After doing all of the stressful initial work of your job search—crafting a professional resume and cover letter, searching job advertisements, applying to promising job openings, and more—you’ve finally landed an interview. Yet, through no fault of your own, you missed the interview. Perhaps you or a child fell ill, or your car broke down, or you were stuck in traffic, or you lost internet or phone service.
Is it even possible to explain and remedy the situation? It is—if you contact the employer as soon as reasonably possible and follow up with a formal written apology via email.
Inform the Interviewer as Soon as Possible
If you are missing an interview, you almost always will know you are going to miss it before the scheduled time. As soon as you know it is inevitable that you won't be able to make the interview, make calling or emailing the potential employer a priority. Be honest about the situation and stress that the interview is important to you and you want the opportunity to reschedule.
Communicating the issue as quickly as possible will show the employer that you value punctuality, despite the circumstances, and that you still are genuinely interested in the position. It also provides the employer with an insight into how you would deal with missing a meeting with a client or co-worker. Employers understand that issues come up, and if you handle it professionally, it could end up being a positive for you in the long run.
If an extreme emergency prevents you from making immediate contact with the employer, still make it a priority to contact them as soon as you are able.
How to Explain What Happened
Even if the circumstances preventing you from making it to an interview could not have been anticipated or were otherwise unavoidable, make it clear to the employer that you understand it was your responsibility to be there at the designated and that you know you failed to meet that obligation.
Explain the reason for missing the interview, but make sure you leave the employer with the impression that you are someone who understands personal responsibility and takes it seriously.
Send a Follow up via Email
Even if you've successfully rescheduled your interview with a prompt phone call, a follow-up email to thank the employer for a second chance and to confirm the date and time of the rescheduled interview is a good idea.
If you were unable to reach the employer via phone and only left a message, the email can serve as a way to state your apology and request a second chance.
Review a Sample Email Message
This sample email assumes you only were able to leave a message with your phone call and that the reason you missed the interview was an accident on the highway. Your specific circumstances obviously will be different, but the gist of the message is the same.
Subject: Your Name - Interview
Dear Mr./Ms. Interviewer,
I would like to apologize most sincerely for missing my interview today at 8 a.m. I attempted to call as soon as I realized I would not make the scheduled time, but I was only able to leave a message via voicemail. A freeway accident involving a semi-truck stopped traffic completely for 30 minutes on my way to your office, but that is no excuse.
I should have left my home even earlier to ensure I would arrive on time.
As a public relations firm, I understand that XYZ Public Relations Company values professionalism, which includes timeliness. Whether in a staff meeting or a client consultation, I understand that you would expect your employees to be punctual and to notify you ahead of time if they are delayed.
I am currently taking steps to ensure that I am not late for a meeting again. I plan to leave for meetings even earlier than I already do to ensure I am on time regardless of delays. I also will always check local traffic reports before planning my driving route.
I demonstrated a lack of professionalism today. However, I would like to request another opportunity to interview with you for the position of communications assistant. I know that despite my embarrassing error, I am an ideal candidate for the position due to my extensive experience and my proven ability to achieve quantitative results for my clients.
I will follow up via phone to see if we can schedule a time to meet again. Again, I am very sorry for my actions. I look forward to meeting you and demonstrating to you why I am a strong candidate for the position.