It is a difficult decision to make.
Should you attend an interview when you are sick and know that your performance will be subpar, or should you re-schedule and perhaps risk losing the job to another candidate? The answer rather depends on who you ask and how sick you are.
The University of Pennsylvania asked career fair representatives what a candidate should do in the event of a bad cold or other mild illness. The responses were overwhelmingly that the candidate should struggle to attend the interview. Some suggested that the candidate should mention that they are under the weather. The reasons for this response from representatives included that interviewers may not believe that you are actually sick if you cancel. Additionally, you may score additional points for attending when you feel lousy.
But what if you really feel terrible? Amy Levin-Epstein of CBS Money Watch talked to HR experts who suggested, in this case, rescheduling. And here’s why.
- Consideration for others. By informing your interviewers that you are sick, you are showing consideration. An interviewer will not want to catch your germs, nor do they want you to struggle and be incapable of putting your best self out there.
- If an employer likes you enough on paper to schedule an interview, they will most likely not make a hiring decision without meeting you. Think how often business meetings have to be rescheduled? This is par for the course.
- Attending an interview when you are sick will probably mean that you will perform poorly, which does not serve you or the employer. Have respect for the employer’s time, and attend when you can do justice to the interview and the questions asked.
To reschedule an interview, do so as soon as you can.
Cover all of your bases and email and telephone the contact person. Explain that you are sick and that, out of respect for others, you would like to reschedule. Try to confirm a date, and be as flexible as you can with your time. Offer some suggestions that are as close to the current date to show that you are enthusiastic about the interview.
Sickness and family obligations occur; don’t let them derail your job search.
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