You know these people. The late people. They make you crazy. You may be one of these people. The truth is, I’ve been all of these people at one time or another. And all seven of these people make me crazy too.
What people don’t realize is how the simple mistake of being late carries big consequences. When I’m late, it sends unintended messages to the room about me, and it’s not good. If you’re in an interview with me and I get one these messages, you may put yourself in an unwinnable position.
Meet the six worst kinds of late people and the message they are sending:
1. The “Frantic”
Every one of us knows this person. They run in the room with hair on fire (actually, they usually run in the place with wet hair), and bustle in just as you’re getting started (and after you’ve already waited).
Message sent: “I am drama.”
This kind of lateness projects a life that is out of control. A life that stays in drama mode. In the thousands of searches I’ve done over the years, I’ve never had a client ask for someone that is drama. In fact, most people want team members who are calm.
Conversely, being on time reduces stress.
By some estimates, the stress relief industry (products, books, etc.) is an $11 billion industry in the US alone. Here’s a free way to achieve what people are paying to find: be on time.
2. The “Unaware” (aka The Self Absorbed)
Ever have someone walk into a meeting late and not even notice they’re late? “Oh, have you all been waiting?”
Message sent: “I’m more important than you.”
The old saying is true: we measure what matters (to us). If you take steps to be on time for our meeting, you are actively communicating that you respect my time. Conversely, an innocent oversight of time can project a really self-absorbed image. That’s tough to recover from.
3. The “Unapologetic”
Some people just walk into a meeting late and keep rolling as if nothing has happened.
Message sent: “I don’t care.”
Being on time shows you can execute on a promise. Interviewing, at its root, is an attempt to size up whether or not a candidate can do a job. Showing up on time means that one of our very first contracts (the appointment) is one you can execute on. Being late and not apologizing? That tells me not only that you cannot do the job, but also that you do not care.
4. The “Victim”
“You won’t believe what happened to me on the way to work…” Actually, you’re right; I don’t believe you.
Message sent: “I’m a victim.”
Nobody wants to hire someone that’s a constant victim. Far too often, people respond to an error with excuses, with stories of what happened to them that cause them to be late. Yes, things happen, but not time after time. And when they do happen, the rare and refreshing response is the person who finds a way to own their mistake and learn from it.
5. The “Considerate”
How many times have you gotten the email or text from someone right before the meeting telling you all of the reasons they’re going to be late? Sometimes, this is a good thing, but most of the time?
Message sent: “Don’t believe me.”
I appreciate the heads up, but when the heads up is a three-page email, and the person walks in late with a Starbucks in hand, things get suspicious. How you respond to an error makes all the difference in how it is received. But wasting time writing a long email because the line for coffee is too long? That diminishes credibility.
6. The “Chronically Late”
This one is the worst, and whether you realize it or not, it sends a very clear message:
Message sent: “Don’t count on me.”
Being on time shows you’re in control of your life. It’s a broken world, and people are sometimes late for reasons out of their control. Try to drive anywhere in Houston one day and you’ll understand. In the end, an appointment is an agreement. If you constantly break my trust by failing to fulfill our agreement, I’m at the least going to think you’re undependable, and at worst not going to trust any of your promises.
Now that we have done over 10,000 face-to-face interviews at Vanderbloemen, I realize it’s the simple things that separate great candidates from the rest of the field. This one tip may be the most valuable…..Be on time.
If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5, you can donate us – Thank you.