Interview Blunders

By Matt Lowney

Showing up late for an interview or without a spare copy of your resume can spell disaster for most jobseekers.  However, successfully handling these stressful situations can go a long way towards landing the position.  How do can you turn these embarrassing situations into a positive?  First, you need to understand how your bad first impression is perceived by the interviewer and second do not make any excuses.  Here are some successful strategies in handling difficult interview blunders.

Show up late.  Showing up late is probably the number one mistake job seekers make and one that definitely turns off hiring managers.  If you show up late to the interview, the hiring manager naturally assumes you will have issues showing up to work on time.  Since you know the interviewer is thinking this is a tendency, you need to convince them otherwise.  I would suggest if you are running late, that you call ahead and let interviewer know you will be 10 or 20 minutes behind schedule.  Usually this courtesy call will alleviate any negative assumptions.  However, if you arrive late and have not called ahead, you owe the hiring manager an apology and the assurance that you are timely.  In addition, I would encourage you to tell the hiring manager to ask your current manager about your work habits, including timeliness, while checking references.  The wrong way to handle this situation is to start complaining about traffic or how your child wouldn’t get out of bed.  Once again the assumption is that you will carry tendencies with you once you start your new job. 

No spare copies of your resume.  Often an interviewer may not have a copy of your resume readily available when you go to interview, so you should bring extra copies with you.  Especially since you may be interviewing with more than one person.  What should you do if you are unprepared and don’t have copy of your resume?  Your first step should be to politely apologize.  The next step is to ask the hiring manager what she would like for you to do.  Either re-schedule, or more likely, retrieve the original resume you sent over.  If neither of these options are viable, you need to paint a picture of your work experiences including past employers, dates of employment, and responsibilities.  Once you get home after the interview, immediately send a copy of your resume to the hiring manager.  Again, don’t offer up any excuses.  Simply let the interviewer know she should ask your references about your usual attention to detail.

Matt Lowney is a corporate recruiter, radio host, and career consultant specializing in the areas of healthcare and information technology.  He can be reached at [email protected] for additional information about his services.