Interviews: What to do when it all goes wrong

12 December 2017

Despite your best efforts, things can go wrong when it comes to interview time. We are all human, and mistakes are easily made. We’re not talking about the actual interview going wrong – but more about getting to the interview in the first place!

All too often, if you’re late or you miss an interview, it can mean the end of your application for that job; but not always. Depending on how you handle the situation, it might still be salvageable.

So, what do you do if you’re…

Running late

If your lateness is due to poor timekeeping, or not knowing your route, then this will set a really bad impression. However, people are usually understanding and if the motorway is closed due to a crash, or you’ve been held up on public transport, then these reasons are plausible.

The minute you know you’re going to be late, phone up and let your interviewer know. Don’t email – a phone call shows that your apology is sincere. Explain your issue, give a revised ETA and apologise!

Having a family emergency

Call as soon as you know and give appropriate details of the situation. People do understand if you are being sincere and will be sympathetic to your situation.

Stuck at work

This happens more often than you would realise, particularly if you are trying to get away for an early evening interview, or maybe taking a longer lunch break. Sometimes you just can’t get away without sending that email!

Call and apologise and explain that you are helping your clients / customers. The main thing to convey is that you are professional and conscious which is why you can’t attend. You are treating clients the way the interviewer will want their clients to be treated which is a good sign.

Communication and sincerity is the best approach! Definitely don’t do any of the below:

Don’t lie:

You can change your mind about a job, but tell the truth. It’s not fair to waste other people’s time.

Don’t disappear:

If you can’t be reached, that will result in you losing the opportunity altogether.

Don’t give up:

Life happens – just because something has gone wrong, it doesn’t mean it has to be over. Be open and honest and don’t let the opportunity slip through your fingers!

We hope that you found the above tips useful. For more tips from our team from CV writing to interview coaching, contact MarkJames Search on 0118 4670671 or email

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