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If You Miss a Job Interview

Date Published: Mar 11, 2021

Stressed male sitting outside

So, you are about to head out to a job interview for that desired job of yours. You feel good about it. You are dressed to the nines and are ready to go, but then your car doesn’t start and it turns out that your battery is dead.

Very quickly you realize that you are not going to be able to make it to the interview or you will be late at best. Thoughts then begin to run through your head of what you should do. Try not to panic. Read through the steps below for the best way to handle this situation.

Step 1: Do not just show up

If you know for a fact that you are going to be late, especially without giving the company you are interviewing with a heads up, experts say your best bet is to reschedule the interview. At this point you will be stressed out and this will increase the odds that you will have a poor performance in the interview.

You also do not want to just assume that the interviewer can readjust their schedule to fit you in. This is a big inconvenience for a number of people.

A survey conducted by The Creative Group found that 70% of executives would disregard a potential candidate from a position if they arrived late to an interview, without any prior notice. This leads to step two.

Step 2: Notify

If you are running late and know that you won’t be able to make the interview on time, notify the interviewer. Hiring managers agree that you must let the person that you have been in contact with know about the situation.

Do not do this via email or text message. Experts note that your best move is to call the person as soon as you realize that you will be late or are going to miss the interview entirely.

The worst thing you can do in this situation is show up late with no notice. If you have a good reason that you will be late or miss the interview entirely, the interviewer may agree to reschedule the interview. The sooner you make the interviewer aware, the better your chances are that they will reschedule or allow you to arrive late. So, don’t wait, notify ASAP and do not just show up anyway with no notice.

Step 3: Apologize

After you make your contact person aware that you will be late to the interview or won't be able to make it, deeply and sincerely apologize. Missing or being late to an interview is a red flag for a company, so don't brush it off. Make your contact aware that you know you made a mistake and express regret.

If you have an appropriate reason you will be late or can't make it, explain it briefly and let the interviewer know that you are aware of the inconvenience this has caused everyone involved.

Secondly, mention that you would greatly value another chance and thank them for taking the time to listen, and for their consideration. It also doesn’t hurt to send a follow up apology email later on.

Step 4: Relax, Learn, and Prepare

You called, made the interviewer aware of the situation, and you apologized. Missing an interview is a hard fall to get back up from, but you have done all you can. At this point, all you have to do now is relax, get yourself ready to blow them away when you go to your rescheduled interview, and learn from the experience.

One more thing you can do is visit the location before the day of the interview. This will allow you to learn alternate routes and anticipate potential delays to avoid the risk of being late due to traffic (Thottam, Monster).

Keep Calm

Things happen, and being in the position where you are going to be late or miss your interview can be stressful. It is important though to stay focused and refer back to these four steps to help you recover. The best thing you can do is learn from the experience. Things can happen that are out of your control and the only thing you have to do is choose how you handle the situation.

So, try to keep calm, realize that you won’t make it on time or at all, call your contact for the company, apologize, and prepare for the rescheduled interview. It’s going to be okay!