A couple of years ago when I was job searching, I earned an interview with my dream company doing my dream work. When my dream company called me asking if I could come in for a quick 30 minute interview, but the very next day, I immediately said yes. What I failed to remember at my moment of excitement was that I was currently employed and per my old company’s policy, time off requests must be submitted at least a week in advance. Out of fear, I decided to not ask for the next day off and I was wayyyyy to scared to call in sick (I’m not a good liar and so I knew I wouldn’t have the guts to call in sick).
So here I was the very next day, headed out a little earlier than normal for my lunch break – but headed to interview at my dream company. Three things then happened that I wasn’t expecting:
1. Traffic was CRAZY
2. I was late for my interview
3. I was late coming back from my lunch break and got reprimanded
After all of that, you can probably guess what happened with my dream job that I had interviewed for (yep I didn’t get the job).
The biggest lesson that I learned from all of this is never schedule an interview on the same day that you have something important (like work). I also realized that sometimes no matter how early you leave for an interview, sometimes traffic can occur at the most random times. So whether you are stuck in unexpected traffic, sleep past your alarm clock, or are just having trouble finding the place, sometimes being late for an interview happens.
Unfortunately we all know that being late to an interview doesn’t exactly reflect the best qualities you have. If you are running late for an interview, here is how to handle the situation:
1. Don’t wait till it’s too late to call
Letting your interviewers know that you’re going to be late is dreadful and embarrassing to do, but it’s important. I recommend calling and emailing the interviewer so that you can feel confident that you have tried to communicate with them on all ends. If you fail to communicate with them and show up late, it will just show that you are unorganized and have poor time management skills.
2. Give a good excuse
If you’re running late to an interview you better have a pretty good excuse! ‘Sorry I’m late, I overslept,’ will never get you the job. Provide the interviewer with a valid and unavoidable excuse is much better.
3. Be apologetic
Remember, when you are late to the interview, it inconveniences the interviewer who will then have to waste time waiting for you to arrive, so it’s important to be very apologetic.
Apologize first when contacting the interviewer to inform them that you’re running late. Then apologize again in person when you meet the interviewer. Lastly, apologize one more time at the end of your interview and thank them for their understanding.
4. Don’t lose your cool
Even though you are late, you may be able to win over the interviewers by being bad ass in your interview. Don’t let your tardiness upset you or make you unconfident. Remember to always stay focused on the end goal – and that’s getting the job!