How to Recover When You’re Late for Your Interview
Maybe you got caught in an accident on the highway. Maybe you woke up with a sudden cold and can’t leave the house. Maybe you just overslept and weren’t prepared on time for your interview.
You planned ahead and knew where you were going, and may have even taken a test-drive to your interview location to be sure you knew how long travel would take. You chose your outfit ahead of time and set your alarm with the intention of arriving 10 minutes early.
Do you know what to do in those moments when you realize you’re late for your interview? Whether or not you have a valid excuse, it’s on you to make things right and take the initiative to move forward. What can you do to smooth things over with the hiring manager?
Three ways to make things right with the interviewer
In an interview, communicating well and committing to going above and beyond will set you apart from other candidates. Your interviewer understands that sometimes things happen and you just can’t get there on time, even if you tried your best. Given that, you can make up for your lack of timeliness with the following tactics:
- Call or email as soon as possible. You’d phone ahead in any other situation, and an interview is no different. If at all possible, call the office or email your interviewer and say you’re really sorry but you’re running late and expect to arrive in a given time frame.
- Be honest and provide a good reason. If you’ve encountered a traffic jam, heavy construction or a car accident, these are valid concerns. If your alarm didn’t go off, it doesn’t reflect well on your time management, but your honesty could help you recover. Whatever you do, don’t offer reasons like, “I just have bad luck” or “This is just not my day” – they sound like excuses. If you can’t offer a good reason, don’t lie – simply say your tardiness is due to circumstances outside your control.
- Offer a make-up time. When you contact the hiring manager, say you’re sorry and give your reason, and always offer to reschedule. You can say something like, “I understand your time is valuable, so if my late arrival throws off your schedule, I am also free
Say how much you want this opportunity
As with every step in the interview process, your calls and emails in the process of rescheduling your interview are another chance to showcase how much you want the position. Your career passion will go a long way.
Don’t give up
If the interviewer is faced with a tight schedule to find a candidate and fill the position, your late arrival may result in missing out on this particular opportunity. If that’s the case, don’t lose hope! There’s always another chance to land a promising job interview.
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