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What is the best approach to rescheduling an interview? I am a recent graduate and had trouble finding work related to my degree. I had registered to wash cars at a car show and have just found out my schedule (literally the day before I work a week straight). The problem is I have several interviews lined up, some of them are the second round with a company. I'm going to have to reschedule these but am not sure how I should phrase it to my point of contact? I am in urgent need of money (e.g. to pay rent) and have decided it's necessary to work the following week at the car show.

With so many methods of communication these days I'm sometimes unsure which to use. Should I call or email to change the interviews? I don't want to say "I desperately need money" so should I give them any reason? I realize I may loose my chance with the company but there is no alternative (I already have student loans and don't want to get any more).

Also, in an interview when they asked when I'm available I said immediately because, at the time, I had no job. Of course that doesn't mean I'm available at a drop of a dime 24/7 but I get the impression that they expect me to be. For example a few interviews told me to be ready for a phone call the same day to see if I'm invited back for a second round, and then the second round is the next day etc.

  • What's more important, short term need, or long term job? You already know what to do based on the priority. – The Wandering Dev Manager Mar 22 '17 at 12:07
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    Be honest, your working full time schedule, and your current employer caused the changes ( this is okay ). At some point you may need to just suck it up and use a PTO day to make the face to face. I would not reschedule more than once. – Mister Positive Mar 22 '17 at 13:35
  • @TheWanderingDevManager - a job candidate has to delay an interview because they have to work and you see that as a negative? – user8365 Mar 22 '17 at 14:18
  • No, but they need to decide what's the most important. If the short term money issue is highest (say they are about to be evicted), then delay. If not then take the long term view and prioritise that. It's quite simple really. When I was at uni I had a Saturday exam the month before Christmas (I worked in retail to support myself, and it was peak season) and asked off 2 weeks before that. The manager wanted me to make a choice for my future (retail or exam) and I offered to leave there and then, This is similar to me, any short term money situation probably has a solution. – The Wandering Dev Manager Mar 22 '17 at 14:35
  • I've also seen situations (especially at entry level) where delaying an interview (even for a valid reason) means someone else gets the job as they want to fill it now. Yes, reasonably, a small delay may be possible, but it's a risk, don't believe otherwise. – The Wandering Dev Manager Mar 22 '17 at 14:39
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Email them and apologise for the reschedule and tell them that your work schedule changed at the last minute and you are no longer available at that time. No company worth working for is going to be upset when you honor your commitments to your current job. They understand that entry level people often work at jobs that have last minute scheduling changes such as retail.

If the interview is tomorrow, then call as well as email. If you don't get a response to the email in a couple of days, then call.

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    +1 - Or be willing to interview during non-work hours. If I wanted a candidate and I had to wait around a little longer to do an interview or even over the weekend, I would think it is worth it to attract quality people. – user8365 Mar 22 '17 at 14:20
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    The point about calling is as important as anything else. Even if you email, call them as well. It shows your interest in the company and drive for the position, and some people aren't tethered to their inbox all the time (I look at email at certain times of day when I'm not on call, but I'll respond to a phone call just to get it to stop ringing...) – SliderBlackrose Mar 22 '17 at 14:56
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With so many methods of communication these days I'm sometimes unsure which to use.

Email. Always. Business communication is via email these days. Anything else is secondary and reserved for unusual or urgent matters. And by "anything else" I really only mean a phone call. There's currently no other accepted way to communicate professionally, unless a contact has explicitly told you to use another medium.

Last-minute rescheduling of an appointment definitely qualifies as urgent and might mean you call instead of email, but it depends on how short-notice this is and how responsive the company has been to emails. If your past emails were read or replied to within a matter of hours and no later than one business day and there are several working days between now and the scheduled interview you can opt for an email first. But if you have a meeting tomorrow or after the weekend you need to call them as soon as possible. If you email and don't get a response within 1-2 business days you need to call.

Apologising for the inconvenience is expected regardless of medium. The less time there remains before the appointment, the more profusely you should apologise and you should also acknowledge that asking to reschedule with little notice is not ideal and not something you'd do unless it was necessary.

Also, in an interview when they asked when I'm available I said immediately because, at the time, I had no job. Of course that doesn't mean I'm available at a drop of a dime 24/7 but I get the impression that they expect me to be.

It should. At least, that's what most employers and hiring managers think. And in some respects it's true. If you're a recent graduate with no job or other commitments then you are expected to be highly available. If you aren't that available it's up to you to let them know. Volunteering, vacations, prior plans or other hiring processes are all valid reasons for that.

Also note that some of this is due to the inherent power disparity in the hiring process. Potential employers can do things that candidates can't.

Perhaps there was also some confusion on the meaning of availability as it can refer to either "when can you start?" or "when are you available for follow-up interviews?".

For example a few interviews told me to be ready for a phone call the same day to see if I'm invited back for a second round,

That's normal. Even people who are currently employed can usually fit a phone call into their schedule, provided it's a quick screen and not an hour-long interview.

and then the second round is the next day etc.

This isn't usually a problem, unless it's because they want to fill the job ASAP, which might cause problems if you want to compare offers from multiple companies. They reasonably assume that you're highly available and it's equally reasonable for you to reply that you can't make that work and give them your actual availability.

To summarise all the above: potential employers can't know things that you haven't told them. Just be open about your availability and communicate clearly, quickly and professionally and you shouldn't have any problems with a hiring process.

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I would personally email first then call the company directly.

The reason why you want to do both is because you want someone other than the person who picks up the phone to be aware of the situation. This can also back you up incase someone tries to put the blame on you for not giving enough notice when they for some reason forget about a rescheduled interview.

You would call after sending an e-mail to confirm directly and express the matter professionally as of high importance.

EDIT: If they ask for the reason (and in your situation) you can just be honest and say that you messed up your schedule for that week or whatever (but dont give out too much detail)

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    "I messed up my schedule" doesn't seem to be an honest answer here. "My other job messed up my schedule" seems more honest. (But maybe not a good idea) – Erik Mar 22 '17 at 9:49
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    Personally, I would just be honest about the reason, if asked, "I have just gotten my schedule for my current job and I'll have to reschedule my interview, would this be alright? I really am still interested." And if I am not asked, then I would not bring it up. Honesty goes a long way in establishing a relationship with your future employer and disclosure goes a long way in cementing it. – Teacher KSHuang Mar 22 '17 at 11:14
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Given the fact you need the money urgently, it seems cancelling the car show job is not an option. Send an email to each of the companies (or call if that's how you've been communicating with them) as soon as possible.

First of all, apologise for the short notice, and mention that you need to reschedule the interview as a consequence of some personal situation that needs your immediate attention. Make sure to let them know that you are still interested in the position, and offer alternative solutions, such as having the interviews early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or replacing them with a video conference outside working hours, if that works for them. Also, mention your availabilities for interviewing, and it won't hurt letting them know that you are willing to accommodate your agenda to their preferred dates and times (except for this week in which you are working, of course).

Hopefully, with this approach, you'll be able to still go to a few of the interviews, although be prepared to lose a couple of them.

Regarding your last paragraph, when you said you were immediately available, you were. Things change for you and also for the company. All of a sudden, they might close an open position because they've found someone else or for any other reason.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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