiable for a company to cancel the interview just a few days before the final interview is scheduled ? I imagine that they might do this because they found someone else or their hiring priorities changed because of a new manager. Are there any other reasons why this might be ethical ? Would your answer change if the position was not full time ?

An anecdote which shows companies can change their mind as they please -

I was once a contractor/temp worker at a big name company. The contract was 6 months or more. After about two months at the job, they decided to shutdown the project for "business reasons". They did not lay us off right away and even hinted at the possibility of being given roles in other projects. But, there was uncertainty about our future at the company. Well, I also left the company for "business reasons" i.e. being without a job for months and suffering the consequences.

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    If they had filled the position, or decided they didn't need it filled, I would think it would be unethical to have you come in for a pointless interview, wasting your time and causing you to incur travel expenses.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 5:27
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    Is it ethical/justifiable for a company to cancel the interview just a few days before the final interview is scheduled - yes. To be professional they should notify you when it is cancelled, but they don't need to justify their reasoning.
    – Brandin
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 7:44
  • Ethical based on whose ethics? Would you be writing the same question if it would be you who would cancel the final interview because you have found another company which already decided to pay you twice that this company potentially is going to give you? Also what is the point of your anecdote? It is not relevant to this question at all? Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 9:06
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    Would it be ethical for them to make you spend time on the interview if they have already given someone else the job?
    – cdkMoose
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 13:32

2 Answers 2


They can cancel the interview beforehand, or even during the interview if they want. There are no ethical considerations. It's purely up to them. It might inconvenience and/or upset people, but that['s not an ethics issue. It's a business decision.

I've seen it happen when they found the candidate they want and just told everyone waiting for their turn that the job was taken and they could all go home.

Once you have the position filled satisfactorily it doesn't make business sense to incur more expenses in time and $$.

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    Thanks for your answer Kilisi. I updated my question with some more details. You could change your answer given the new info, if you wish to do so. Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 2:21
  • Bad situation you were in, but I'll leave my answer as is, it's still not an ethical issue, business decisions and ethics only coincide for convenience and to look good, but in reality they're totally separate..
    – Kilisi
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 2:24

Worst case: Your interview is from 13:00 to 14:00. The interviewer has the power to hire you, and is really keen to get you. At 13:30 there is a phone call from high above that in order to keep shareholders happy, the company isn't going to hire anyone in the next six months.

If you're lucky the interviewer tells you immediately, and takes you and the other interviewee waiting for his interview at 14:00 out for lunch at a good place on company expenses.

  • I wonder if this really happens. Its possible, but I am not sure. Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 23:06

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