How to Rock a Job Interview While Sick

01 / 22 / 19 | Candidates

It’s a scenario that all job hunters fear: after all your searching and not hearing back, you land an interview for a job that excites you. But as the big meeting approaches, you get sick! It seems like the worst timing possible. The question is, what do you do? Do you call in sick or do you power through?

Powering Through a Job Interview While Sick

Sometimes it seems like calling in sick for a job interview just isn’t an option. Maybe there’s a very narrow window for the employer you’re interviewing with and it has to be done in person.

While this is not likely to be the case, the key to powering through a job interview while sick is to be honest. You can call ahead to let the interviewer know that you do not feel well with the intent of rescheduling, and if it is not a possibility, at least you will have given them fair warning. After that, the key is to get as much rest as possible beforehand, and do your best to concentrate during the interview. Cold medicine can help with symptoms, but they can also make you drowsy and fuzzy-headed, so be careful. If you can, it’s best to take these medicines after the interview.

Calling in Sick for a Job Interview

In truth, the best thing to do in this situation is to call in sick. If you have a minor cold or are getting past the worst of your illness, then going to the interview is a viable option. However, calling in sick to reschedule is the way to go, if possible.

One common misconception we tend to have is that people will be impressed with us if we show up for work or an interview even when we’re sick. While that might be the case on some level, people are much more likely to be worried about you getting them sick.

Instead of trying to impress your interviewer by showing up for your job interview ill, you can try to impress them as a job candidate with your consideration. The first step is to call, not email. Since you will probably have to make the decision to call in sick either the day before or the day of your interview, you don’t want to risk them not seeing your email. Calling also gives you the opportunity to make a more personal connection in advance of your interview and to reiterate your interest in the job.

Chances are, the interviewer will be glad you didn’t bring your germs into their office. It’s also likely that there will be an interview window large enough for you to get over the worst of your illness before coming in. On the bright side, you can show your potential employer that you know how to set priorities and communicate difficult messages. Anyway, you probably don’t want to work for a company that would demand that you come in when you’re sick.

Here are even more resources to help with job hunting or hiring.


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