Interview and the Flu: What Do I Do?

Sick Young Woman Lying in Bed

If you have the flu, don’t interview.

It’s flu season. Usually, getting a flu shot would protect you but this year the shot is only 23% effective. If you are a job searcher with an interview scheduled, nothing could be worse than getting the flu when you are supposed to interview. You will do your candidacy more good by staying home than going to the interview. The people you are scheduled to meet will appreciate that you’re not sharing your germs.

 However, canceling an interview is a delicate procedure that may lead to jeopardizing your candidacy. When you cancel an interview, you aren’t guaranteed it will be rescheduled. The interviewer has the option of rescheduling if the cancellation is for good cause.

 Call to cancel your interview as soon as you know you won’t be able to make it. A day or two in advance would be ideal, but if that isn’t the case, call as early in the day of the interview as possible. Don’t leave a message. Keep calling until you are able to reach someone. The people you should call are the interviewer, the interviewer’s assistant, the person who arranged the interview or your contact in human resources. Leaving a message isn’t a good idea because it may not be read right away.

 When you reach someone, let them know that you are unable to make the interview. You can give them a brief reason for the cancellation, but don’t go into personal details; keep it professional. Apologize for the inconvenience and thank them for the consideration. It’s the right thing to do, and you want to keep the inconvenience as minimal as possible. Doing anything less is closing the door to your candidacy at the company.

 After you have spoken to a person, or if you have tried several times but have failed to reach a person, send an email. In the email, apologize for the cancellation; state a brief reason, name of the interviewer, time, date, location of the interview and the job title. Be polite and respectful in all your communications with the company.

 You will, of course, want to reschedule your interview. If they are willing to reschedule, be flexible and consider the time it will take to recuperate. If you reschedule by email, give 2 or 3 times you will be able to interview. If you are calling on the phone, ask the interviewer for a time that is suitable for the interviewer. Apologize again for the inconvenience and thank them for accommodating your needs. Follow up by sending an email to confirm the date and time of the interview.

 The best thing you can do is avoid the flu, but if you do get the flu, rest and drink plenty of fluids. To your health and job search success!


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