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What to Do if You're Late for an Interview

No matter how much you prepare before an interview, things that are completely out of your hands can go wrong on the day and cause you to be late. Whether it's a bus that's running late, an unavoidable traffic jam, or a wrong turn on your way there, there's nothing you can do to avoid these things from happening - but what effect will it have on your interview performance?

Is being late for an interview a deal-breaker?

Turning up late for an interview without giving the interviewer any notice is definitely going to affect your chances of a successful interview. In fact, a survey conducted by The Creative Group back in 2015 shows that after checking or answering your phone in an interview, showing up late without acknowledging it is one of the most common interview dealbreakers. 

What should you do if you're running late?

If you know you're going to be late, it's important that you notify the person you've been corresponding with as soon as possible! At this point, sending an email or a text message isn't going to cut it. Emails and texts can be easily missed, especially when the person on the other end is likely to be busy or even in another interview. It's best to give the company a phone call and make sure that you leave a message with reception, as a minimum. 

If you manage to get in touch with someone, make sure you tell them why you're running lateapologise sincerely, and give them an estimate of your arrival time. In some cases, the interviewer might be able to push your interview time back a little bit and still see you on that day. However 9 times out of 10, it's better to reschedule. Here's why...

Being late will affect your performance

Even if the bus shows up, the traffic clears, or you eventually find your way to the right location, it's better to try and reschedule the interview because you're already starting off on a bad foot. The adrenaline and panic that you usually feel before an interview is significantly heightened when you're running late. Most likely, you'll arrive feeling flustered and unprepared so you won't give your best performance in the interview. 

By rescheduling, you avoid confusing the interviewer's schedule, and you also give yourself the chance to relax and prepare for the interview the second time around. Usually, interviewers prefer you to reschedule, so don't be afraid to ask if you're running late.

How do I avoid being late in the future?

If you've already missed one interview, it's highly unlikely that the personal interview will accommodate your tardiness again, so it's important you show up on time (or a little bit early) for the next one. Here are our tips to make sure you arrive at your interview on time:

  • Visit the place where you're interviewing prior to your interview. This will give you an idea of where to go & will prevent you from getting lost.
  • Anticipate traffic. If your interview is scheduled for a busy time of day, make sure allow for this and set off with plenty of extra time.
  • Get your clothes ready and pack your bag the night before. That way, you can have a stress-free morning and be ready on time.

Hopefully, these tips will help you get the situation under control quickly if you find yourself running late for an interview. For more interview advice, click the button below:

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