Career Advice

What to Do When You Have a Legitimate Reason for Being Late…

Posted by Janine
min read
Andy Beales Bjc Gd M Mj L0 Unsplash

Like so many people, I use public transport to get to work or interviews, so I know some of the pitfalls that can come from relying on buses or trains to get to work. It can also come as no surprise, that as recruiters, we have heard every excuse in the book, when it comes to people being late or not attending interviews. But what happens when you have a legitimate reason for not being where you’re meant to be? 

Here are my tips: 


Always make sure you know who, when and where. Who are you meeting? What is their name and title within the business? When exactly are you meeting? What time and day? If the time has to be altered; has this been confirmed? Where are you meeting? Do you know the location, the building, the level and the room? If you don’t know the answers to these questions in advance, then you are bound to get lost! Don’t leave it to chance, don’t think “yeah I know the general area and I’ll figure it out from there”, because that is on the road to chaos. Just go to the company website and the address listed in your interview confirmation and search Google maps. Along with that, always plan to be 10 minutes early. You don’t want to rush and arrive at your interview looking like you’ve been in a race with Mo Farah! 


“Oh no, I think I might be late.” The minute that thought pops into your head, call whomever you’re meeting as soon as possible! If you even ‘think’ you might be a bit late, it’s a courtesy to call and let the person know. Even if it turns out that you’re not late, at least you’ve called to let them know in advance and that gives them an idea of how you might approach your work in the future. The worst thing you can do, is turn up acting like nothing has happened, the interviewer will not be happy and might even cancel your interview. People are busy and they don’t have the patience for timewasters. 


Now I may sound like I’m trying to be a bit of a Sherlock here but stick with me. If you’re running late for work or an interview, have some proof. Take pictures or find a news article relating to why you’re late. You may feel silly taking pictures but here’s my example. I was late to work recently, the reason being the bus broke down on the Anzac Bridge. Police and a recovery vehicle were called and eventually we all had to be escorted to another bus in the busy traffic on the bridge. I took photos and videos every step of the way. I’ve heard people say my bus broke down as an excuse before, but this was all true, so I wanted to have some proof! Sometimes things that aren’t in your control happen, but if it’s going to affect your work or pay, then put aside any feelings of being perceived as silly and take some pics!! To summarise my tips on running late, I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my former bosses, which has always stuck with me, “If you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late and if you’re late you’re fired.”