“How to Overcome Being Late to An Interview”

09.26.18 | Job Search

How-to-Overcome-Being-Late-to-an-InterviewBefore you begin a job interview, you’re judged on a number of things. The interviewer has reviewed your resume and application, and potentially even your social media. They will mentally notice your appearance and how you interact with those around you. What time you arrive can also play a large part in their perception.

Arriving early is crucial, but you don’t want to be so early that you look a little desperate. Planning to get there on time is planning to be late because you need wiggle room in case something goes wrong. If everything goes smoothly and you’re very early, you can relax and prepare in your vehicle before going in. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, things still go wrong, and you can’t make it on time. When that happens, don’t panic! Remember the following tips.

Give Them a Heads Up

Instead of assuming it will be fine because you’re only going to be a few minutes late, give them a courtesy call if possible. Let me know what happened and when you should be arriving. Offer to reschedule if later doesn’t work with them, and they’re willing to still see you.

Take a Moment to Breathe

If the interview is still happening, give yourself a few moments to calm down before going in. This will allow you to mentally prepare for what’s ahead and leave for what’s behind. If you just rush in, you might be filled with adrenaline and too frantic to give a proper interview. You don’t want to delay any longer, but it’s better for everyone if you breathe first.


Keep the Apology Simple

Your inclination might be to over-apologize and constantly reference your tardiness, but that can work against you. When you enter, briefly apologize, explain this isn’t like you, and move on. Continuing to babble won’t change what time you arrived, but it will take away from the interview moving forward.

Stay Positive

It can be really easy to take the apology into a spiral of regret and negativity. This is why moving on quickly is so important. You want to keep things light both for those interviewing you and for yourself.

Impress Them Despite Everything

Adaptability is an important skill, and now you have the perfect chance to show it off. You’ve entered the room calmly, offered a brief explanation and apology, and now you’re behaving as if you didn’t just have the most stressful 15 minutes of your life. This can speak to how you operate under pressure and ultimately work in your favor.

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