How to Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview

Three Methods:Recovering From Being LateMaking the Most of Your InterviewArriving On Time to Your Interviews

Arriving late to a job interview can be a difficult situation to recover from. However, there are a few things that you can do to bring the interview back into your favor. By explaining your situation and keeping your interviewer informed, you may be able to successfully interview and obtain the position you are seeking.

Method 1
Recovering From Being Late

  1. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 1
    Make contact. As soon as you know that you are going to be late, you must call your contact and inform them of this. Informing your contact that you will be late will help keep the remainder of the interview process on track.[1]
    • Contact by phone, if possible.
    • If your contact has specified another means of communication, such as email, use that method instead.
    • Not showing up at all, without a call, will cause you to be dropped from consideration for the position.
  2. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 2
    Apologize. If you were able to reschedule, you should apologize for being late in the first instance. Be sincere and professional in your apology, strike a balance between saying too much and too little.[2]
    • Keep your message direct and brief. Don't go into too much detail as to why you are late.
    • Provide information, not excuses.
  3. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 3
    Have a good reason. Not all reasons for being late will be considered by interviewers as being legitimate. Generally actions out of your control will be treated with more sympathy than those within your control. Inform your contact as to why you were late.[3]
    • Regular traffic issues are not valid excuses. You are expected to know what the traffic is like near the location of your interview.
    • Major transportation failures, public or personal, may be accepted as valid reasons for being late.
    • A true emergency, personal or family, may also be an acceptable reason for being late.
  4. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 4
    Inform your contact of when you expect to arrive. Once you make contact and have apologized, you should let your contact know exactly when you expect to arrive. By knowing when you now expect to arrive and informing your contact, you can both work together to figure out what the next step will be.[4]
    • You may be allowed to reschedule your appointment.
    • The amount of time that you will be late will determine when you should reschedule your interview.
  5. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 5
    Reschedule your appointment. If you and your contact both agree that rescheduling is the best option, you will have to choose a time that works best. Choosing the new appointment time will depend largely on how late you expect to be and what time the interviewer has available.[5]
    • When rescheduling you may choose another day entirely or move the interview to later that day.
    • If you expect to be late by more than ten minutes, choose another day for the interview.
    • Ask your contact if your proposed times work for them. If your suggestions do not work, check with them and work with their availability.
    • Remember to thank them, sincerely, for the opportunity to reschedule.

Method 2
Making the Most of Your Interview

  1. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 6
    Stay calm and confident. Being late for your interview can be stressful and that stress can cause you to perform poorly during your interview. Focus your thoughts on how well suited you are for the position and how prepared you are for the interview.[6]
    • Being late can hurt the interview process, but if you were able to reschedule, remember that you are still being considered and have a chance to obtain the position.
    • Stay positive and focused. Don't let your late arrival have any further effect on the interview.
    • Don't dwell on any negative inner-voice. Remind yourself that you still have a chance and that success is attainable.
  2. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 7
    Apologize and show appreciation in person. Once you meet your interviewer in person, you should once again apologize for being late and thank them for meeting with you at this time.[7]
    • Keep your apology simple, direct, and sincere.
    • Understand that this second chance is a rare opportunity. Express appropriate and professional gratitude for their consideration and the opportunity.
  3. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 8
    Proceed with your interview as you would have normally. Accept that you were late and understand that it may affect your interview. Focus now on expressing how well suited you are for the position, the company, as well as your accomplishments and qualifications.[8]
    • Keep the focus on your strengths.
    • Do not let the fact that you were late fluster you or cause you to approach your interview negatively.
    • Do your best to be present during the interview. Dwelling on being late will cause unneeded stress and may cause you to interview poorly.

Method 3
Arriving On Time to Your Interviews

  1. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 9
    Improve your scheduling. If you find yourself constantly late for appointments, you may want to consider improving your scheduling practices. Keeping a schedule and sticking to it will help you to be better prepared for any appointment, especially interviews.[9]
    • Buy and use a personal planner. Enter in your upcoming appointments to get a good visualization of your schedule.
    • Wear a watch or keep a timepiece. Keeping careful track of what time it is will let your follow your schedule better.
  2. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 10
    Learn how long it takes to commute to the place of your interview. Finding out exactly how long your commute will take will allow you to plan your schedule accordingly. You may even want to plan multiple routes in case one should be blocked by construction or an accident on the day of your interview.[10]
    • Check your route and information before setting out to plan any routes. You don't want to plan to arrive at the wrong place.
    • Try an online mapping service, such as Google Maps, to get an estimate of how long your route might take you to travel.
    • You may wish to take a few practice runs to learn the best route and when traffic is not going to be a problem.
  3. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 11
    Leave yourself with more than enough time. By leaving early and planning on your commute taking longer than you originally thought, you free up time for any complications that would have otherwise made you late.
  4. Image titled Deal With Arriving Late to an Interview Step 12
    Arrive on time. Arriving right on time or around ten minutes early will help you feel better prepared and ready for the interview. If you arrive too close to the scheduled time, you may be flustered and unable to answer questions as well as you would like.[11]
    • If you know you have to complete paperwork upon your arrival, you may want to arrive a bit earlier.
    • Don't arrive too early as this may reflect negatively on you. A maximum of fifteen minutes should be as early as you arrive.
    • Arriving late will only increase the difficulty of the interview as well as cause you to be panicked.


  • Always arrive early or at least on time.
  • Keep a careful track of your schedule. Leave enough time for travel to the interview.
  • Know the quickest route and when and where traffic can be a problem.
  • If you are going to be late, inform your interviewer immediately.


  • Being late for an interview is difficult to overcome. It will likely reduce your chances of being considered for the position.

Article Info

Categories: Finance and Business | Interview Skills