What to do when you’re late for a job interview
You’ve prepped the questions, picked the perfect outfit and even planned the quickest route to get to your interview. What could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot of things actually.
Sometimes even the best-laid plans can fall apart. A coffee spill, a road diversion or even a change of address can leave you running late (even if you left home 15 minutes early).
The important thing to remember is that it is not the end of the world. These things can happen on the quest for a new role.
Here’s what you should do if you find yourself in this situation.
Get in touch with them ASAP
I’m sorry but an email isn’t going to cut the mustard here. You should ring the office as soon as you know you’re going to be late. People have busy schedules. If you’re booked in for 1.30pm and you arrive at 2pm you could throw their whole day off. Let them know you will be late and offer to reschedule. This will show them that you respect their time.
Give them an ETA
Saying that you’re going to be late is very vague. Give the interviewer a new estimated time that you can make it to their office. Always give yourself plenty of time. The last thing you want to do is be late twice. That will make a horrible first impression.
Apologise (but don’t overdo it)
Sometimes people are late. It’s not exactly the end of the world. Let the interviewer know how deeply sorry you are and tell them that this is out of character. Once you have said your piece leave it at that. There is no need to bring it up again. It’s time to move on.
Have a good reason
”I missed the bus” simply isn’t good enough. When you apologise you should tell the interviewer why you are late so they know that this isn’t a common occurrence. Honesty is always the best policy so just give it to them straight. If you couldn’t find the office just tell them that. They will hopefully understand.
Put your game face back on
Okay, the worst has happened. You’re late, big whoop. Now is not the time to wallow in self-pity or throw a tantrum, you still have an interview to complete. Before you go into the building take a few moments outside to collect your thoughts. Assume a power pose or take long deliberate breaths to help you to get into the right frame of mind. There is no point arriving at your interview completely frazzled and unable to string a sentence together. Don’t worry, you’ve got this.