I had a PhD interview for a position but I had to cancel it because I had an offer from another one. However, I didn't accept the offer and now I would like to be interviewed for the first position. How could I ask them for this?

  • 30
    You blew your chance. Accept that and move on. Never cancel an interview before you have accepted an offer.
    – user9482
    Jun 30, 2021 at 10:11
  • 5
    How long ago did you turn them down? Yesterday vs last month may make a difference depending on how quickly they moved on to other candidates. If I'm into my final decision you would be too late for sure. But since you turned me down once, your application would have to be really good for me to reconsider and re-offer the interview.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 30, 2021 at 13:20
  • One day before the interview. I decline them due to the money that the other position (that offered to me) didn't pay enough in order for my wife and me to afford the living expenses. It was (stipend) something that we discussed in the final interview after I accepted the offer. That was the time that I realized that it wasn't adequate. You will sure say that I had to discuss the stipend issue at the first interviews, but we didn't.
    – Link
    Jun 30, 2021 at 13:38
  • 3
    "A day before the interview" doesn't tell us how long ago all of this happened. It could make a big difference in answering: did all of this happen two days ago, last week or last month? But it really is as @Roland says, never ever cancel an interview before you have accepted an offer and signed the contract.
    – penelope
    Jun 30, 2021 at 13:51
  • 2
    It have been passed 5 days. There is no deadline (until filled). Start October 2021
    – Link
    Jun 30, 2021 at 14:40

2 Answers 2


First, and most important, if you don't approach them then you get no happy resolution.

Second, you are entitled to your own choices and priorities and no one should be offended by that.

Third, probably nothing you do will guarantee success, but you can try to put yourself back in the game, at least, just by indicating that you would welcome an interview and an offer.

I would simply say that my circumstances are now different, without going into detail or apologizing for my earlier decisions. They may assume that they weren't my (your) first choice and might ask about it. It is always good to be honest in answering questions, but you need not try to anticipate them and answer them preemptively.

We, maybe you also, don't know how highly you were ranked earlier or whether they still have an opening. In the best case they will welcome your continued interest.

My advice, then, is not to go into detail about why you are now interested but be prepared to give an honest answer if asked. I doubt they would be surprised by any candidate having other options in such a case, nor by the candidate wanting to explore them.

You were honest with them originally, I think, not stringing them along. Perhaps they can appreciate that. But there are no guarantees.

So, I agree with Captain Emacs, that you should prepare an adequate explanation, but I don't think you should express it unless asked.

  • Thank you very much for your response
    – Link
    Jun 30, 2021 at 14:50

You can always ask in a contrite manner, trying to find an explanation why you declined them in the first place and explaining why you are now agreeing to join them.

I would be wary of a student with such indecisiveness and possible flightyness, but if they have a substantial number of positions and your credentials are strong, you may be in luck.

I pick up on Buffy's comment, there might be also another viewpoint: if there were concrete circumstances or newly arisen facts that triggered your change in decision, it is strongly recommended to mention them. If there is a good reason for you to reconsidering your choice, it is important for the committee to see what your thought process was in changing your decision.

  • 3
    You may not appear "indecisive" if you just say that your circumstances have changed in the interim. It is a statement of fact, actually.
    – Buffy
    Jun 30, 2021 at 12:44
  • @Buffy Absolutely, but OP did not indicate that in their question. With your permission, I'll edit that into the answer. Jun 30, 2021 at 12:45
  • Sure, but declining the other offer is, itself, changed circumstances. The OP should be prepared to explain, if asked.
    – Buffy
    Jun 30, 2021 at 13:04
  • 5
    @Buffy Not strong enough argument, in my opinion, as OP was initiator of the changed circumstances. I am thinking of external circumstances that caused the situation to change. Jun 30, 2021 at 13:06

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