Job hunting tip #3

Here are some further thoughts on Rowan Manahan’s Definitive Job-Hunt:

If you’ve never been a recruiter or an interviewer, you haven’t experienced the irritation of having a candidate show up late or not show up at all. Here are some of the reasons I’ve heard (I’m being polite by not calling them “excuses”):

  • The train was delayed
  • I couldn’t find a parking space
  • I got lost
  • Your company has so many buildings in this town, I went to the wrong one
  • The agency told me it was tomorrow

Acceptable reasons, perhaps, if you were late for a date (especially the last one!). It’s annoying, however, when a candidate trots out excuses (oops, I forgot to be polite) on top of being late.

So here’s the thing:

If you are late for a job interview, you had better be carrying one of your limbs in a bucket of ice.

“But any of those things you list above could happen,” I can imagine someone protesting.

And the protester would be right. However, the protester doesn’t have the imagination to take that thought to the next stage. If any of those things could happen, mitigate the risk by planning to be early for the interview. Here are some tips.

  • Don’t take the agency’s word on the interview details, get a contact e-mail address and send a courtesy note thanking the interviewing company for the opportunity and confirming the details
  • Get a contact phone number, so if you do end up carrying a limb in a bucket of ice, you can at least call the interviewing company and let them know
  • Find out how to get there (there are plenty of websites that give directions)
  • Find out how long it takes to get there, then double the travelling time (that’s right, I said double)
  • On top of doubling your travelling time, aim to arrive at least 30 minutes early
  • If you arrive with lots of time on your hands, read a book, go for a walk, visit the shops…
  • If you arrive early, don’t present yourself at reception more than 15 minutes before the interview time (read a book, etc)

OK, so our protester wants to know what to say if he does arrive late. Here are some examples:

  • You wouldn’t happen to have a towel and a bucket of ice?
  • According to the Theory of Relativity…
  • I’m terribly sorry. There is no excuse for being late.

The last example shows you are willing to accept responsibility for the situation and that you respect your hosts enough not to foist an excuse on them.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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