How Do You Handle Late Interview Arrivals?

I always love a good story. In this case, it was an experience that was shared on LinkedIn about a candidate who showed up late to the interview. Here it is:

Had an interviewee show up 30 minutes late for an interview today. He did not attempt to contact us to say he would be late and when I asked why he was late he lied about his scheduled time. I asked to see the confirmation email he received and it clearly stated the interview time. I do not have time or patience for poor character, so I simply thanked him for his time and told him we were not interested. He thought I was joking, I was 100% serious. If you don’t have the ability to show up on time for the chance to get the job, you do not have respect for mine or my management teams time and you DEFINITELY do not have respect for the opportunity! How do you handle people who show up late for an interview?

-James Murphy, Vice President of Inside Sales at Nextiva

One key point to the story above is that the candidate didn’t warn the interviewer that they were going to be late. In this hyperconnected world, that’s a really bad mistake. I do find it funny that the person interviewing asked to see the email to make sure the time was clearly stated and the interviewee just messed it up by showing up late.

How do you react when someone shows up late to an interview? Would you cancel the interview if they show up late?

I’m not sure I would have completely canceled the interview, but it would have definitely left a black mark on that person for me. Punctuality is an important quality and likely reflects how they act in other situations.

The amazing part is that if the person would have just communicated why they were late, then it actually could take a major negative and make it into a positive. We all have times in our careers where we’re going to be late to something. Showing that you know how to appropriately act when something is going wrong communicates something very important to your employer. Not showing good communication tells the employer something else about you and it makes sense not to waste time interviewing them.

Moral of the Story: Be punctual in your job interviews and if something happens that you’re going to be late, communicate with them as soon as possible.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Yeah, I probably would have done the same and cancelled the interview. I have had this happen, most of the time if they call ahead its generally acceptable however even that more than once is something I find hard to forgive.

    Punctuality for me is a sign that you respect the other persons time.

  • Good point Pranajal. The first time you can be pretty forgiving. When it happens repeatedly, then there’s a sign of disrespect for other’s time.

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