Ever have dreams about arriving late to an exam or a job interview?
Do you wake in a cold sweat, certain your dream means your car will get a flat, or the subway will break down, or you’ll be stuck in the elevator, and you’ll only get to your interview after everyone has left the building?
Of course, these things can occur. But just because you dream it, doesn’t mean it will happen.
Think about it, if all such dreams came true, the entire city would find itself constantly caught in a job hunter’s nightmare – trapped in a subway for hours, unable to send a text.
Psychologists say it’s common to dream about missing an important event. It happens often to students before an exam. And the research shows job-hunters have similar dreams the night or so before an interview. The experts say these are typical stress dreams, triggered by worry along with a desire to perform well.
The up side of a bad dream
But before you decide you’d rather binge watch Netflix all night than panic in your slumber, you should know that that a”missed an event” dream is actually linked with better performance.
In Psychology Today, Michelle Carr writes about a study that shows medical students who dreamed of missing a major test actually scored well on their exam. It’s believed that these kinds of nightmares indicate the sleeper has a very deep-seated strong motivation to succeed.
So dreaming that you’re late can be a good thing. But actually showing up late to an interview is not.
A secret revealed – what happens when you’re late in real life
When you arrive, you check in with the receptionist who calls the interviewer to let them know their 10.30 is finally here.
Because at The Bagg Group, we are hugely committed to setting up job candidates for success, our expert recruiters are sharing a recruiter’s secret. Typically, the first thing Bagg recruiters — as well as hiring managers at the best companies in the GTA with whom they work — ask the receptionist is: “Did the person apologize for being late? Did they offer a valid explanation?”
Yes, it’s true. The person with whom you’re scheduled to meet wants to know if you said you were sorry and if you meant it.
And you have reason to be sorry. Often, interviewers have meetings scheduled back-to-back. So, either your interview is going to be rushed because of lost time. Or, you’re going to cause everyone else who comes after you to wait.
Stuff happens, subways really do break down – so what do you do?
When unforeseen events mean you’re going to be late, take a breath, and react — professionally. How you handle the situation matters to the interviewer.
If running late, alert the person you’re meeting with. Send an email or call the receptionist to leave a message. And do that Canada thing — say sorry.
If you’re more than a few minutes behind, ask the interviewer if they can still accommodate the meeting or would they prefer re-schedule.
If the subway breaks down and you can’t connect, do so the second you have service. Send an email or make a call, apologize and tell them you will be there within (number of ) minutes.
If the interviewer has to reschedule, don’t be too upset. This may be a better option than having a much shortened interview time.
Prepare for the worst before you go out the door
Have your interviewer’s contact info at the ready. It’s a little thing, but it’s so easy to forget to have your interviewer’s correct name, email and phone number instantly available to you. When you’re already late, the last thing you need is to stand on the street corner, scrolling frantically through your inbox to find the contact info.
Plus, it’s not a good look to arrive at reception and not have the name of the interviewer ready. (By the way, if you are unsure of the correct pronunciation of a person’s name, it is fine to ask the receptionist to let you know.)
Habitually late? Try these 3 tips
Rethink how long things actually take:
Researchers found people who are always late often use their “best-ever time” as the standard. For example, if they once made it from home to downtown in a record 20 minutes, they’ll use that to plan how much time they need to get to an interview downtown. This is called “magical thinking.” Or they may use the time advised on Google maps as the written-in-stone time, and not account for traffic, etc. The experts recommend tracking, for a week or more, how long it truly takes to get ready and to get somewhere.
Round out time:
People who aren’t punctual often think in precise minutes, giving themselves 23 minutes to get ready, for example. People who are punctual would instead round out numbers to 30 minutes, says Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again.
Trick yourself if you’re a last-minute deadline person:
Have an appointment for 2 pm? Write down 1.30 pm in your calendar. This will force you to get ready and out the door earlier. If you get too early to your interview, read our blog for what to do.
Ready, set, go
Check out The Bagg Group job board to see full-time, contract and temporary opportunities posted by The Bagg Pro, Bagg Technology Resources, Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Managed Resources and Turn Key Staffing. Our jobs with leading employers in the GTA and beyond are great motivation for getting to the interview on time.
Gene Hayden, author of The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done (Random House), is a career coach who has helped hundreds successfully put their best foot forward at interviews and in the workplace. She is also writer-in-residence for The Bagg Group.