What to Do if You’re Late to an Interview

On Monday, we taught you the important steps to follow to recover from being late to work. However, what should you do when you are running late to an interview? Because your tardiness may be your first impression on the company, it is even more important to follow the strategies listed below to reconfigure your image!

  1. Communicate! Just as we highlighted in our previous article, communication is your key to recuperating. Call the company or interviewer (if you have been provided contact information) as soon as you realize that you may not make it to your interview on time. You are much better off making your future employer aware of your mistakes instead of trying to beat the clock and leaving the interviewers confused without notice.
  2. Provide an ETA: It is essential to make your interviewer aware of when exactly you plan on arriving. Remember, they have several obligations aside from your interview scheduled throughout the day, and if there is an opportunity for them to reorganize and not lose their valuable time it will help you immensely (in not suffering from a detrimental first impression!).
  3. Apologize Immediately: When you arrive at the company, make sure to apologize to whoever was affected. Owning up to your mistakes showcases your ability to hold yourself accountable, which is an important quality of any employee. Maintain eye contact, awareness of your body language and tone, and convey honest feelings about your mistake.
    • Extra Tip: Do NOT make up an elaborate story about what caused you to be late! Hiring managers are not unforgiving, but they will be able to see through a lie. So, stick to your facts and explain what really happened so as to maintain honesty.
  4. Prepare to Reschedule: Now that you have, unfortunately, caused a delay in their day, it is your responsibility to prepare to reconfigure your schedule at some point in the future if you are afforded another interview opportunity. Unless the time offered is absolutely unavoidable in your schedule, reorganize any other obligations to prove that this new position is your priority.
  5. Take a Moment to Relax: Once you arrive on site, take an extra moment to regain composure and relax. Whether this means running to the bathroom to touch up, grabbing a glass of water, or sitting down and relaxing your breathing, it is better that you enter the interview with a calm and confident demeanor, instead of rushing in and appearing frantic.
  6. Thank your interviewer! We hope this one is especially obvious. However, we highly encourage you to send an extra-genuine, kind-hearted thank you letter immediately following the interview. This may be a good time to handwrite a letter and drop it off or priority-mail it to the office. Addressing your mistake one last time and reminding the hiring manager that it will not happen again will elevate your lasting impression.

More often than not, your hiring manager will be able to look past a few minutes of tardiness. It is the actions that you take following the situation that will determine your lasting impression as a reliable, caring, and dedicated future employee. So, dust yourself off and enter the interview like you would any other… with confidence and a rocking first impression!

Missed our article? Click here to learn how to nail your first impression!

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