how late is too late for an interview?

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You’re an interviewer. You have a 12:00 interview scheduled. Normally people go in the mildly annoying direction of arriving waaayy too early, but this candidate is late.

How late can the candidate be before you (a) hold it against him/her, and (b) cancel the interview altogether?

I consider lateness of more than a couple minutes very notable. And at 10 minutes, there better be a profuse apology so it doesn’t seem like typical behavior for the candidate. If the person isn’t there 15 minutes after the scheduled time, I’m likely to cancel the interview entirely. (If the person calls within the first 10 minutes to explain and has a reasonable excuse, I will cut them some slack, but not a huge amount.)

Where do you stand?

{ 53 comments… read them below }

  1. Joselle

    Barring some unforeseen traffic catastrophe (bus blew up…be there in 10) or an emergency that causes an interview to be rescheduled (a different case, I suppose, and hopefully the interviewer would understand), lateness is unacceptable. The interviewee should be 10 minutes early. If they can't get it together to at least be on time, I would seriously question their seriousness or sobriety! This is job search 101. Be on time!

    If they were just a little late and, as you write, apologize profusely and have a legit reason, I'd let it go if the interview went wonderfully. But if they don't offer an explanation or apology, bye bye.

  2. Lisa

    I once had to be 45 mins late to an interview because the train I got on had mechanical problems and I had to wait almost an hour for the next train. Had it been on time, I would have been 45 mins early, which I prefer so that I can grab some coffee, go over notes about the company and relax.
    I called the firm right away, and let them know all the details. I maintained my cool throughout the whole ordeal and the interview went very well. I got the internship in the end.
    I think if I were the manager, I would be very concerned about lateness to an interview. What would stop the person from being late to work if they don't see the interview as being that important? However, circumstances do arrive that cannot be foreseen. These can happen on the interview date as easily as during employment. If these roadblocks are dealt with grace and professionalism, I think that can speak volumes to the kind of potential employee they will be.

  3. Anonymous

    Under five minutes, I make a mental note, but move on. 5 – 10 minutes, I ask if the interviewee had trouble finding our office (give them the opportunity to be profusely apologetic). At 10 minutes, I call them and see what's up (usually get voicemail). At 15, they're probably not getting the job, but if my schedule permits, I'll still see them. Barring a huge catastrophe, I have no patience for someone who can't be on time.

  4. Anonymous

    I interviewed a candidate earlier today who was just over 20 minutes late. Lateness makes me uneasy about the general professionalism of a candidate; will she be just as blase about the job itself? There were other issues with the interview, but time constraints alone forced us to end it slightly earlier than we otherwise would have.

    With cell phones being utterly ubiquitous, a phone call the moment a candidate realizes she will be late is necessary at a minimum (our candidate did not call). That, and an apology, can mitigate the situation if she truly had no control over the situation. Otherwise, it just looks very sloppy.

  5. Anonymous

    PS (same anon as above) More than 10 minutes early is inappropriate – just as bad as being 10 minutes late in my book. I've actually asked candidates to leave and come back (when they're more than 20 minutes early). It shows a lack of well, a clue. Busy yourself at the coffee shop next door (I'm in a very urban environment).

  6. humanresourcespufnstuf

    I view lateness as disrespectful to my time. If it's important you'll be there. If you are running late have the courtesy to call and let me know.

  7. ExecSearchPro

    I have only had one candidate ever show up to an interview with a client late. This was a Senior Manager at a Big 4 firm interviewing for a Tax Director position. She called to give the CFO a heads up that she was running late and the CFO didn't bat an eye. She had worked in public accounting as well and understood the demands of the job and that sometimes meetings go late. She was 30 minutes late and she was offered the position! I also agree with the comments on being annoyingly early. I can't stand it when candidates are any more than 10 minutes early!

