No One Was There for My Job Interview

It’s been over a year since I was laid-off from my job at the college, and over 6 months since I begrudgingly accepted a part time minimum wage job.

So yeah, you could say that my career isn’t exactly going as I had planned. Not at all.

Then, almost out of nowhere, an opportunity to get back on track appeared when a job working with the School of Music & Arts at the University was posted. I was thrilled! Sure being an Administrative Assistant isn’t exactly my dream job, but this job fit perfectly with my background and education working in the Arts and in Post-Secondary Education, and would mean I could finally quit the daycare. (Oh, and actually being paid a living wage would be fantastic!)

I have been applying for pretty much any job that even remotely interests me and/or I qualify for. Most of these jobs have been for Administrative Assistants anyways, but because I have actually worked at a University’s School of Music before and have a certificate in Arts Administration (yes, that’s a thing), my application for this job was strong. I was confident that I would be hearing back from them, and I was right!

I got the call to come in for an interview – my first interview since the one that landed me the daycare job.

I spent the week reviewing common interview questions, learning more about the specifics of the department and the university, and daydreaming about how much better life would be if I were to get the job. I was super prepared, and super confident going in. I wanted the job, and I was going to go get it.

During these past months of unemployment and underemployment, I’ve also read pretty much every job searching tip there is, including this one, courtesy of

“If possible, get your interviews scheduled first thing in the morning when people are
fresher and better able to make decisions to evaluate your candidacy.”

So I scheduled my interview for 9:30am.

I anxiously left my house just after 9am, arrived on campus a few minutes later, and did one quick last-minute review in my car before entering the building at 9:15.


No one was there.


And I mean no one. No students, no faculty, no staff. Half the lights in the building weren’t even on.

I double checked my notes to make sure I was in the right place and had the right time. I double checked the building map to make sure that I wasn’t at room 101 “A” instead of room 101 “B” or something ridiculous like that. I called the contact number I was given, which went straight to voice-mail.

I sent a text to R, trying desperately not freak out. But I was totally freaking out.

I took a quick lap around the building to see if I could find someone – any one! – and finally found someone else wandering the halls. I quickly explained why I was there and asked him if I was in the right place. He confirmed that yes I was, but also told me that the power on campus had randomly been going in and out all morning, and wondered if that was a factor.

Sure enough, a few minutes later a maintenance man came by. He confirmed that they were having issues with the power, and he was sent to clear out and lock the building.

I explained to him why I was there and who I was supposed to be meeting with. He went out of his way to take me by the offices of anyone that might know what was happening, but we had no luck. No one was there.

(I guess I’m an exception to that “schedule your interview for the morning” thing?)

By this point, I should have been 15 minutes into my interview. Instead, I was sitting in my car crying, trying to regain enough composure to leave a polite voice-mail message to explain the situation and ask to reschedule.

I drove away in tears. I just wanted to go home and be as far away from that place as possible.

But I didn’t make it far before my cell phone rang. Sure enough, it was the University calling. I fumbled to answer it, put it on speaker phone, and pull over. I was finally told that the interview had been moved to a different building.

I was a mess. I tried to blast cold air on my face to hide the puffiness, but it was very obvious that I had been crying. (Great first impression, right?)

Half an hour late, my interview finally began.

The 3 people interviewing me sort of made small talk and laughed about the power being out, but no one really explained to me what happened, or why it took so long to get a hold of me.

Not that it really mattered. My confidence was already shot.

I answered their questions as best I could, but I honestly don’t remember half of what we talked about.

Again, not that it really mattered. I’m not going to be offered the job.

So much for getting my career back on track…


Have you ever been late for an interview? Was it a disaster or not really a big deal?

Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

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33 thoughts on “No One Was There for My Job Interview”

  1. Damn, that sucks. I’m sorry. It’s hard going into an interview where something clearly goes wrong when you’re already a case of nerves. Just keep trying. Maybe it’ll be a string of failures, but you only need to get hired once.

    • Thanks, Taylor. R keeps telling me that if that’s how they handle the interview, that’s likely how they handle all business, too. So it likely wouldn’t have been a good fit.

    • Yeah, I can’t help but wonder if I had only scheduled a later interview… But it is always refreshing to know that the jobs that I wanted have been the ones I’ve gotten interviews for!

  2. I am really sorry that this happened to you. It really, really sucks. I know you were looking forward to it. In all fairness, they should have notified you BEFORE the interview that it was being moved. Perhaps you are wrong and you made a good impression on them regardless? If not, another interview will come along, I just hope it’s sometime soon!

  3. Very sorry to hear that. I was about 1 hour late for a Co-op interview during university. I took the bus and got off 1 stop early. Because the interview was during non-rush hour, the bus didn’t come as often. I tried to walk to the office but ended up getting lost (this was before Google Maps and smart phones). It was not a good interview and I didn’t get the job.

    Hopefully you’ll find something soon!

    • Thanks Tawcan. I struggled with taking the bus and finding interviews back in my University days too. Thank you, technology for making that less of an issue!

  4. That’s awful and I would’ve cried too. It sounds like you may have dodged a billet with them if the didn’t think it was important to notify you. Interviews are stressful enough and while some can laugh it off, most people would be flustered about it. Hope something good comes along soon!

    • Thanks, Alexis. I could tell that one of the people interviewing me was also a little frazzled by this whole situation, but I don’t think they realized how awful it was for me.

  5. W.T.F. Agree you probably dodged a bullet.

    I once missed an interview outright. I was a student, this was kinda pre cell phone, I simply couldn’t find the venue (it was small and in a weird place, I guess.)

    • I realized that yes, I did doge a bullet with this one.
      I was on campus for an unrelated reason later that week and when I saw one of the men that interviewed me, I couldn’t even look him in the eye. I was still embarrassed by the whole thing. I imagine that I would have carried that feeling with me if I were to be hired, and that’s not a healthy relationship.

