Here is This Week’s Question:
“Last week I had an interview for a position that I really want to land. I took a half day off of work so that I didn’t have to rush and so I could be prepared. When I was leaving work I got in my car and it wouldn’t start! I was in a panic, so I called my wife and had her take me to the interview and wait until I finished. I know that may sound silly, but I really want this job! Even though I made it right on time, I was wondering what you can do if you are late to an interview? Is it still possible to land the job?”
The old saying is “better late then never” right? Well, when it comes to interviews that doesn’t really apply. If you are late to an interview and you don’t inform the employer, there is a good chance you aren’t getting the job. With that being said, life happens, and as long as you handle the situation properly, you still can put yourself in a position to land the position.
Reach Out if You Are Late
The most important thing to do if you are going to be late for an interview is to inform the employer. Whether you are sitting in traffic, on your way, or even if you haven’t left your house yet, you need to let them know. A phone call is always the best route. If you get a voicemail, follow up with a quick e-mail. Remember to be apologetic and let them know when you anticipate being there.
Have a Good Reason
If you are running late and are still hoping for a job offer, you’ll need a pretty good reason. Excuses like waking up late or heavy traffic are not going to work. Employers are looking for dependable candidates, and being on time is a direct reflection of your work ethic. The best thing to do is to plan for these events so you are not late. If there is no way around it and something happens, your best bet is to be honest. Sometimes things like car trouble, emergencies, work issues, etc. are unavoidable.
Apologize, Reiterate Interest, Move On
Once you arrive to the interview, it is important to address and handle the situation properly. First and foremost, you should apologize again for being late. You should also reiterate your interest in the opportunity and then move on. You don’t want your apology to become the focus of the interview. Chances are that if you keep rambling, you will dig yourself a hole. Here’s a good example:
“John, Thanks again for meeting with me. My apologies, as my car wouldn’t start when I was leaving work this afternoon. I’m so glad we are still able to meet because I am really excited about this opportunity, and I am usually never late to anything!”