What to do if you are late for your interview

Turning up late for an interview is one of the biggest blunders you can make. Arriving even a couple of minutes late could leave a negative impression with your potential employer, leaving them questioning your time management and organisational skills.

Not only that, you will have no doubt stressed yourself out by rushing and panicking to get yourself to your interview on time, leaving you flustered and slightly anxious.

So what should you do if you are running late for your interview?

The moment you realise you will not make it to your interview on time, you should call up the contact from the company to let them know. Give them a realistic timeframe, such as: “The road has now reopened so I shall be at your office by 10:20am”. Make sure you have made contact with them prior to your scheduled interview time.

Apologise over the phone and double check your interview is still OK to take place. It might be that they now need to rearrange your interview, or cancel it altogether. Confirm this over the phone and if they need to rearrange, be as flexible as you can be. Remember they are doing you a favour by rearranging your interview so show your appreciation and thank them for giving you a second opportunity.

If you are given a second chance, you need to do everything in your power to ensure you arrive within plenty of time and not to make the same mistake as last time.

If you are luckily enough to continue with your interview, albeit late, apologise for your lateness and for making the interviewer wait for your arrival. Your excuse needs to be a good one, but make sure you tell the truth and don’t lie or exaggerate. Starting off this recruitment process on a lie as well as tardiness is not the best way to begin your journey.

Before you enter the building for your (late) interview, take a deep breath and calm down. You still need to go into your interview and convince the employer you are the ideal candidate for this position, so get your confidence up, compose yourself and show them you are the perfect person for the job.

How to avoid being late for your interview

Set your alarm with enough time to shower, have breakfast or your morning coffee, find the right outfit and make yourself look presentable.

Plan your journey prior to your interview:

  • What bus stop do you need to get on and off at?
  • What are the nearest train lines?
  • Where is the closest carpark, and how much does it cost?
  • Where is the taxi rank?
  • How long is the walk from your home to the location of your interview?

Top up your opal card in advance so you know you have enough money to get you to your interview, if you are taking public transport.

If you are traveling in rush hour or peak time, ensure enough time is left for queues, traffic and any delays.

Before the day, if you get the opportunity, run through the journey from your home to the business. Familiarise yourself with the journey, landmarks, entrance to the building and any obstacles along the way which could hold you up.

Factor in delays such as: strikes, accidents, road closures, weather and school drop off/pick up zones.

Before you step into that interview, take a deep breath and remember you are there for your skills and expertise, so show them you are the right candidate for the job.

You can also read our blog on 7 sins to avoid at your interview.

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