What to Do if You Miss a Job Interview? – Ultimate Guide

Time is a fickle thing: such a valuable yet entirely-unattainable resource. You can’t create time, for it is not an actual material, but you can certainly waste it. When a moment strikes hot, you can almost feel it slipping through your fingers as if a silk you cannot hold on to. When you miss something, like a job interview, you may wish that there was a way to obtain more time. A way to get time back.

Read below for our guide to building a time machine.

At the end of the day, losing track of time can be a heart-racing experience. If you are running late for an important event (like a job interview), time feels as if it’s moving quicker than the linearity we have allotted it.

Let me put my coffee down and stop waxing poetic. Let’s get to the point of the article. What should you do if you miss a job interview? What should you do if you run out of time? What should you do if your running late has led to not running at all?

As a staffing agency, we have dealt with a plethora of missed interviews. Fortunately, it isn’t a death wish for your potential employment, but it will significantly lower your chances. Here’s how to handle it with grace and humility:

Missing an Interview Is an Awful Start

You’ve built the best resume, reached out to the right contacts, and now you’ve secured an interview with a hiring manager. You are almost through the vetting process. A life-changing experience awaits you with open arms and a few important questions.

And you miss it. For whatever reason, you miss it.

Ultimately, we aren’t here to insult you and point fingers for missing your job interview. Even the greatest of employees miss a job interview every once in a while. Stuff happens. Emergencies happen. We are here to tell you that it’s an awful start for your potential employment.

We aren’t going to pat you on the back, stating that it’s okay and everything will work out (though it might). Let us be truthful. Do not miss a job interview unless a life-or-death emergency occurs. It really is a bad look for your professionalism. You were allowed to set up a time that worked for you (hopefully) and you agreed to it. All you had to do was be in one place once.

Not only does it make you look as if you are unprofessional and untrustworthy, but it makes you look as if you don’t care about the opportunity. All three of these adjectives are red flags waiving high above your excellent resume. A study by Teamstage found that 76% of all rejections stem from unprofessional correspondence. Missing a meeting is a key example of unprofessional correspondence.

Berating aside. You missed your interview. What should you do next?

Immediate Response Is Needed

This may go without saying, but you need to reach out to the interviewer as soon as possible. By as soon as possible, we mean twenty minutes ago.

We usually recommend in-person conversations for any professional scenario, but this is a different situation. Immediate response is needed when you miss a job interview. Do not wait until you are present at the interview location (if you are showing up in person). Give the employer a call immediately. If they do not answer your call, send them a quick email. We will get to that.

If you notice that you are going to be late for some reason (i.e. car trouble, traffic, family emergency) and you are fully aware that tardiness is inbound, reach out to them as soon as possible. Do not try to press your luck, flying through a traffic jam with reckless abandon. Get ahead of the situation and reach out to them before the set interview time.

If you let the company know you may be late and end up being on time, oh well. It’s better than calling once late.

1. Be Truthful and Apologetic

Firstly, it’s always crucial to own up to your mistakes. This tip goes well beyond the art of job interviewing. You should always be forthright regarding your actions. They are your actions, after all.

When you call, email, or see the employer after you miss an interview, let them know exactly what happened. Do not attempt to formulate a formidable excuse. If you missed the interview due to forgetfulness, state that. An employer will be able to see through a lie, which will further damn your chances of landing a gig.

The key is to be apologetic and self-reflective. For example, if you miss an interview because you forgot, state that you understand how unprofessional it is and that you are working on improving your schedule planning in the future.

2. Don’t Be Too Apologetic, Though

We must note that too much apologizing can lead to too much sympathy fishing.

You are not attempting to beg for another opportunity. You are trying to show that you understand your wrongdoing and you are attempting to move on. Apologizing once and quickly moving on to the next step shows that you are both professional and serious about continuing with the opportunity.

This leads us to…

3. Ask if You Can Reschedule

The biggest step in rekindling the flame is to show that you are still serious about the job interview, despite the glaring hiccup.

Not only is there something inherently professional about taking control of the situation, but attempting to move on shows that you are both humbled and serious about the absence. After your quick and honest apology, you should move the conversation to the possibility of rescheduling the interview. Ask them when it would be possible.

If they state that it’s not a possibility, then don’t pester the concept. Accept that you missed the opportunity and move on.

Overall, your email or conversation should be formulated as an apology, a reason for absence, and then an attempt to move forward. Each point should be both brief and tactful. There is no need for this conversation to draw out and contain a wide array of emotions.

4. Follow Up With an Email

Regardless of the outcome of your conversation, you should always send them a follow-up email with a brief recap of your stance.

If you talked over the phone and can get a rescheduled interview, email them the next day (or later the first day) and thank them for the opportunity to reschedule. If you emailed them and were able to reschedule, respond later with a ‘thank you once again. See you (whatever day you will meet)‘.

As stated, this goes for both outcomes. If you are denied a second chance, you should still reach out later with an email. State that you want to apologize again and thank them for the opportunity. Say that you are available and welcome any opportunities in the future if they were to arise. Ultimately, you are attempting to keep the line of communication open. Despite losing the job, you don’t want to slam shut the burning bridge (or whatever idiom you want to use).

Overall, keep the follow-up email short and sweet. Just use it to show you are truly sorry, sincere, and serious about the open position.

5. Learn From This

Whether you lost the opportunity, got a rescheduled interview, or burned various bridges, you need to learn from the experience.

As we stated, missing an interview is a horrible flag of professionalism. It should never be a common trend or habit in your repertoire. Even if you are given another opportunity, count your blessings and attempt to get better from the situation.

Basically, if you need to return to this article regarding another missed interview, the issue resides in you as a professional. Harsh, but true.

Of course, if the situation was entirely out of your control (i.e. a real-life emergency) then there isn’t much to learn from. That’s not entirely your fault. But that’s an entirely different scenario and article.

How to Formulate Your Email (With Examples)

While all the tips above go for emails and conversations, some people find it easier to see exact examples. We will break down an example of both the apology email and the follow-up email.

Overall, your initial email should follow and quick and efficient format.

  • Open with an apology and acceptance of responsibility
  • Ask if rescheduling is possible
  • Close with a restated apology and reach for the future

Dear Interviewer [Name],

Please accept my sincere apology for this morning’s interview. My alarm did not go off, causing me to oversleep. In the future, I will set a backup alarm on a different device to help solve the problem. This was entirely my fault.

Is it possible to reschedule the interview? I am extremely excited about the opportunity to interview with your company, if possible. I understand that my absence this morning may have messed up your schedule, and I understand if it is unforgivable.

I apologize for the inconvenience and hope that I get another opportunity to meet with you.

Thank you again,

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Example of Follow-Up Email

Dear Interviewer

Thank you for reaching out to me.

I want to apologize for the inconvenience this morning once again. I take full responsibility for the situation. Thank you for giving me the opportunity in the first place.

If there are any openings at your company in the near future, I will be open to reapplying to them.

Take care,

First Last