What to do if you are called in for a last minute job interview

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash
Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

Interviews are frustrating and time should be taken to make proper preparations. One needs to be ready physically and emotionally. Job interviews make a lot of people nervous. That in itself, says urgent and short notice interviews can mean more frustration. But what if it did happen? How would you best handle it?

Think of it this way: a hiring manager calls you while you’re minding your own business. And without even thinking, you agree to attend the interview. Only after that, do you get to really think about what just happened.

You quickly jump over what you were doing. But for what? To prepare for an interview. But just what sort of preparation are we looking at? A 30 minutes’ preparation? A 1 hour preparation? A night’s preparation?

At the end of the day, you really want that job. You obviously aren’t thinking of calling it off. So you’ve got to settle in and shape up. First good impressions are far more important in moments like these. You have to demonstrate to the hiring manager that you can think on your feet. Below is a guide to help you in moments like these according to Sara McCord in How to prepare for a last minute interview in 30 minutes.

Minutes 1 through 10: Read up

If you’re interviewing for an actual, posted position, you’re going to want to read through it with a fine-toothed comb. Look for keywords and familiarize yourself with them.

Things to pay special attention on include: looking at the page about the company and its mission statement. Google it on the go, if you have to and see what the search reveals. No in depth read is necessary by now, all you need is scan the headlines just to have a sense of what the company is about and perhaps is currently doing.

Minutes 10 through 20: make yourself a match

From the previous 10 minutes, you’ve learned about the company and an ideal candidate. You should now be able to match yourself. Rise to the level of the expectations of the employer.

You may want to bring up those career success stories. Muse writer Kat Boogaard suggests six key types, including examples of times when you solved a problem, acted as a leader and were the ever-sought-after team player. See how these fit with the description of the ideal candidate.


Minutes 20 through 30: find something unique

You know the most qualified candidate isn’t always the one who gets hired. So, now that you’ve thought through all of the by-the-book ways you’re a fit, think through what’s going to make you memorable.

For starters, do you have transferable skills or qualifications other candidates are less likely to have? Those additional facets of your candidacy will help build out the stories you tell.

But most importantly

Do not fall for a lie that things like this won’t happen. Believe me within fast-paced work environments like today, it could happen. So many things can lead to it. Sometimes the candidates who had previously secured the post could’ve opted out, or failed to show up for an interview even.

These with many others can call for desperate measures, such as calling for short-notice interviews with candidates that followed after that one. That’s why, there’s such a thing as short-listing. So you don’t want to take this for granted. From now on, expect anything.

I remember watching some movie. The young man asked the older, more experience man, “What do you suppose is out there, ready to face us?” The answer was remarkable. The old man said, “I don’t know, but I always make sure that I’m prepared for anything.” That’s the attitude that’ll help anyone survive short notice interviews. Always being prepared for anything.