Missing Interviews: Dos & Don’ts

You can prepare the perfect questions, pick your most professional outfit, get plenty of sleep, and life can still find a way to put a pin in your plans. If something happens to jeopardize you getting to that super important interview, keep reading to see what your damage control options are.

If you’re an employer, frustrated and tired of no-shows giving the same old excuses, we’ve got fantastic news.

For the month of November, we are offering all clients our interview reservation service, usually only available for bespoke packages. We’ll liaise with your selected candidates, fit them into your schedule, and make sure they’re ready for action. Click here to get started. 

Dummy’s Guide to Winning People Over 

Interviews are like first dates – it’s all about the first impression and making a connection with the other person. Showing that you are dedicated to and interested in the position and the company is a very easy way to make a good impression before you even arrive at the interview. 

Punctuality is also a foolproof way of securing extra brownie points. In 99% of situations, you will know ahead of time if you aren’t going to make the interview. 

For example, if you are stuck in terrible traffic 10kms away from the location, and your interview is in 5 minutes, you know you’re in trouble. Or if you show up on time…but to the wrong location. Or, if you simply do not want to go anymore. 

In all of these instances, the solution is extremely simple: PICK UP THE PHONE ASAP. 

Another way to impress someone quickly is to have respect for their time. More often than not, interviews are squeezed into employers’ very busy schedules, and everybody knows how frustrating it is to feel like your time has been wasted. 

If you cannot get through to the person you’ve been corresponding with, send them an email immediately informing them that you tried to call and then explain your reason for being late/cancelling. Make sure to take full responsibility and not to sound like you’re making up an excuse. Things do happen, and if it really is out of your control, most people will be sympathetic and understanding. 

Here is a hypothetical scenario: an employer calls you on a Tuesday and proposes an interview for Wednesday. You accept because you are so happy, but you know that you won’t be able to get there because you need to arrange transport money. You don’t attend the interview on Wednesday, despite agreeing to it, and you lose an opportunity.

When called for an interview, you are perfectly entitled to say to the employer “that day doesn’t work for me, could we maybe do … ?”. This will provide you some time to make sure that you are organised and are able to attend the interview.

If you are suddenly facing a legitimate and unexpected crisis like a car accident or other medical emergency, you should follow the same protocol. If you are unable to call the employer yourself, ask a friend or family member to do it on your behalf – there are always options.

If an employer calls you to schedule an interview, and you know implicitly that you WON’T be able to make it e.g. it’s in another province – just don’t accept it. It’s a waste of everybody’s time.

The Facts

It is NEVER a good idea to miss the interview WITHOUT contacting the employer. 

It reflects extremely badly on your communication skills, reliability, and professionalism – would you just not show up to meetings with clients? This perception makes it difficult for them to give you another chance, provided you are still interested in interviewing for the position. Think about if your date didn’t show up to the restaurant and provided no explanation. 

Another way to ruin your chances with potential employers is to be dishonest. Most people aren’t as good at lying as they’d like to believe, and it can be obvious that something is not true. 

  • It’s a very bad idea to lie about family emergencies. Sympathetic people may ask questions, and soon your excuse will grow into a massive lie. What would you think of someone who lied about something so awful? 
  • An easy out for many people is the phrase ‘personal emergency’. This excuse is used to try and avoid/block any further questions about the supposed ’emergency’ and often sounds like a lie. It is a risky one because it can create a level of distrust through a lack of openness. 
  • Easily solved problems are a no-go and can also make you seem irresponsible or not committed. E.g. flat tires/car trouble can both be solved by Ubering. If you use public transport, and your bus is not running or your train is delayed, this can be resolved by calling the employer as soon as you realise you’ll be late.

Trusted Tip: Call or email the employer you’ve been in contact with *at least* 1 day before your scheduled interview to confirm the time, day and location. This shows you are dedicated and organised, plus it will help you avoid any confusion about when you’re supposed to meet. 

Once you’ve checked your route on Google Maps for the 8th time, ironed your shirt, and shined your shoes, click here to check out our best interview tips.



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