I’m sure we’ve all had some version of the same nightmare: you wake up disastrously late for an important meeting but, try as you will, you simply cannot get your legs moving fast enough to get you there on time. I must have had dozens of these dreams while I was a nervous student around exam time. Fortunately, as an adult, these types of fear-inducing events happen with far less frequency. Having said that, there are few meetings that are as crucial to your future prosperity as a job interview, which can certainly leave the best of us feeling anxious. So, it should stand to reason that all efforts are made to show up prepared and on time.
But, unfortunately, sometimes the universe conspires against you and forces you to unexpectedly and inexplicably miss the interview without providing any advance notice. If this nightmare scenario has befallen you, don’t fret too much. Here are some ways to help you recover.
Before making a breathless and panicked phone call to your interviewer and begging for mercy, take a beat and think of your options. Admittedly, accidentally missing an interview does not reflect well on you so it is critical that you don’t compound the issue by making an emotional and disorganized appeal. Do your best to formulate a game plan, which should certainly include a reasonable explanation for your absence (more on that below). However, you should try and reach out as soon as possible as the longer you wait, the less credible you may sound. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the issue.
Make no mistake about it: this is 100% your fault and you should be unequivocal about taking ownership. Without assigning any blame to outside parties, you need to offer your sincere apologies and assurances that this type of behavior is extremely uncharacteristic. If you come across as trying to deflect responsibility, it will reflect poorly on you and make the interviewer feel even more distrusting. It may certainly hurt your pride to apologize so effusively but it may just be your one saving grace.
Rather than passively hoping the interviewer will forgive you and reschedule the meeting, take pro-active measures to ensure that you can get your foot back in the door. You should follow up all verbal communications with an email (and vice versa). You should also offer additional insights into your candidacy for further proof of your seriousness; for example, I would suggest providing additional references or offering to perform additional interview steps as a means of demonstrating that you are dependable and industrious. Let’s face it, you are now going to have work harder than any other candidate to convince the interviewer that you are the right person for the job.
Work on your excuse
I’m going to be honest: it is extremely hard for a recruiter to forgive a candidate who misses an interview. (Of course, if you endured a personal emergency or something wholly unforeseen, most interviewers should certainly be sympathetic.) In all likelihood, though, you will certainly have an uphill battle on your hands – especially if you have a weak excuse. To wit, if the interviewer demands an explanation, you are going to need to provide something quite compelling to get yourself back in the running. So, if you missed
the interview because you overslept or forgot to put the interview in your calendar, do yourself a favour and come up with something better. This is a rare instance where telling the truth may not be in your best interest.
Look, it may be that you have simply blown this opportunity. Try as you might, the interviewer may no longer be interested in your candidacy. While this is regrettable, it isn’t hard to understand why. In such a case, I would advise you to take your lumps and move on. Don’t lash out at the interviewer and do not take to social media to voice your displeasure. You should retain a strong sense of professional decorum and remain contrite in your communications. You never know when another opportunity may arise so keep all your options open by keeping your emotions in check.