  8. Anonymous

    Occasionally a candidate will be late in calling me for a phone interview. The most recent one appeared to be a misunderstanding (the candidate was told that I would call her) but after 10 minutes of waiting, I emailed the recruiter to find out what was going on. I got profuse apologies, and he said it was definitely his fault, not the candidate's. The candidate called me within a minute or two.

    So, if it's truly his fault, do I ever use that recruiter again?

  9. Erica

    I would expect a phone call if someone will be more than 5 minutes late. For those of you who hold it against candidates that show up too early, keep in mind that many employers have ridiculously long applications they ask you to fill out upon arrival, and they are not always willing/able to email them in advance. I recently interviewed for a finance position at a major national cable network and their application was over 10 pages long!

    I typically show up 15-20 minutes early prepared to fill out an application (unless I've done it in advance), and am perfectly willing to wait until the scheduled time if I finish early. Try to cut early-arrivals some slack. Their intentions may be good.

  10. nuqotw

    I think even one minute is bad but that was when I was at a place with very predictable public transportation which made punctuality a virtual certainty.

    As long as it's <5 minutes I think it's okay to overlook it if the candidate apologizes sincerely. More than five minutes, especially if it affects my schedule (like I have a meeting scheduled promptly after the interview – can I be late to my meeting?) is very annoying.

  11. Just Another HR Lady

    Totally depends on the circumstances, but if it's more than 15 minutes with no reasonable explanation, I cancel. Typically when I'm interviewing my day is booked solid. I don't mind running behind if it's because I've met some awesome candidates and we're having good discussion, but I do mind running late because candidates are late for no good reason.

    For those candidates out there who arrive late for an interview, why in the world would you want to start out your interview with a negative mark against you before you even open your mouth? We will assume that if you can't even make it to an appointment on time, you'll probably have difficulty with work schedules as well. Plan your transportation well ahead of time, and have a backup plan. And if unforeseen circumstances take over, call as soon as you know you're going to be late, not after you're late.

    I wouldn't hold arriving early against someone, although I do have our receptionist advise them that I will be out to collect them at the interview time (i.e. not early), so if they wish to wait around, it's up to them.

  12. Anonymous

    I completely agree AAM.

    Unless there is a reasonable excuse, that level of lateness says 'my time is more important than your time' and it completely inconsiderate and rude.

  13. Charles

    I have NEVER been late to an interview.

    Living in the NJ Suburbs and interviewing in NYC I often catch a train an extra hour earlier than I would to be there. During non-rush hour the trains run just once an hour. But I do this just in case NJ Transit screws up; meaning the train is late or cancelled. (not an uncommon event)

    This extra hour means that I then have to scout out a coffee shop or someplace to wait which adds another five bucks to an interview that already has me in the hole over 25 dollars (parking, train fare and subway fares). Bring me back for a total of three interviews and I have now spent close to 90 bucks; (so you damned well better call me if I do not get the job!)

    Because, as Erica has already pointed out, I will arrive a little early (but no more than 15 minutes) to fill out "the paperwork." I always apologize for arriving early and explain to the receptionist why. So, yea, cut me some slack on that, will ya?

    There have been other times when I arrive "on time" only to find that it will take me another 15 minutes to fill out the paperwork. This is supposed to be accomplished while balancing a clipboard on my lap because there are no tables or other flat surfaces to write on. The lighting in many a reception area of companies is "home-like," by which I mean the lighting is very dim and not the best for those of us that need to wear glasses to read and write under.

    During this filling-out-the-paperwork time the interviewer keeps coming out to see if I have "finished yet?" with a tone that indicates annoyance on their part at my being "slow."

    So, yea, as a job seeker, I go through a lot to be there on time; planning ahead for commuting "mishaps," your organization's "paperwork" and inadequate reading/writing area.

    Not that there are many of you; But for those of you who are willing to overlook someone who is late with or without an excuse I say: "Am I now in the running with another job candidate who cannot show up on time?"

    jeesh, No wonder I just can't win!

