What Not to Do When You’re Running Late to an Interview

suitYou know how things snowball, right? You’re running late to an interview and then you spill your coffee. As you wipe it off your suit, the napkin disintegrates and makes white, visible balls of cotton on your lap. Lovely.

Well, here’s the thing. Running late is inevitable. It’s going to happen at one point or another.

As soon as you realize you’re going to be late, contact the recruiter via phone, email or text to let him or her know you’re running behind. Here in New York City, the E train is notoriously slow so it’s not uncommon for a job seeker to be late 30 minutes or more thanks to mass transit — been there, done that, seen it happen.

If you show up late without advance warning that you’re tardy or even worse, if you show up late with no acknowledgment of this, your candidacy will not be viewed positively. Definitely apologize to the recruiter while resisting the urge to give a long explanation.

As for what not to do? Don’t blow off the recruiter. Communication is critical as is your enthusiasm for the role. Don’t give a song and dance as to why you’re late. Simply state that you’ve had one of those days and then put on your best smile. And don’t look frazzled. Yes, if it’s raining outside and you have torn your pantyhose and are having a bad hair day, take a few moments to pull yourself together. Take a deep breath and then go into the interview putting the past in the past and focusing on your present opportunity to dazzle.

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