Job search website Simply Hired spoke to hundreds of hiring managers to find out what they like to see from potential candidates, and what they really don’t. Some of the answers are a given – even the most inexperienced interviewee knows potential employers don’t want you to give the wrong answers to important questions (77%), make obvious spelling mistakes in your cover letter (86%), or bad-mouth your former boss (88%).
But their number one gripe? Tardiness. Yes, three quarters of the managers interviewed will be pleased if you turn up early, while 93% won’t be impressed if you’re not in the meeting room at the designated interview time.
This isn’t surprising in the slightest, says Dale Williams, Managing Director of Yolk Recruitment: “Poor timekeeping can tell employers a lot about the individual’s personality and work ethic. No matter how well you perform in the interview, being late for a scheduled appointment indicates the individual is unreliable and disorganised. This makes the interviewer feel the candidate isn’t taking the opportunity seriously and perhaps isn’t committed to the role.”
What To Do If You're Delayed...
If you’re running behind schedule, Williams says it’s not too late to turn things around – you just have to play it right. “We understand some candidates with the best intentions find themselves in circumstances beyond their control. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic and give up on the interview completely.”
He recommends giving your potential employer a quick call – the more notice you give, the better. Apologise to the interviewer, of course, but the next step is crucial to making sure you keep them sweet: “As most interviewers will be on a tight schedule, offer to reschedule the interview to a time that suits them. Let them know how sorry you are, but don’t ramble or give too many excuses.”
Regroup & Prepare
On the off-chance you manage to make it to the interview, albeit a little behind schedule, the job-hunting experts at Zip Recruiter say one of the key things to remember is to get your game face back on. “As frazzled as you might feel about being late, try to take a moment to regroup, gather your thoughts and regain your calm before meeting the interviewer,” they advise.
Walking into a meeting room late after a disastrous lead up to the interview is going to make anyone flustered, but a few deep breaths and forward planning of what you’re going to say as soon as you walk into the room will help significantly. Remember: don’t ramble, don’t give too many excuses – just apologise and move on.
Ways To Always Impress
As for how to avoid the whole situation entirely – especially if you’re someone who already has a bit of trouble with time management – Williams says the key is in the preparation. “We recommend planning the route ahead of time and even practicing the route if you’re unsure of the area. Allow yourself plenty of extra time on the day of the interview to factor in time for potential delays. On the morning of the interview, check for likely delays such as traffic or public transport cancellations.”
And if you really want to impress an interviewer you can do much more than turn up early (although 75% found that a desirable quality in a candidate). Leave your potential employer wanting that second meeting by taking along a sample of your work (viewed favourable by 83% of hiring managers) or taking the time to follow up on your application with a quick phone call or follow-up email (each appreciated by 55%).
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