  14. Surya

    A bit Asian perspective here:

    I have had candidates come late, not just for face to face meetings, but also for video conferences. I would expect the candidate to let me know if he or she is going to be late. They have my mobile number, and they can call or text me.

    Valid excuses are traffic delays, death, accident or major sickness in the family and being sick oneself.

    And on coming early – We usually have our cafeteria connected to the reception, so I would tell them to help themselves to the coffee / tea / soft drinks and wait for me.

  15. Rebecca

    I will forgive up to 5 minutes of lateness with no phone call.

    At the 5 minute and 1 second mark, if I haven't received a phone call with an apology and a damn good excuse, they are officially Late To The Interview and Wasting My Time, which will not reflect well on their candidacy.

    At the 15 minute mark with no call, they're not getting the job, but I'll probably talk to to them anyway, mainly out of curiosity to see what kind of jerk thinks they can be 15 minutes late to an interview and still get a job.

  16. Vicki

    I am with Joselle. This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. If you cannot make it to an interview on time, why should I believe you will ever make it to work on time?? An interview is a time to make the BEST impression that you can make. Being late is not a step in the right direction. I would MUCH rather a candidate be, as you said "annoyingly early" than 1 minute late. I have turned candidates away for being late – and will do it again I am sure.

    Tip of the day – DON'T BE LATE FOR AN INTERVIEW.

  17. cherylb

    I'm in the 15 minutes camp. 15 minutes late and I'm "so over you." Usually I'm working with a committee though, and they may be more forgiving.

    However, in an EXTREME situation, such as the one Lisa describes, with the train, I would reschedule, BUT expect to be called and told about the situation.

    I myself have always arrived 15 minutes before an interview. Good to learn the new "normal" is 5.

  18. Kathy

    Erica and Charles,

    YES, yes to arriving early because there is often a horribly long and detailed form to fill out (sometimes the same damn one you filled out online!).

    And it is terribly awkward and uncomfortable doing these in the office under the gun, and are hard to do in an efficient and detailed way. We should be commended, not condemned, for coming in a little more than 10 minutes early (although 20 is too much). Save the real annoyance for people who come late.

    I wish all you wonderful HR bloggers out there would recommend to employers that they send these to candidates before the interview to avoid the wasting of time, and to get a decent product from us rather than a rushed, often incomplete one. I know I hate being blindsided by these forms in interviews. At least give us a heads up. There has to be a better way of getting the paperwork done.

    I have learned the hard way to bring a copy of the online application or a cheat sheet with names, addresses, emails and phone numbers of all past employers, references, etc. (as if I am going to be able remember all that stuff!). Your resume will not be enough.

  19. Kerry

    If my candidates are arriving early because they think there's a form to fill out, then I've screwed up. It's my job to make sure they know EXACTLY what to expect when they arrive. I tell them what will happen when, who they'll be meeting with. I also never ever make people fill out forms onsite. As a candidate, there's nothing more annoying than having to fill out a ten-page form going back to 1989 when you're nervously waiting for the big interview to start. Why do companies do that? Either email it to them in advance or have them take it home and send it back after. Sheesh.

    I always notice whether they're late, but how much I'll hold it against them depends on the reason. Winter in Wisconsin can include some impressive storms, so being late in the middle of a blizzard is different than being late in July.

    I once had one who was an hour and 45 minutes late. He blamed "traffic," which in Milwaukee is ridiculous, because if we ever had a traffic jam THAT bad it would have made the front page of the paper. The hiring manager stayed until 6:45pm doing other work waiting for him, and the guy arrived just as he was packing up to go home. The hiring manager interviewed him anyway and LOVED him. He insisted on hiring him, over my objections. The guy turned out to be that flaky and inconsiderate all along…we had to fire him a couple of months later.