  6. Once, I was super sick for an interview. I had worked my part time job all day and was taking a lot of medication to get me through the day. I thought I was okay when I arrived at the interview but realized the day after that I had either over medicated or was a lot sicker than I thought because I barely remembered even being there. All I could remember was that I said something that made the 2 of them look at each other and then they burst into hysterical laughing. I have no idea what I said. Even scarier, I drove across the city and back. I should have been honest with them and rescheduled.

    • I almost called to reschedule my interview at the daycare because I had the worst migraine that day. But I was worried that rescheduling would look worse…

  7. Although I’m not one to be a very positive person for myself, I find it easier to be positive for other people. So I will be positive for you. I find going through interviews kind of like dating, There are the ones you thought you’ve had a connection with, only to find out you’ve been rejected and wonder why. Then there are the ones you don’t think you stand a chance, but then you end up moving on to the next round.

    They may cut you some slack.Who knows. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. πŸ™‚

    I almost had to reschedule my phone interview today due to issues at my current work. Thankfully I made it home in time with just 45 min to spare. I was pretty anxious and stressed out for most of the afternoon though.

  8. WTF?! I worked for a university for 10 years-in an event like this one you have a colleague frantically calling the person coming in so that they get to the right place. This is completely unprofessional and just not very thoughtful. I am so sorry that this happened. It’s stressful enough looking for jobs without dealing with stuff like this.

  9. What happened is really unfortunate, but what makes you think you have no chances? Sometimes, we think we did poorly and then end up having a second interview or an offer. Sometimes, when we think we did great, we don’t get the job.

    • Well, it’s been 2 weeks now and I haven’t heard a thing. They said they’d be calling references right away, so I’m pretty sure it’s a no for me. Although, I suppose if they were disorganized with the interview the same could be true for the rest of the hiring process?

  10. So sorry for such a bad experience. That’s really unfortunate considering you were super looking forward to it. Perhaps it is all for the better. One time I was just out of college and was so excited for this interview that my bf drove me there to make sure I got to the right place and on time. Wrong! It was the first snowstorm of the season and a huge traffic jam ensued. I was super late and didn’t realize a panel was going to be questioning me. It happens and it is definitely a learning experience.

    • Yikes! I hate when they don’t tell you about the interview set-up beforehand. Interviewing for a panel and interviewing with one or two people is SO different. You need to mentally prepare!

  11. So unprofessional that was. They should have informed you right away when the power turned off, if they cared enough for the interview. It isn’t your fault at all. Don’t worry, hopefully something else comes up for you! They were so rude and unprofessional. That is NOT how you conduct the interview. I’m so so sorry. Hugs

    • Thanks Michelle! I don’t understand in the age of cell phones why I wasn’t called right away. Even if it was just to ask me to hold tight while they figured everything out, I would have gladly waited if I knew what was happening.

  12. Holy cow, that story gives me the chills! To echo most people who’ve commented already, W.T.F!! Who doesn’t send an email or leave a voicemail updating you about the room change? What the actual hell? That’s so unprofessional.

    I know it doesn’t make it any easier to hear it though, because even an unprofessional place would be better than having to go back to the daycare. πŸ™ You never know though – if they did that to you, they probably did it to the other interviewees!

    My most recent sucky-interview story was when a place I applied to couldn’t get their Skype to work (it was a Skype interview), then they blamed ME for THEIR Skype not working, then they were super rude and cut me off during the interview. I wasn’t over-talking, either. Just being a normal…

    It was weird. I didn’t get the job. I was bummed, but I’m looking in big, big cities, so I know something will come up eventually. It has to! Good luck, amiga!

    • Yah, Ryan keeps telling me that I don’t want to work for a department that runs like that anyways. He’s probably right, but even a dysfunctional job is better than where I’m at now. Haha.

      Also, I didn’t know you had that kind of magic powers over Skype πŸ˜‰

  13. I came over from the link love at Shop My Closet. I had something similar (but not nearly so traumatic) happen to me when interviewing for my current job.

    I was up for a PM spot, and had interviewed over the phone with the 4 hiring manager who had the 4 open positions. When I got selected for an on site interview, it was with Person A. I was told to ask specifically for Person A when I got to the front desk. So I did. And I wanted and I waited and I waited. The receptionist chatted with me and then would make phone calls (I now think she was frantically trying to find ANYONE to come get me). Finally, Person B showed up.

    Person B gave me a tour and seemed very disorganized, as if he didn’t expect to interview me. He was fumbling through the interview. It was all very strange. He left to get me water once and brought back another random-ish person to sit in for a few questions. I left, having never talked to Person A – no explanation given.

    I did get an offer from Person B and when I showed up for my first day, lo and behold I sat next to Person A’s Project Manager. I asked when he started – he had started a month before my on site interview, when I was told to ask for his boss!! Seriously??

  14. Oh wow. That’s pretty bad luck with the power outage and all. I’m surprised that they didn’t just rescheduled the interview. If it makes you feel any better, I completely bombed my first job interview ever. It was a disaster. I was nervous and answered badly.

  15. Oh no! That sucks! I agree with the other commenters, it’s a bit of a red flag that they weren’t considerate about letting you know about the change in venue, but it’s also a little understandable if they were dealing with switching buildings at the time.

    Either way though, I’d send them a follow email/note/phone call thanking them for the opportunity to interview, and I’d throw something in about how you weren’t at your best because of the venue miscommunication and you’d be happy to come back in and answer any follow up questions they had. That way they’ll know that you know that you didn’t come across too great, and that’s not how you usually comport yourself.

    Have you read Ask a Manager? She has tons of great advice for situations like this.


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