How To Cancel A Meeting Or Postpone an Interview

Short answer: don’t.

Unless you can absolutely possibly help it – because high level recruitment meetings take a great deal of work to set up.

Lots of diary juggling to get the hiring manager and his/her peers all in the same room at the same time.

Various busy people – often in different countries – will have moved metaphorical mountains to arrange that meeting for you.

So don’t cut the rope unless there’s a seriously important reason. Something worth risking a major blot on your copybook before all these good people have even met you.

Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Sounds like an absolute no brainer.

But some people being considered for key roles still manage to forget this. And embarrass themselves in the process.

Let me give you an example…

How Not To Cancel A Meeting

A chap was due to attend a meeting at our Poole office on a Friday. He had expressed interest in a role.

But then he had to cancel. He suggested the next Friday. No good. Too late. We suggested Monday 7am instead. He agreed.

At 5pm on the Sunday before the meeting I texted him. Still OK for tomorrow? Yes.

So come 6.30am Monday there I was, ready to meet this young man.

Only for him to text me (with less than 30 minutes’ notice) that he couldn’t make it…due to a ‘family emergency’.

Now that ‘family emergency’ could have been entirely genuine. But those inverted commas tell you that we’re just not buying it.

Why not? Well let’s just say the timing was far too coincidental. And besides…we’ve heard that one more than a few times over the last 20 years.

Now we’re all busy professionals. And in the great scheme of things, life is far too short to dwell on trivial annoyances and discourtesies.

But for some reason, being stood up always stands out from life’s otherwise forgettable trials and tribulations.

Being stood up always sticks in the mind.

And the craw.

Morals Of The Story…

There are plenty of takeaways from the sad and sorry tale above:

  1. Don’t be that guy. Please don’t. It’s so undignified.

  2. Never cancel/postpone a meeting unless you can possibly avoid it.

  3. If you must, then at least give as much notice as you can.

  4. Be apologetic without being pathetic.

  5. Be honest – don’t conjure up some lame excuse.

  6. Never cancel/postpone with a text – people will assume that you’re lying. Or that you’re too ignorant to phone. Or too ashamed. Or worried you might be caught out.

And before you make that call, please bear in mind the Three Gates of Speech test set out by the 13th century Sufi mystic Mevlana Rumi.

Before you say anything, you should always first ask yourself:

  • is it truthful?

  • is it necessary?

  • is it kind?

Do as you would be done by and all that.

Not too much to ask is it?