running (1)


One of the most frustrating things in recruitment is receiving feedback from a client which begins with “well to start with your candidate arrived late…” Finding quality candidates in a tight market is difficult, however as a Professional recruiter it’s my job to search out the very best talent for my clients. Searching for talent takes up the vast majority of my working week. When I find a candidate with strong skills who is interested in a job I am recruiting for I know I am barely 50% down the path of successfully placing them. Once a candidate has been found, briefed about the role and put forward to the prospective client much of the outcome is now transferred to the candidate.

  • Will they perform well at interview?
  • Will the job be exactly what they are looking for?
  • Will the client offer them enough money to make the opportunity enticing?
  • Will their current employer counter-offer?

Obviously recruiters who have done their job properly can ensure that their knowledge of the company / position is transferred to the candidate. Recruiters can also make sure that the salary expectations of the candidate are in-line with what the client is prepared to pay. Counter-offers can be managed (I have written a previous article relating to this). The one thing that the recruiter cannot manage is a candidate’s attitude to time. Suggesting the candidate practices their route to the interview and allows plenty of time for the “just in case” traffic is all well and good but the reality is it doesn’t always happen.

I have had £70K candidates turn up late for interviews just as often as £25K candidates. Thankfully it is a rare occurrence however the results are nearly always the same. The client immediately has a negative feeling about a candidate who turns up late. The client has often left a specific window in their diary to see a candidate – by turning up late the candidate is capable of disrupting the client’s schedule.

Occasionally candidates cannot prevent being late. I had a candidate recently who got stuck on the Motorway due to a lorry fire. The interview was scheduled after work and the client was extremely understanding as the incident was all over the news and quite obviously outside of the candidates’ control. However turning up to an interview late with an excuse along the lines of “the traffic was terrible”, I couldn’t get away from work on time” or “I couldn’t find your office” is, in my opinion,nearly always, unacceptable.


  • Research the route to the client (ideally drive to their office before the interview to make sure you know where it is)
  • Be realistic about what traffic you are going to encounter and make suitable allowances.
  • Aim to arrive 15 minutes early to give you some leeway for unexpected traffic


There will always be exceptions to the above – Candidates may have had to stay at work to complete an unexpected but very necessary task (which I would hope the client would see in a positive way), your car may break down, public transport may fail / run late etc. However by preparing thoroughly your chances of being late for an interview can be minimised which in turn means you will be judged on your skills and ability to do the job rather than your tardiness……..