While we all want to walk into our next job interview bright-eyed and energetic, we’re sometimes hit with a virus at exactly the wrong moment.
A job candidate, having woken up with a slight fever and a runny nose (or worse), might consider swallowing down some cough syrup and heading to the interview anyway. After all, you don’t want to disappoint your interviewer. Besides, showing up while under the weather shows you have the fortitude necessary for the position, no?
No matter how brilliant your responses to interview questions, or ability to work through theoretical problems on a whiteboard, doing so with a cough and nasal drip will not win you any points with your prospective employer. In fact, it could dissuade them from hiring you.
If you’re really sick, call in sick. Apologize, acknowledge that rescheduling is an irritation for everyone involved, and ask for a new date and time.
If your illness occurs right before your second (or third) interview with a particular firm, there’s an excellent chance that the recruiter or hiring manager scheduled to interview you will understand your request to delay the meeting for another day or so. They know that viruses can hit unexpectedly.
And take note: whether it’s your first or fifth interview, if the company reacts badly to your request to reschedule the meeting due to sickness, you can take that as a potential sign of a bad workplace. “Illness is unacceptable!” is not a response that bodes well for future employee-boss relations, to put it mildly.
Just remember that, if you do reschedule, there’s added pressure for you to perform your best when the interview rolls around. Make sure to review our tips and tricks for effective interviews, and, if you’re trying out for a position that involves a lot of technical work, get ready for a possible whiteboard challenge. But most of all, make sure you walk into the interview feeling healthy and ready to do your best.