  20. Anonymous

    Kathy – I couldn't agree more. I tell candidates when I schedule them that there is no need to show up more than five minutes early for the interview. I tell them that there are no forms that need to be filled out and that our reception area isn't all that big. If they don't get the hint and still insist on showing up 35 minutes early (this has happened more than once recently), I have our receptionist suggest strongly they tour the neighborhood (large city) for a bit since I won't be seeing them until our agreed upon time. If they still don't get the hint (happens more frequently than you'd think), they're out of the running. Why? I don't hire "clueless."

    My advice for candidates: ask the recruiter when you're scheduling the appointment if there will be paperwork to fill out ahead of time. Then budget time (if there is) or show up 5 minutes early. It's never appropriate to show up more than 10 minutes early if you've done your homework. You don't look eager and responsible…you look like you got the time wrong or are desperate.

  21. Amy

    Our office is located in the downtown area of a fairly large city. Some applicants not familiar with downtown are late because of parking issues or taking public transportation which they're unfamiliar with. In these cases, I'll cut them some slack, assuming they're appropriately apologetic.

  22. Melina

    I have no problem with people arriving early. If I am not ready for them, they can just wait in reception.

    As for late, 10-15 is OK if they call. More than that without a valid reason and they are most likely not going to be hired based on reliability and communication.

    I had one candidate who called 30 min into his scheduled time to say he couldn't find our suite- that it didn't exist. (He had the right address) The funny thing is that we are the only tenant in the building and there are multiple doors. Needless to say, he didn't get another interview.

  23. Anonymous

    Working in NYC, its not uncommon for subways to shut down or be seriously delayed. Before an interview, I try to do a test run of how long it will take to get to my potential employer so I can add on a little incase the day of the trans are on the fritz. The one time I did not do this, of course the train was shut down, and I had to frantically scramble for a taxi and was still going to be late. I agree with most of the commenters – always, always call if you are going to be late. My interview went well, because I was on top of the situation and apologized profusely. It's absolutely true – things do come up – but in this day and age of cell phones, its inexcusible not to call if you are going to be late.

  24. Revanche

    I was mortified to be 1.5 minutes late to an interview once. I'd scheduled myself to be there 30 minutes early, but I missed the one exit for miles off the freeway and had to navigate through some really hairy intersections to find the place. I'm still not sure if that interviewer actually forgave me for it, but from my POV, it was absolutely awful. I'm always 15 minutes early but try to stay out of their hair for at least ten of those minutes. I know everyone's busy and it drove me nuts to have to stop working 15-30 minutes early to entertain a candidate.

  25. Justin

    I'm not sure why showing up more than 10 minutes early is such a big deal. I don't see why anyone would have to stop working to entertain the candidate. If they want to sit in the lobby/reception area for 30 minutes, I don't see what the big deal is. More than 30 minutes might be a bit strange, but I don't understand why it would be such a grievous offense to be 15-30 minutes early. These candidates are probably trying to be on the bestest of best behavior.

  26. Revanche

    @Justin: Didn't mean to leave the impression that I ever faulted the candidate – the hiring manager just never told them to show up 5-10 mins before. I had to entertain them because we had no reception area, so they had to sit awkwardly next to my desk in the front office while I worked. I felt it was rude to ignore them, or to send them off on a tour of the area [we had a very small work site that wasn't at all welcoming to visitors] and the boss insisted that I entertain them. Didn't hold it again the candidates, it wasn't their fault.

  27. bawigga

    To flip the tables a bit, as we speak I'm waiting for my third round interview call with a company. Every call I've had with this company is late. The first was a no call/no message. The HR rep said they got busy and rescheduled for the next day. That time they called on time. The second round was half an hour late calling due to timezone differences. Now I'm on the third round call and they are exactly 1 hour past call time. The HR rep is in EST, interviewers are in MST and I'm in CST. This is a very reputable company in my industry, but this is starting to throw up some red flags for me.

    Part of me wants to think that these are busy people who have to take time out of their busy schedules to interview potential candidates, but at the same time, this could be a reflection of how meetings and punctuality is all the time at this place.

    1. Anonymous

      Alison, would you mind posting the link? Thanks! I think I can count on one hand the number of my interviewers that have been on time.

