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Have you ever gone on a date only to have your date show up 15-20 minutes after the scheduled time? How did this make you feel? This person didn’t call or even send a text message. You sat there waiting not knowing if your date would make it or if he or she was okay or if you should stay or leave. How inconsiderate! Well, let’s take this analogy and liken it to the interview process.

I get it, things happen. Being late for an interview however, is really not one of those things that should happen. When you know you have a job interview it is generally expected that you show up about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Additionally, it is always recommended that you give yourself some extra time for travel and the occurrence of any unforeseen circumstances when you have an interview. Arriving early helps you make a great first impression on your prospective employer and also gives you a few extra minutes to relax and get a feel for the company and the environment.

When you are late you leave a very bad impression on the interviewer/employer who has taken time out of his or her day to meet with you. In any event, if you are late for an interview here is how you should and most importantly, should not handle it.

What Not To Do:

  1. Never show up late for an interview and pretend it never happened (i.e. pretend you are not late). Everyone knows you are! There is nothing more insulting to the interviewer than showing up 10-15 minutes late and acting completely cavalier about it. This is similar to having your date showing up late and simply sitting down and immediately ordering a glass of wine without acknowledging being late. He or she just begins striking up a conversation. Generally, in an interview setting you won’t get called out on this, but you will definitely lose brownie points. So, acknowledge your wrong and fess up!
  2. Don’t have silly or made up excuses for being late.
  3. Don’t wait until it is really close to the time of the interview to call. For example, if your interview is scheduled for 11am, don’t wait until 10:55am to say you think you might be late. This doesn’t give the interviewer a lot of notice.

What TO Do:

  1. Phone Ahead:
    Scenario 1. – You take public transportation and we all know that there are so many things that could go wrong that may delay you from getting to your final destination. If you realize the time is approaching for the interview, simply phone ahead and let the interviewer know that you may not be there on time, and don’t be afraid to say why. Be honest.
    Scenario 2 and so on. – Your car breaks down, you’re stuck in traffic, you couldn’t find your keys (this is not the best of excuses)…things happen! Again, phone and simply say you are running late.
    The most important lesson here is that you should have a genuine reason for being late. Also, be considerate and ask if it is still okay for you to come in because you realize this person may have other appointments. If you need to reschedule, make yourself available.
  2. Say when you think you will be arriving. Don’t just phone and say you will late. You need to have a timeline as to when you think you will be able to make it. If you absolutely have no idea, then it would be a good idea to reschedule for a different day.
  3. Apologize:
    This should really be the number thing that you do. When you phone apologize for the inconvenience of possibly being late and again apologize when you get there. Be genuine and professional. Again, here if it might be a good idea to explain again briefly, why you are late.
  4. Relax:
    After you have apologized you need to relax and get your head back into the game. It may have been a hassle to get to the interview and it might have been a situation where you experienced some distress, but you still need to remember to take a deep breath and relax.

That’s all for now…

Peace & Love
-CC

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