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How do you handle situations that could cause you to be late or miss work?

11 Answer Examples | Learn how to answer this question from professional recruiters

How to Answer

Proper planning will get you far, but sometimes life happens, and you'll need a plan B. Think about some of the variables in your life that could affect your ability to arrive on time for work. Sick children, traffic, car breakdowns. The list goes on. It may not be possible for everything to work out so smoothly, getting your shift covered or still making it to work on time. Your interviewer is looking to see that you are proactive and that you can handle the stress of unexpected situations.

How do you handle situations that could cause you to be late or miss work?
Answer example

"I stay calm and composed when issues arise. My dad got rear ended one time when driving me to school. I texted my friend to see if she could tell my teacher what happened. I explained the situation to my teacher when I got to class. If this happened on my way to work, I would call right away to ensure someone could cover my shift."


"I am very careful to time my day appropriately, but if an emergency were to come up, I would phone immediately and help find coverage if necessary."


"I would handle a situation like this in the same way that I would ask my teammates to react. Communicate the hiccup right away, give a clear idea of my timeline and then stay late that day if I needed to catch up on work missed from the morning."


"I am a very punctual person so, if I were to be late, that would stress me out a bit. I would communicate my tardiness to my boss immediately, by phone call or text, and then do everything in my power to get to work as soon as possible."


"In addition to profusely apologizing upon late arrival, I would offer to stay late to make up for hours. In retail, I understand that if I am late for my shift, I am most likely affecting someone else's ability to leave work on time. Rest assured, I am a reliable and punctual person."


"I hope never to be late! Growing up, my mom always said, 'If you're just on time, then you're late.' I always try to arrive 15 minutes early, but apparently, there are unforeseen circumstances that can arise. I handle surprises using common sense and keeping courtesy to others top of mind."


"As a teacher, it's imperative that I am on time for my class. If late, I would alert administration so that they could find someone from the faculty to be a placeholder in my classroom until my arrival. If I were to be out for the day unexpectedly, I would hustle to find a substitute teacher immediately."

Medical Assistant

"I stay calm and composed when issues arise. I got rear ended one time on the way to work. I called my boss immediately and then called one of my co-workers to see if they could fill in for me for the first couple hours of my shift."


"If I thought I might be late, I would first check to see if I could take a different route to work. I always leave myself extra time to get to work and get settled, and this has helped prevent me from being late in the past. I would definitely call my boss to let him know and also explain that I would be willing to skip my lunch or stay late to make up for the time. It can be frustrating when your car breaks down or if you get into traffic due to bad weather, but I stay calm and communicate with my team so they know when to expect me at work and that I am doing my best to arrive on time."

XRay Technician

"I always arrive to work at least 15 minutes before I am expected to be there, just to give me extra time in case something happens. I also make sure I have the numbers of my co-workers and boss so that I can call to let them know if I'm stuck or might be running late."

Security Manager

"I got a flat tire on the way to work. Even though I left 15 minutes early, I knew it would set me back and I might be late. I called my coworker to let him know and then I called my boss. I ended up being late for a meeting, but everyone was understanding because I was so proactive and responsive from the minute it happened."

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