  28. Anonymous

    I had a huge interview this past Friday. I studied everything about the company there is to know. I got up early the next morning, got dressed and left the house 2 hours early (interview was 30 min away). Nevertheless, my stupid GPS malfunctioned and I was completely lost. I ended up being 30 min late! I called in advanced and apologized. The interview went well, but I felt so bad because I have never been late for an interview. I myself hate when people are late. I am extremely upset because I wanted that job. Is there any chance they will call me? Time will tell.

      1. DS

        I had an interview yesterday and because of my stupid GPS settings avoided all freeways and I was 40 min late. Interview went well but not as they planned. I am suspicious that arriving late will definitely affect their decision.

  29. hdanie

    I feel so terrible! I had a second phone interview for a position that I have been really excited about for four months! I did tons of research last night and wrote out several pages of notes to use during the call. The hiring manager was calling me at 9am so I arranged all my notes on my coffeetable and flipped open my cell phone around 8:45am so I could take her call on speaker when she called. 9am came and went and no call. At about 9:07 I closed my phone and immediately it beeped and said I had one new voicemail! I was mortified that the call didn't ring through to my phone while it was flipped open. I called her back at 9:08am and I think the interview went well (I'm VERY qualified for the position) – but is there any recovering from being eight minutes late? I was apologetic and tried to explain what happened but felt like it just sounded like a giant excuse! :(

  30. Ask a Manager

    hdanie, it sounds like you handled it exactly right, by assuring her you were mortified, it was technical error, etc. If you wanted to, you could apologize again in your thank-you email, but I don't think you need to!

  31. Anonymous

    So I was extremely excited about interviewing with a state agency for a caseworker intern position(paid) and ended up being 15 min. late. I'd been practicing questions and answers for a week and a half before the interview. I was so distraught about being late. It would have normally taken me 10-15 min. to get to the interview location but for some reason in Pittsburgh, Pa. they never tell you when they will be doing construction. I turned around 3 times trying to find alternate routes to get to my interview. I called and spoke with the interviewer, she told me to come as soon as possible but when I got there she was unavailable but I interviewed with someone else from the training department.

    Don't know if I got the internship yet.

  32. JdiennoPSU

    So I had a very bad time yesterday. I was flown down to interview with a Fortune 500 company for an intern position. I was heavily recruited for this position and have been studying up on the company for weeks.
    All I needed to do was meet with the VPs to make sure i had the right personality for the company and the position would have been mine.

    Anyway I land in Texas at 10 PM and go to my hotel where I have a bite to eat. I make sure I am in bed by midnight and have my phone alarm set for 5:30 and a wake up call scheduled for 5:30 as well. When I interview I like to wake up early, go for a run, and give myself ample time to get prepared and do some last minute studying. I usually get to interviews 30 minutes early and either wait outside or find a place to go until about 10 minutes before the interview. That is when I finally go into the building.

    So my nightmare: My phone died and the hotel never gave me my wake up call. I wake up at 8:25 just five minutes before my interview is scheduled to begin. I immediately call my recruiter and let him know what happened and he phones on to headquarters to let them know I will be late. I rush to get ready (I nicked myself pretty bad shaving to it bled forever) and go downstairs to check out of the hotel. Luckily I was able to get the hotel to comp my night so the company did not have to pay it.

    Anyway I got to the interview about an hour late after everything was done. Luckily I was able to meet with the three out of the four VPs though they had to reschedule my flight home as well as their schedules to meet with me.

    The interviews went great and i could tell that the VPs knew I was one of the best candidates for this position. (I wasn't interviewing against anyone for this position I was interviewing against myself) The one VP came in with a clock and told me he thought that I needed this more then him. By the end of meeting with him he told me that he thought I would be great for the position and he would give me his thumbs up for the position.

    The other two interviews also went well. Unfortunately I was able to meet with one of the VPs.

    I pretty much know that I gave up the position when I was late but I can only hope that I WOWed them enough in the interviews to make them overlook my carelessness. I have even thought about asking my previous employer (who is a chief of surgery at a world renown hospital) to write them an email stating what kind of a worker I am but in the end decided it would just hurt me by bringing it back up. This position would be a dream job for me and I cant stop beating myself up for how stupid I was. I knew flying down that the position was mine and then I had to go screw it up. Since this is a very high stressful position I hope that if anything they can see how well I handle stress even if it is self induced.

    Sorry for my ranting and please keep your fingers crossed I should find out on monday (two days from now)

  33. Anonymous

    If you are driving to an interview and you have never been to the building or that part of time you should never let your interview be the first time you go to the building. If I am interviewing in an unfamiliar part of time I always go a day or two before to make sure I can find the building and a proper route.

    As a college student the first internship I interviwed for was a late situation because I had never been to that part of town and the building they were in was tricky to find. I was 15 minutes late but as soon as I realized I was going to be late and could not find the place I called. The HR rep was nice enough to actually guide me over the phone until I reached their parking lot, but still. I will never ever make that mistake again if I can help and all subsequent job interviews I have gone the driven the route the day before and made sure I could locate the office building and suite.

  34. JdiennoPSU

    Just wanted to say I some how miraculously got the job. The recruiter told me that being late almost worked in my favor because the VPs were trying to stare me down and I wouldn't let them. The fact I took responsibility for my actions and then moved on showed them what kind of a man I am. I would however never recommend this to anyone as I just got plain lucky. That and I was interviewing against myself and no one else. Thanks for all the positive wishes I received!!!

  35. Andrew

    I live and work in NYC. Here, we take the subway most of the time. So just about every interviewee will be underground – and out of mobile phone range – for 30-45 minutes before the interview.

    This presents a problem, both to the interviewer and the interviewee:

    - Train delays happen. Not nearly as often as you'd think if you believed everyone that said they were late because of the train. But they do happen.

    - So as an interviewer, I would be crazy to off-handedly dismiss a candidate for being late – even substantially late – simply because they passed the arbitrary "15-minute-and-one-second" barrier.

    In other words, I need context. I need a sincere apology and a great explanation. Most importantly, I need to know that you were concerned about my time (and not just my opinion about you). I also need to be impressed with your ability to handle stress as well as an overall good sense of your professionalism (from your resume, phone presence, etc.). How someone handles being late can tell you a lot about them. Everyone is late sometimes, even to important events.

    Oh, and one more thing:
    - 5 mins early is great
    - 10 minutes early is just fine
    - 15 minutes is an imposition
    - 20 minutes is a really bad sign

    If you want to be really early to an interview so that you have some fudging room in case something goes wrong, that's fantastic! I'd even go so far as to call it "ideal". But get there, find the place, make sure it's correct…. and do something else until 5-10 mins before hand. Go for a walk, sit in your car, find a coffee shop, quit smoking… but don't impose on my time. I scheduled you for a reason.

  36. Sean

    Today I was unfortunately late for an interview due to a burst gas main and a road closure. I have never once been late for an interview as I always arrive 10 – 15 mins early. Today I left 2 hours extra on my travel time to ensure I would be there with plenty of time to spare.

    I called 25 minutes before the interview to say that I was stuck in traffic and may well be late and to apologise if I am.

    The interview itself went very well but I am unsure whether my lateness will mean I will be written off.

    Some people have commented on here saying that people who are late are ‘jerks’ who don’t have respect and waste peoples time, but sometimes even with the best intentions things can go wrong and candidates like myself who have never once been late for work in 8 years can be overlooked.

    I just hope it didn’t ruin my chances and my phone call helped my cause in some way…

  37. becca

    I was late for an interview and I was mortified. But here are the circumstances it was on an base, and so there’s no scouting out before. I actually got through the base with more than 20 minutes to spare, but my gps literally stopped at the street. There was no building numbers and when I would ask people would say I don’t know.

    I actually though called 10 minutes before I was suppose to arrive, but couldn’t get ahold of anyone. In my favor when I finally found it and was I guess 5 to 10 minutes late. The sec mentioned that she recalls a phone call. And I said yes it was me. So at least they know that I actually called BEFORE my interview, for better directions.

  38. Jazsmin

    I was 25 min late to an interview today, I knew i would not get the job,but it was worth a shot. I truly got lost and since this job was important to me i sped the whole way there expecting to arrive early. Well the road i needed to be on did not have a sign i could see on the opposite side. Apologetic yes, very upsetting.

  39. Cody C

    I was late to an interview once because the company I was interviewing with had two facilities and I had only ever been to one so I went to it – ten minutes early- and then was told by a very helpful lady that I was supposed to be at the other building! Speeding got me there 1 minute late after taking the wrong exit and having to sprint across a vacant lot… Didn’t get the job however.

  40. Kara

    I interviewed for an awesome job at my dream company the other day…and I was late! I have been late to work maybe three times in the last year, each involving those dreaded events everyone prays will never happen on their way to work (locked keys in car, flat tire, pulled over by a cop). I had never been late for an interview before this.

    During the phone interview the day before, the recruiter had said she would send me an employment application and asked me to either fill it out and bring it with me to the interview or email it back to her. I filled it out, printed it off and signed it. I was well prepared for the interview and had alotted plenty of time to arrive at my interview about 20 minutes early so that I could have a quick chat with a friend who works for the company before hand.

    Fifteen minutes before the interview I was STILL in traffic. I could see the office building from where I sat on the roadway but traffic was moving very slowly. I actually sat at one red light for over ten minutes. About five minutes before the interview I realized to my dismay that I wasn’t going to make it in time. I called the recruiter to let her know I would be a few minutes late and that I was terribly sorry. She said it wasn’t a big deal and that traffic on that particular road was pretty bad that time of day. She then asked if I would need her to print off the application and if I still needed to fill it out (since I hadn’t emailed it to her). I told her I had it with me and that it was filled out. I took this as her gauging to see if I was not only late but an unorganized person as well.

    As we walked into the confrence room she made mention of the trafific again, since we could see it from the office windows. I appologized again and said I had no idea it would be that bad.
    The rest of the interview went very well, and afterwards she asked the hiring manager and another lawyer to come and inverview me.

    I think there were a few saving graces here:
    1. I was only a couple of minutes late.
    2. I called before I was late to let the recruiter know what the issue was.
    3. The traffic was actually really bad and it was apparent just by looking at it.
    4. I was prepared in every other way, so being slightly late did not reflect in such a large capacity on my ability to come to work prepared each day. And I don’t think it came off as something that I do on a regular basis.
    5. I am a very strong candidate for the position and had two very successful phone interviews prior to this.
    This being said, I would never, ever be in that situation again. In retrospect, I know there is a Starbucks nearby, so I should have left an hour before I needed to and just hung out at the coffee shop for a while.
    I can’t imagine being any later than I was. I don’t think there would be any redemption after being more than ten minutes late. And not calling is absoulutely not an option.

  41. Loza

    Well I have just gone to an interview today at 14:00. Set off to get there half an hour early and realised I had left my work pass behind (it is an internal job but a different office). So I quickly turnaround, head home grab my pass and I am now scheduled to get there with 15 mins early. When… I receive a call, it’s my buddy who works in this new office. “Hello mate, it’s Pete, aren’t you supposed to be here???” he says. “No, I’m scheduled for 14:00, it wasn’t 13:30 was it???”. He then passed me over to the guy who was supposed to interview me and I had gotten the time wrong by an entire hour.

    I screwed it up big time. The interview went very well in parts but I also had a couple of weak moments, so I expect that where I would have gotten the benefit of the doubt, my giant screw up will mean I won’t.

    I’ll let you know if it turns up trumps but I expect it won’t! At least the hard preparation I had put in will help on other job applications and interviews… I have another interview externally, which is what had confused me on the times. So annoyed with myself though :-( There is no excuse for being late in my opinion but honestly if I was an employer I would be understanding if someone had obviously prepared hard and it was beyond their control (my case was in my control though!).

  42. A disapointed candidate

    I had an interview this morning. I am a newcomer in the city so I am not familiar with the area yet. So I planned my travel on Google Maps. When I went out from the subway station, I realized that Google was wrong: the road I had to take was a bridge ABOVE the road where I was. I called the company to apologize because I knew I was about to be late. I walked during 15 minutes to find a way to reach this bridge! When I arrived at the company, I was 25 minutes late. The receptionist was pretty rude. She didn’t pay attention to my excuse and told me that I had few chances to be interviewed today. The manager accepted to meet me after an other candidate who was on time. But he looked pretty upset. He didn’t even shake my hand when we met. He did it with the other candidate… I was so embarrassed about being late that my interview went bad. I am sure I was a valuable candidate for this position but I had lost all my self-confidence. I am 90% sure that I haven’t got the job. So DON’T TRUST GOOGLE MAPS!

    1. Anonymous

      A similar scenario happened to me last Friday. I was new at the city, my flight arrived on time however the traffic and the GPS killed me!…What makes my situation worse is the fact that I NEVER called cause i ran out of airtime. However I think the interview went okay cause it the whole drama never let me down not even once. I’m still waiting for the response *crossing fingers*

  43. late

    If you’re on time, you’re late, if you’re late, don’t bother showing up.

    Always show up at least 10 minutes early, depending on the type of job.

  44. Zhan Zhan

    I had an interview about 30 minutes ago; it was a rescheduled interview for today. The gentleman (42 years) in question was a uni graduate, ex-project manager, etc., etc., etc. The initial interview was set for yesterday at 9:00 am (the entire management staff waited to meet him). After about 30 minutes, we got on with our business. The gentleman called late in the afternoon to say he was too sick to call; anyway, we allowed him to try again today at 8:30 am and he was in perfect health, so I basically wished him luck and shook his hand.

  45. Job Seeker

    I just had an interview today. It was the fourth interview that I have had with this company. Today’s interview included meeting some additional people at the office informally and then going out to lunch. The first two interviews were by phone and video and the 3rd and 4th were in person. I arrived a few minutes early the first time I went to the office. While there, some of my interviewers told me about an exit with a shortcut that is sometimes open and sometimes closed depending on the time of the day and the status of road construction. When I was headed there today, I saw that the shortcut exit was open, so I got off the highway to take that exit, but then realized the road was blocked where I was supposed to make a left turn, so I was forced to go right, take a detour, and stop at a really long traffic light before I was headed back in the right direction. Instead of being around 4-5 minutes early as I had hoped, I arrived EXACTLY on time and felt quite rushed. The receptionist was busy talking with some other people when I arrived, so she was not able to call the interviewer until 2-3 minutes after the scheduled interview time to say that I was there. It was then another 5-6 minutes until anyone came to the lobby to greet me. I explained the confusion with the exit and detour to the receptionist and the interviewers and people were very understanding and said that was a common mistake made by visitors to the office. For the most part, I thought the lunch interview itself went really well.

    Based on other posts, I would like to think that this does not put me out of the running for the position, especially since I still arrived on time. Finally, the fact that nobody was ready for me for several minutes after I arrived made my arrival time less conspicuous. Also, prior posts on this site by managers seem to overlook being less than 5 minutes late and/or not being early, provided there is an apology/explanation.

    Would love to hear what other people think.

  46. Dominic

    A candidate is going on 18 minutes late for an interview that he already rescheduled.
    He is graduating from college tonight, and if he ever shows up I will be welcoming him into the real world by sending him home before walking past reception.
    It is unfortunate, but a lesson that he will never forget.
    - dom

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