There are two things you want to avoid in a job interview: The first is to ask about the number of sick days to which you will be entitled. The second is to show up ill at an interview.
This year, the Toronto Public Health Office has declared that the flu has hit the GTA with a vengeance. For candidates who get struck down by the bug the day before a much-awaited interview, that presents a dilemma.
No one wants to miss an opportunity. And often, many of us feel we can toughen it out long enough to make it through an interview. However, it isn’t just about how you feel, it’s about the impression you are making with the hiring manager.
Walking in looking feverish, glassy-eyed, and coughing, is not going to wow anyone. No matter how much a hiring manager in the GTA wants to find the right full-time person, contract worker, or part-time placement, they don’t want to get sick themselves when doing it.
To determine whether your symptoms merit calling off the interview, as much to protect the health of the interviewer as well as your own, check out the Toronto Public Health office flu alert.
If you do need to reschedule, follow these tips from the experts at The Bagg Group. We have helped candidates prepare for interviews with the best companies across the GTA for 40 years, and sadly, each one of those years has included a flu season.
- Give as much advance notice as possible.
- If your interview was set up through a recruitment agency, contact your recruiter. They will get in touch with the person who was to interview you.
- If you are not working with a recruitment agency, send the interviewer an email, with apologies for having to cancel because of illness and ask if they might be able to schedule you in for a meeting in a day or two.
- Call, as well as sending the email, just in case the interviewer doesn’t see your email before your appointment.
- When calling, do not try to prove how ill you are by coughing through the entire message. At The Bagg Group, recruiters have been frustrated when they were unable to even make out the caller’s name. It doesn’t matter how high your fever is, for the one-minute call you need to stay professional, and clear.
- Leave a number and let them know you will be available by phone and you will check your email so that you can quickly confirm another appointment.
If you don’t have anything contagious, and you feel you are able to power through the interview, try to do so. If you’ve had a sleepless night, or you are a battling a headache, don’t feel the need to reveal all. Consider this: How impressed would you be if when you sat down, the interviewer started giving you a detailed account of their aches and pains?
When you are in an interview, you want to focus on your strengths not your setbacks…but as soon as you get out the door, feel free to make a run for the couch.