Interviews can be stressful enough, but when something comes up that causes you to be late, tensions are high. You worry about the impact you are making on your first impression, including demonstrating you aren’t able to meet deadlines, show up on time, or even that you are frazzled during questions. What should you do?
As soon as you know you will be late, call the company, specifically the person who will be interviewing you and let them know. Give them an estimated time of arrival so they can make an adjustment, including rescheduling if necessary.
Give an honest reason for why you are running behind, but avoid blaming. Blaming others, even if completely relevant (such as being stuck in traffic), can hurt your credibility. Instead, offer a sincere apology and express gratitude for the interviewer’s flexibility.
Turn it to the Positive
Take responsibility for yourself and be humble, rather than angry or stressed. Use this opportunity to show your prospective employer how you stay cool under pressure and show maturity when a problem arises.
Give Yourself Time
While it may seem strange to be even later, it’s important to take an additional moment to compose yourself before the interview. Take a few deep breaths and prepare to present yourself in your best manner. People understand that “life happens”, so laugh about it and let it go. If necessary, reschedule.
After your interview, send a follow-up message, such as a thank you card or email. Follow-ups are always a good idea and yet aren’t often done. Doing so makes a good impression, which can counteract any negative that running behind could have created.
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