You Can Recover From Arriving Late for an Interview

Nancy Anderson
Posted by

One of the most important elements of your job search is making a good impression during a job interview. After researching the company and preparing responses to interview questions, the last thing you want to impede your performance is making a negative impression by showing up late. However, situations beyond your control can make you late. Learn how to recover to improve your chances of getting a job offer.

Make the Call

If you find yourself sitting in an endless jam of traffic — even though you left 30 minutes early for a job interview — pick up the phone and call the hiring manager right away. Although it is not ideal to show up late, offer common courtesy by explaining the situation. Give the hiring manager the opportunity to reschedule, postpone or carry on with the interview even though you cannot arrive on time. Show that you understand that his time is important and that you are willing to rearrange your schedule to accommodate an altered time or even conduct a Skype interview.

Show Genuine Remorse

First and foremost, apologize to the hiring manager when notifying him that you are not going to make it to the job interview on time. Offer genuine concern for his time and the interview schedule, but don't overdo it. Applicants who are overly apologetic may appear to have something to hide or lead potential employers to question the validity of their tardiness. Instead, offer an apology and reiterate that this is not typical of your professional character.

Compose Yourself

The temptation to run into the job interview late in a hurried manner may appear to show remorse, but it can also show that you are unprepared. Take a moment to compose yourself before walking into the establishment. Breathe deeply, smooth out your attire and give yourself a pep talk to restore your confidence. Avoid leaving a negative impression by rushing in frazzled.

Focus on the Positive

Recognize that you are late due to issues out of your control and then move on quickly to put the focus on your skills and experience after arriving late to a job interview. Show that you have put in the time and effort to research the company during your job search and display this knowledge with confidence. Keep the focus away from your tardiness by impressing the interviewer with your professional and positive outlook. Show that you are eager to work for the company and learn more about potential opportunities.

It may not be ideal to show up to a job interview late, but you can recover and still increase your opportunities for employment. Show genuine remorse and direct the interview toward your positive traits to put yourself in the running despite the slight mishap.

Photo Courtesy of Ambro at


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch