Even if you've never arrived late to an interview, there is a chance that it may eventually occur. This article provide valuable tips for how to overcome the situation and get back on track.

Arriving late can damage the hiring manger’s impression of you. No matter how much you prepare for an interview, it can be hard to bounce back from arriving late. However, you can do a few things to recover and bring the interviewer back into your favor. 

Call in Advance  

If you’re detained and won’t arrive on time, make sure you call in advance to inform the interviewer that you won’t arrive on time. Avoid making excuses at this point. Get in touch with your contact via phone or other means of communication like an email and be sure to give an ETA. Showing up late without a heads up will likely eliminate you from being considered for the position. This is one of those scenarios where it’s not what happens (being late), but rather how you handle it that matters more!

Sincerely Apologize 

If you were able to reschedule, acknowledge your mistake and express your regrets for disrupting their day. Be sincere with your apology, but don’t overdo it. Know how to strike a balance between saying too much and too little. Even if you were only a few minutes late, the least you can do is offer a sincere apology for making them wait. Things happen and people understand, so acknowledge, apologize and move on.

Have an Excellent Reason

It’s unlikely that the hiring manager will ask why you’re running late, but you should offer a reason. Regular traffic issues don’t count as valid excuses, unless it was an uncommon major disruption, such as unexpected road closures or major accidents. The key is to provide a reason showing that your late arrival was out of your control. Viable reasons are family emergencies and major transportation failures. 

Take an Extra Minute to Compose Yourself

Running late for your interview can be stressful and this automatically puts you at a disadvantage. Instead of going into the interview frazzled, take a few moments to pull yourself together. Find something you can do within a minute to become calm and composed. Don’t dwell on negative inner-voices. It is important that you interview well. Remember, you can still win here! We’ve seen countless candidates get offers after being late or encountering other mishaps. They just handled it well by taking ownership and not letting it derail the interview.  

Send a ‘Thank You’ Letter 

Sending a ‘thank you’ letter should be on your to-do list, but showing up late is an additional reason you should send one post interview. You can use the opportunity to express your gratitude for the second chance. 

Click here to view five example thank you notes!


All hope is not lost, if you are late for an interview! You still have a chance, if you use the tips above and interview well. Regardless of how much you plan and prepare, being late to an interview may still occur. So take time to consider how you intend to recover and prepare in advance.