The Irish playwirght, George Bernard Shaw, once said, ”Better never than late.” Bearing these words in mind, if you suddenly find yourself waylaid en route to an interview, is it better to turn around and head home? Or, can you find your way back into the interviewer’s good books and salvage a possible missed opportunity? 

 

I’m sure it’s happened to most of us in our day to day lives, even when we have the very best intentions we often find ourselves in situations beyond our control - like a delayed train - rendering even the most punctual among us hapless victims of tardiness. 

 

When a potential new job is on the line, what’s the best way to handle this situation? 

Here are five tips for rebounding from a late arrival.

 

1. Call if You Can 

 

If you are able to, it’s important to call the interviewer and give them the heads up that you’ve found yourself in this unfortunate situation and won’t be arriving on time. When you call, let them know your ETA and ask if that time will still work for them. If it doesn’t, offer to reschedule. 

 

Don't forget that everyone has an agenda. If you’re meant to arrive at 1.30pm and show up at 2pm then it can throw off the afternoon schedule. Offering to reschedule shows that you’re respectful of that person’s time. 

 

2. Apologise, But Don’t Go Over the Top

 

Overdoing an apology can do more damage than good. So whether you’re apologising on the phone or in person, always stay professional - don’t gush and ramble. Let the interviewer know how sincerely sorry are and how out of character this is, make your apology and then move on. These things happen, and people understand that. Don't undermine yourself by giving them lots of silly excuses. 

 

3. Take A Minute To Compose Yourself 

 

You’re already running late, and your brain is telling you there’s no time for anything. Who has a second to take 10 deep breaths and pull themselves together? You do. 

 

Yes, it hasn't been the best start, which will automatically put you at a disadvantage, but entering an interview flustered will only harm you further. Instead take a few moments and do whatever you need to do to get yourself back on track. Whether that’s counting, listening to music; take that extra minute to do whatever you need to, to calm down. If your heart is racing and your blood pressure is up, you’re not going to make a good impression. 

 

4. Keep it Positive

 

When you arrive into your interview, apologise again by saying, “I’m sorry; this is not ordinarily how I conduct myself,” then let it go. Always bear in mind that if things go well, this is the person you’ll either be working for or with, so keep the conversation positive and professional. Give him or her a chance to get to know you - particularly your strengths, such as how you can overcome a challenge like an unexpected detour on the way to an important meeting. 

 

Woody Allen once said, 80% of success is just showing up. So when you do show up, be present and give them 100%. 

 

5. Prove You Are Adaptable 

 

50% of an interview is about getting to know you, the candidate, as a person and getting a feel for who you are and if you’ll fit well within the company or organisation. How you handle yourself under pressure says a lot about you and how you’ll conduct yourself as the company’s employee. 

If you’re late to your job interview, there’s a possibility you could be late to see a client, and the company will be paying attention to see how you recover. It becomes a test of how you handle the situation, so use it to your advantage. 

 

If you do find yourself in the uncomfortable position of arriving late to an interview, all may not be lost. Being prepared and working through the situation like a professional could save the interview and also the job opportunity.

 

Related Articles

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

We use non obtrusive cookies on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive these cookies.
To find out more about how we use cookies, see our Cookie Information page.