It is said that getting to the interview stage is often half the battle won in terms of securing a new job. Now you have the chance to show off your skills and experience and put forward your case on why you believe you are the best person for the role. With only a short timeframe to make a good first impression, which is often critical to landing a job, why do so many candidates hurt their chances by arriving late for their interview?
Tardiness is unfortunately a trait often noticed in candidates by recruiters and hiring managers. It’s not only a poor reflection of your time management skills, but also shows a lack of respect to your interviewer and the company. More often than not, the person interviewing you is probably doing other interviews that same day and, if not, would have other appointments that require their attention. Apart from a negative first impression, you are losing out on time that will help you come across as the most suitable applicant for the role.
Sometimes unexpected or unforeseen circumstances arise which are out of your control. You could be affected by a public transport breakdown or unexpected traffic delays. When this happens, here are some things you could do to help you recover from your lateness and rectify the situation.
What to do if running late for an interview
Make the Call - You must call the interviewer and advise them you are running late. It is worth doing this even if your predicament improves and your delay is less than you expected. It shows the interviewer that you respect them and their time.
Focus – Once you get to the location, take a few moments to compose yourself. You may be flustered as a result of your commute not going according to plan. Give yourself a minute to gather your thoughts, and ensure you’re in a presentable state to focus on the interview.
Apologise – When you introduce yourself to the interviewer, establish direct eye contact and apologise for being late straight away. There is no need to go into a lengthy explanation or excuse at this stage. Simply convey you understand it’s not appropriate and you’re truly sorry for the inconvenience, and move on.
Be Thankful – Express your strong interest in the role and thank the interviewer for the opportunity. Find out if your lateness will impact the length of time set aside for your interview so that you can avoid rushing through your answers and be calm and confident.
You’ve most likely worked weeks or even months to secure an interview for a role that you’re really interested in. Don’t hurt your chances by turning up late. If it’s unavoidable, at least give yourself a chance to turn it around!
Remember: Better late than never, but never late is better.