The Best Recruitment Excuses

It’s April 2020, Covid-19 is sweeping the globe and recruitment activity is largely diminished due to flight restrictions, locked boarders and general uncertainty.  Understandably, interviews are being cancelled left, right and centre by both candidates and clients as we all do our bit to try and stop the spread of this pandemic. 

Global pandemic is a good excuse for cancelling an interview, however, having been in recruitment for over 10 years I have had some absolute corkers of excuses from people as to why they didn’t attend an interview.  In times like this it’s always good to have a bit of fun so I thought I would share some of the most common and some of the best excuses I have had. 

Disclosure: In this day and age I feel it is important to point out that this is meant as a bit of fun.  I realise that things do happen, and people do have genuine reasons as to why they can and can’t attend interviews. The below excuses can be perfectly legitimate and something I would not wish on anybody.  But… I have been doing this for a long time and I feel I have a pretty good idea of when things haven’t happened, and people are just talking rubbish.

The Family Emergency

The family emergency is a lot of people’s go to, it’s a classic.  It is also a very frequent occurrence just prior to an interview which I find strange.  It’s a good one though, even if there is a suspicion you are lying, you can’t really be called out on it as it could be true, and nobody wants to put their foot in it.  If you do suspect a rat you could always see how far they are willing to take the lie and ask what the family emergency is.

The ill relative

An offshoot of the family emergency for a lot of people is the ill relative.  It’s very rare for the person interviewing to be ill, it’s always a relative.  It’s amazing how many relatives get ill (or sometime even die) just before interviews.  I do get it though; interviews are stressful I suppose it can take it’s toll on family members. 

Childcare Issues

Childcare next.  This is a common one and having a child it is one I can get behind.  I was probably less sympathetic before having a child, but I would say this is statistically the most common excuse that is actually legitimate.  Having said that though, it’s also funny how many people give this excuse and then you never hear from them again.


Getting to an interview also seems to present a whole lot of issues.  Either people are telling me porkies or cars just do not like you going to interviews.  It’s amazes me just how many people seem to break down or get flat tires on the way to an interview. 

There is a high chance this can happen, I realise that.  I have had numerous calls from people saying this and I can hear cars zooming past them in the background.  Either they are committed to the lie and are calling me from the side of a motorway, or they have actually broken down. They have called me ahead of time though, I am fine with that and it makes everything far more believable. 

I admire the sheer audacity of the people that give this excuse after I have found out they didn’t show up to the interview. 

My Favourite

My favourite ever excuse was a candidate that had to leave an interview because his pregnant wife who was outside in the car had suddenly gone into labour.  Perfectly understandable right?  Well, the bit that made this one interesting was that it happened immediately after the client had told them that if they were successful, they would have to undergo a drug screening.  I never heard from the candidate again.

On another drug testing related note, I had a candidate do a U-turn on an interview after finding out about the testing.  Their reason was because they had recently attended a music festival where people around her were smoking drugs. I offered to get the interview rescheduled for a few weeks’ time, the candidate declined. I don’t work for the D.E.A, just tell me the truth I am not an idiot!  


So, the big takeaway from this is that I am very sceptical of excuses.  I would rather you just tell me the truth, which more often than not is that you can’t be arsed to go to the interview, or you are just not that interested in the role.  That’s fine, just tell me.  I wasn’t born yesterday so don’t give me a crap excuse.  If you are going to give me an excuse at least make it a good one like the pregnant wife in the car story.  Then I can write about it in a blog like this.

Oh yeah, one other thing (there was always going to be a plug in here somewhere).  If you are a hiring company and are sick of people not showing up to face to face interviews, then take a look at this demo of our video interview software. We can facilitate solo interviews or use our technology to set up video calls that are far more reliable than other software.

Give us a call on +44 1625 537 555 or drop us an email on for more information.     

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