The 6 Most Common Excuses for Missing an Interview

As a recruiter, I have heard some pretty bloomin’ original excuses for missing an interview, including:

  • “I forgot to wash my suit.”
  • “I have to wait for a very important parcel.”
  • “My heel broke and I walked into a puddle.”

(Click here to read more of them).

I mean, you’ve got to give this lot some credit; at least they’re trying to be a bit different.

You see there are some “excuses” that crop up time and time again.

But before I reveal them to you, read this disclaimer.


My intention in this article is certainly not to tar every job candidate with the same brush.

I have received many excuses in my time and a great many of them have been genuine. Those candidates often go on to find great jobs, with my help.

The point of this article is to show you the most common excuses people use (and have lied about) and to show you that there is another way!

The truth is, some recruiters do find these excuses hard to believe – and that’s because of the job candidates who do choose to lie about them.

So let’s have a look…

1. “I’m ill.”

As you can imagine, this is definitely one of the most common excuses we hear – and these mysterious illnesses are usually attributed to food poisoning… (because they appear overnight).

So firstly, don’t eat anything dodgy the night before an interview!

If you really are terribly sick, let the recruiter know as soon as possible and make sure you show how committed you to rearranging. People get ill. We know and understand that.

If you’re just a bit ill and don’t want to infect anyone, you could suggest a video interview – even if they decline the idea, this will show that you’re being genuine.

(I’d like to think we can usually tell when a candidate is genuinely ill and putting it on, but I guess you just never know.)

2. “I thought it was next week.”

If you’re working with a good recruiter, then they will make sure you know exactly when that interview is. And they’ll probably ring you the day before and the morning of.

But if not, the onus really is on you to clarify this (and not to forget).

So really, there is no excuse for getting the date/time wrong. Even if you are being genuine.*

You’re just going to come across fairly disinterested in the role, or just plain disorganised.

*In my time, I have let a couple of job candidates off with this excuse. But only ones who I genuinely believed had made a mistake and who were clearly very interested in the vacancy.

3. “I can’t find the office.”

Google occasionally sends people to the wrong location for the Coburg Banks office (it’s a funny postcode) so we’re used to people getting lost on route.

And we let those people off.

But 99% of those people admit defeat, call us and ask for directions.

Calling up after (or even before) a missed interview and saying “I couldn’t find it so I went home” just doesn’t make any sense.

You’d at least try to contact someone for help, if you were truly interested in the vacancy.

4. “I’ve been offered another job.”

Again, this obviously happens a lot. Job-seekers will often have multiple opportunities at once.

Recruiters accept that.

But if you call us up on the morning of an interview and say “I’m not going because I got offered a different job,” you’ve got to admit, it is a little bit fishy.

When? During the night? Could you not have told us sooner?

Plus, if this is a lie, you’ll have burnt bridges with that recruiter! You won’t be able to work with them again unless you admit to lying.

5. “I’ve been in an accident.”

Don’t get offended; if you have genuinely been in an accident, then fair enough.

But the amount of job candidates, who have, on the way to interview, is pretty unbelievable. (And that’s just the ones I’ve worked with).

In fact, twice, I’ve had people use this excuse and later found out they don’t even own a car.

You must have heard about this guy who got caught out.

6. “Family emergency.”

I didn’t want to include this one, because as a human I personally like to give people the benefit of the doubt whenever they say this or “there’s been a death in the family.”

But again, I do wonder at the number of truly unfortunate job candidates I come across…

People do lie (often) about this. It’s sad, but true.

Just be honest!

There must be a good reason why you don’t want to attend that interview – and even if there isn’t (perhaps you’re just running late), you can’t really be that excited about the role in the first place.

That’s ok. It’s your life and your choice.

Just try to let your recruiter know as early as possible!

I promise your recruiter will respect you for that.  If you’d like some more tips on winning over recruiters, click here.

Further reading!

We’re not the only ones who know this:

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