How to Redeem Yourself After Arriving Late to an Interview

One situation where the adage “better late than never” doesn’t always seem to apply is when you don’t make it to an interview on time. While you don’t necessarily want to abandon the opportunity if you show up after your appointed time, you will need to do some damage recovery once you do make it in the door.

Most job seekers don’t intend to be late to their interview, but unforeseen circumstances can disrupt even the best-laid plans. If you weren’t able to arrive on time, here’s what you need to do.

Late to the Interview? Don’t Panic!

Regain Your Composure

In most cases, arriving late will leave you frazzled. If your start time has already passed, take a few seconds to regain your composure. One easy method is to take a couple of deep breathes. Alternatively, you can recite an empowering mantra or reasons as to why you are a great candidate for the role.

While you want to make sure you get to the interview quickly, an additional 30 seconds likely won’t make a significant difference if you are already late, so take a moment to center yourself before heading through the door.

Apologize Quickly and Concisely

After you exchange introductions, the first thing you need to do is apologize for your tardiness. Let the hiring manager know that you are genuinely sorry for arriving late and that this is out of character for you.

Beyond that, it’s important not to overdo it. Resist the urge to provide a lengthy explanation as, depending on your reason, it could actually hurt your chances moving forward. And, no matter what the circumstances, keep your apology brief, as rambling will do more harm than good.

Be Positive and Professional

Once your apology is delivered, shift your mindset. You want to come off as positive and professional, so don’t hang on to the fact that you were late. Instead, focus on showcasing your virtues and highlighting your relevant skills and experiences.

While it’s true that you will need to make up some ground with the hiring manager, allowing your tardiness to affect your mood will make that task harder. Make sure they get a chance to see what you have to offer and try to avoid dwelling on your misstep.

By handling the situation with grace and poise, you show that you can bounce back from a stressful event, and that can go a long way when it comes to making a more favorable impression.

Accept the Consequences

In some cases, arriving late will lead the hiring manager to reschedule or even cancel your interview. If that occurs, accept the consequences and move on. You typically aren’t in a position to change their mind, so arguing will only make things worse. Try to learn from the experience, so that you can avoid a similar situation in the future, and then dive back into your job search.

Ultimately, being late to an interview does create a challenge, but it is one that can be overcome. If they don’t give you an opportunity, then formulate a plan that will ensure that it doesn’t happen again when you land your next interview.

Looking for a job?

If you are interested in learning more or are looking for a new job, the professionals at TRC Staffing Services can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable recruiters today and see how our expertise can benefit your job search.

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