Is it ever appropriate to cancel an interview?

Is it ever appropriate to cancel an interview and if so, how should you go about doing it without burning your bridges? 

It is not suggested that you go around canceling interviews that you set up for yourself or that your recruiter sets up for you, but there are occasions where it may be appropriate to cancel your interview. Often times, you are not familiar with a company until you begin to research them prior to your initial interview. I personally have all of my job seeker candidates thoroughly research a company prior to any interview and come up with at least “5 reasons why they want to work for the company, 5 reasons why the company should want to hire them and 5 questions regarding the position.” If a job seeker cannot think of 5 strong reasons why they might want to work for this employer, then the position might not be worth going in for an interview.  I respect and appreciate the job seeker when they get in communication with me early to let me know the position might not be the right fit for them.

Employers and recruiters appreciate it when you are honest with them and do not go to an interview just for the sake of going. We know your time is valuable and appreciate it when you show us the same respect for our time. There have been several occasions throughout my career where a job seeker has researched a company and realized that the position is not in line with their “wishlist”. Typically, my client will appreciate their honesty, and will not hold it against them if another position comes up down the road that might be a better fit. If you do intend to cancel an interview, please do try to give your recruiter or potential employer ample notice.
On occasion, there might be other occasions where it is acceptable to cancel an interview, but always keep in mind, once you cancel the interview the first time, you might not be able to get a second interview. 

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