Job Search & Interview

“I Overslept and Missed a Job Interview!” – The Best Thing to Do in This Scenario

Picture this: You wake up and wonder why your alarm clock hasn’t gone off yet. You check the time and immediately panic. “I overslept and missed a job interview!” 

Nobody wants to be in this situation. However, a USA Today report showed that at least 20%-50% of job candidates don’t show up for their interviews. So it’s not uncommon to miss an interview. 

But what if you really wanted that job? You’ll be asking, “I missed my interview, what do I do?” I’m here to give you the best way to go about this scenario. So let’s get to it. 

Read More: How To Ask For A Second Chance Interview With Email Examples

What to Do if You Oversleep and Miss a Job Interview

i overslept and missed a job interview

Here’s what the team at Optim Careers says:

It’s important to understand that oversleeping happens to the best of us. Even the most diligent and punctual individuals can sometimes hit the snooze button one too many times and end up running late.

So don’t beat yourself up for oversleeping and accidentally missing an interview. That’s not going to do any good. Instead, here is what you should do:

  1. Gather yourself
  2. Apologize
  3. Be honest
  4. Reschedule the interview
  5. Work for it
  6. Don’t miss another interview

1. Gather yourself

Yes, missing an interview can be a devastating thing, especially if you were excited about the career prospect. You’ll go through so many emotions as you realize what just happened. 

No matter how much you want to, never rush and call the interviewer. You don’t want to give them a breathless and panicked phone call. What’s more, you might say the wrong things, removing any chance of another opportunity. 

This is why, first and foremost, you should gather yourself. Take a deep breath. Accept that you missed the interview and there’s no going back. Form a game plan and how to approach it. 

That said, the Elite-CV team advised“:

You should try and reach out as soon as possible as the longer you wait, the less credible you may sound. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the issue.

Read More: I Think I Messed Up My Interview: 7 Tips to Recover  

2. Apologize

When it’s time to approach the recruiter or hiring manager, the first thing you need to do is apologize for missing the interview this morning. Remember, oversleeping is 100% your fault. 

Now, when you craft your apology, whether through email or call, you shouldn’t blame shift. “My alarm didn’t go off”, “My children kept me up all night”, etc… Also, let them know that you understand you put them in an inconvenient situation.

Who knows, your sincere apology might give you a chance to reschedule a new interview. Here is an apology example you can follow:

“I sincerely apologize for missing our scheduled job interview this morning. I want to take full responsibility. I realize it must have been very inconvenient for you, and I’m truly sorry about that. It isn’t like me to miss important events. I can guarantee it won’t happen again if you’re kind enough to consider rescheduling with me.”

3. Be honest

What excuse do you come up with to make sure you get another interview time? To you, admitting that “I overslept and missed a job interview” might not be the best look. What will the recruiter think of your professionalism, right?

However, it’s best to be honest. Here’s what someone from Quora says:

I always suggest that one should tell the truth so that you can confidently handle questions that might flow as a response to your excuse.

The Optim Careers team agrees:

It’s better to be honest and upfront about the situation than to try to cover it up or make excuses. Most employers will appreciate your honesty and may be willing to give you another chance.

This is because honesty is one of the top qualities that employers look for in candidates. OK, I don’t mean you have to go into detail about why you didn’t wake up. You can simply state it like this:

“The truth is, I wasn’t able to wake up with my alarm and I overslept, causing me to miss the interview without a warning.”

Read More: How To Cancel An Interview Professionally (with Examples)

4. Reschedule the interview

You don’t want to make it even more inconvenient for the interviewer. It’s already extremely hard for a recruiter to come back with a new interview time. This is why, on the same email or call, you take the initiative to reschedule the interview. 

For this, state your preferred interview date and time (better if it’s as soon as possible). But you also need to be flexible and accommodating to the interviewer’s schedule.

This will show that you’re genuinely interested in the job position – so much so that you make the effort to undo your mistake. Here is an example:

“If you are able, can we reschedule another interview on [date and time]? Of course, I understand that you have a busy schedule, so let me know if this date and time work for you. If not, I can make myself available at your convenience. I truly hope you can accept my apology and grant me another chance to show you that I’m reliable and capable.”

5. Work for it

What if you don’t get a reschedule? Don’t lose hope yet. Now more than ever, you need to prove that you’re the right candidate. How do you do that? 

You can start by following up the email or call. And this time, you need to back it up. You can ask for other open positions in the company. You can give additional references. You can state that you’re willing to undergo more interview steps to show that you’re dependable. 

All this may show that you are serious about the job interview and that oversleeping was just a human mistake. There’s no harm in trying anyway. 

6. Don’t miss another interview

Let’s say you’re given a second chance. Hurray! Don’t go missing it again or that’s it. Plus, you must impress even more now

However, there’s a big chance that you won’t get that reschedule. If so, the best thing to do is move on and continue your job search. And if you’re selected for a new interview with a new company, make sure to wake up on time. You don’t want to make the same mistake twice. 

To help you, here are some tips on how to not oversleep and miss a job interview:

  • Sleep early. The reason you didn’t wake up on time is probably because you were very tired. So the next chance you get, always make an effort to sleep early. 
  • Prepare for the interview early on. If you want to be able to sleep early, you should be fully prepared for the job interview early on. I’m talking at least 1-day-ahead prepared. This will also help you get rid of the nerves. 
  • Set multiple alarms. One alarm is not reliable enough. You can easily hit the “dismiss” button and go right back to sleep. This is why it’s a good idea to have an alarm for, say, every 5 minutes. 

Final Words

“I overslept and missed a job interview!” This can be a big blow to your career prospects. But don’t get too discouraged yet. You can still ask for a reschedule if you follow the best way to handle the situation. This is to:

  • Calm yourself before you reach out to the interviewer
  • Apologize for your mistake
  • Be honest about oversleeping
  • Suggest an alternative time and date for the interview
  • Follow up with additional information 
  • Make sure you don’t miss a job interview again 
About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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