Why You Should Cancel a Callback When You're No Longer Interested

by the Summer Associate Hub Team

When should you cancel a callback?
Here’s an easy rule of thumb: if you have an offer Firm A, and a callback scheduled with Firm B, and you know with absolute certainty you wouldn’t take Firm B over Firm A, then cancel the callback with Firm B.
It’s not rude to cancel a callback — on the contrary, it is rude not to.  If you’re not convinced, here are a few reasons why:
— Firms spend a lot of time balancing the number of callbacks they extend, so if you know you wont accept an offer from a firm, it’s best to cancel yours so the firm can extend that time to another candidate.
— It is a waste of your time and the firm’s.  Partners and associates take time out of their (very) busy schedules to do interviews, and the firm prefers to give attorneys their time back (or use that to interview to another candidate) if you are no longer interested.
— The job search is can be a tiring process, from numerous screeners to (hopefully) several callbacks.  Give yourself a little grace (and rest), and cancel the callback if you know for sure you will not consider the firm.  Use that time to relax and recharge.  It will serve you better in the callbacks that you are still interested in.
If you are now convinced, you might ask… “Well, what do I say when I cancel?”  
The answer here is: keep it simple.  Email your recruiting contact or screener interviewer contact with something like: “I’d like to let you know that I’ll need to cancel the callback as I’ve decided to go in another direction.  I enjoyed meeting you and appreciated learning more about the firm.  I hope to stay in touch.”
The firm may ask you where you’ve decided to go (this is standard).  If you have already accepted an offer elsewhere and are comfortable sharing, you can share.  If you are not sure, don’t worry.. just say you’re not sure yet!  You are not obligated to answer.
If you are in this situation, then you are in a good spot!  Keep that in mind and try not to stress.

Summer Associate Hub Team

This content is based on our own experiences as former law students and BigLaw attorneys, and countless conversations with firm recruiting teams, law students, law school career advisors, legal career coaches, and hiring partners.  

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