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Navigating the interview process can be tricky, and it can leave you wishing you could just ask a recruiter what you should do. We recently asked one of our recruiters what should a candidate do if they come down with the flu before the big interview.


January 8, 2018

Dear Healthcare Recruiter,

It was the night before my big job interview. I practiced my answers. I picked out the perfect outfit, and copies of my resume were printed and ready to go. All of the sudden, this terrible feeling hit me. I started to feel some aches and pains; my body temperature was slowly on the rise, and I just didn’t feel like myself. I knew I was already too sick to go to my interview the next day, but I didn’t know what to do.

What should I have done in this situation?

‘Under the Weather’ Candidate


Dear ‘Under the Weather’ Candidate,

I was in your shoes a few years ago. I had a big interview coming up early in the week and over the weekend, I started to feel unwell. Let the panic subside. There is a way to handle this gracefully and professionally. Here are a few tips for if this should ever happen again (hopefully not) to make sure you get your chance to shine (not cough) in the interview.

First and foremost, do not push yourself to try and go to the interview. As much as you want to make a great first impression, it’s not worth jeopardizing the quality of the interview if you are not feeling 100 percent. Wouldn’t you rather feel confident that you’re on top of your game and giving it your all for your potential dream job? Don’t risk your health and potentially the health of those interviewing you. Although it’s not ideal to reschedule an interview, this is one of the few exceptions. Your health and the health of others is always the top priority, especially when working in the healthcare field.

It’s also important to not overthink or wonder what bad impression this might leave. Most recruiters are generally pretty flexible and understand that cancellations may happen once in a while due to unpredictable circumstances. It doesn’t lead them to second guess your ability to show up to work or be a reliable team member. They accept it at face value and will most likely work with you to reschedule.

As a healthcare provider at MedExpress, we know all too well the limitations of being sick. And since flu season is upon us, there may come a time when the tables are turned and your interviewer needs to reschedule due to illnesses. It happens to the best of us.

woman blowing her nose

Since this is likely right before your interview, don’t send an email as your only notification and crawl back into bed. Inboxes fill up quickly and it’s easy for messages to get lost in the shuffle. Pick up the phone and give your recruiter or hiring manager a call. If it’s the night before and you don’t want to bother them during off-hours, wake up early the next morning and give them a call first thing. Ideally you’d like to reach them, but if it goes to voicemail, leave a message briefly explaining the situation and your interest in rescheduling. Continue to express your interest and enthusiasm in the role, and see if you can reschedule at least a week away. This will give your body the proper time it needs to rest and recover, and eliminate the risk of being contagious and spreading germs to others.  Once you’ve confirmed a new date for the interview, send a quick thank you email expressing your appreciation for their flexibility.

As you work through this situation, it’s important to take note of how the recruiter or hiring manger handles this situation. How they react to this can potentially indicate a lot about the type of culture they foster for their team members. At the end of the day, you are interviewing the company to ensure it’s a right fit for you as much as you are for them. It’s important to align yourself with an organization that values the health and well-being of their team members, or potential team members, and wants to give them the time they need to get back to their healthy selves.


After your interview is rescheduled, the next important step is to take care of your health. If you’re not sure if you’ve come down with the flu, we have some helpful tips that can help point you in the right direction. You can also visit your local MedExpress where our friendly medical team can evaluate your symptoms and provide a treatment plan to get you back on your feet and healthy enough for the interview.

Once you are healthy and ready for your rescheduled in-person interview, don’t focus too much of your time dwelling on what happened. The length of an interview can be limiting, so it’s important to avoid focusing on something that doesn’t help tell the story of why you’re the perfect fit for the opportunity. It’s okay to briefly express your gratitude for their understanding and flexibility, but don’t make it the main focus.


Center Staff Recruiter

This is a hypothetical candidate scenario. It is not based on a real question asked by a candidate.

These are recommendations only and present the opinions of the author, which may differ from those of other employment recruiters and/or organizations posting job openings. As such, reliance upon suggestions contained herein does not, in any way, guarantee enhancement of the chances of securing an interview and/or position with MedExpress and/or any potential employer. Accordingly, reliance upon the opinions set forth herein is at the sole risk and discretion of the given applicant.

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