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

This question has been answered 11 times by professional recruiters and hiring managers. View their answers below.

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.

Admin answer example
"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."
Basic 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."
Landscaping answer example
"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." The interviewer wants to hear that you are reliable and can be depended on to arrive on time. They understand that life happens, and they want to hear how you will handle it. Show that you are responsible and that you can communicate with your team about any changes that might occur in your daily schedule due to unexpected circumstances. "
Manager answer example
"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."
Marketing answer example
"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."
Medical Assistant answer example
"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."
Retail answer example
"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."
Sales answer example
"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."
Security Manager answer example
"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."
Veterinary Assistant answer example
"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." 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 attendance at work. Sick children, traffic, car breakdowns... the list goes on. Most likely one of these issues has affected you before. How did you handle it? 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 that can arise."
XRay Technician answer example
"Breakdowns, wrecks, traffic jams, rain storms... the possibilities that could interfere with your morning route to work are endless. So how do you take the most responsible approach to these predicaments? Here's an example of how you could respond: "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." Showing that you take initiative and think ahead are the best examples to share during your interview. You want to come across as dependable and reliable. And when something goes wrong to keep you from showing up on time, always take the proactive approach."

More Interview Questions

View user-submitted Answers

How do you handle situations that could cause you to be late or miss work?
I tried to schedule my appointments around the doctors schedule. That way patient care would be less interupted.
Once or twice in two years.
Do my best to thwart them, and if they cannot be avoided, call in with notice.
Communicate with work if it's something I can't control. But if it something j can control I would make the necessary changes to avoid being last.
There are some time situations that you can not help avoid but if I know that there are things that can cause me to be late I'll ensure to avoid them by preparing the day before. For example the wether can cause you to be late to work. So I'll be mindful to head out earlier form home to ensure I make it to work on time.
Definitely calling ahead of time to be professional at all times.
I have a great work attendance record.
Very few. Maybe 1 day a year.
I always try to avoid these things. But in our day with family and illnesses that can occur, I will either call and try to make arrangements or ask for some assistance.
I try to notify my employer as far ahead of time as possible if I might be late or miss work.
I did not miss much work at my last job. The only time that I called in was when I got really sick with pneumonia.
None at Banner. I rarely miss work for being sick and it may be 1 day in a year, I find that if I take periodic 3 or 4 day weekends using my vacation time, I rarely get sick.
I prep as much as I can the night before, so if it ever came up it is easy to pick up where I left off, a flu is never predictable unless it is the night before, I would call supervisor and let them know, if it was ever necessary.
Call the supervisor. However, I rarely miss work and I'm very punctual.
If the situation is out of my control, I will call my manager ahead of time and let them know that I may be late to work.
No, time is Gold.
It only happend when unpredicted traffic apierce on road.
No I have never had a job before but I am very dedicated to getting this job and working hard.
I only take time off if I really need to ex. Sick, emergencies.
No, punctuality is one of my pet peeves. I'll always arrive before work starts to give myself more than enough time to prepare and organize everything for the work day. Whenever an employee is late, it sets back everyone else's day. You never wanna be held responsible for stealing peoples time!
Yes when it snowed in our area, otherwise I was always 30 tp 45 min, early.
I have never been late due to my own timekeeping, I always aim to punctual and on time, leaving twenty minutes early to account for any delays in traffic.
No, I have never been late to work. I make sure I leave home so that I can arrive to work at least 15 minutes before my shift starts.
In my life working, it has only been 2 times that I have.
Well I did arrive 30minutes before reaumption time everyday.
Yes and no, the only time I've been late was for bad weather made it hard to get out.
Rarely. I pride myself on being on time.
No,I try my best prepare early to avoid the traffic and other emergency situation.
Never called in sick and I never missed a project deadline. Sometimes I have underestimated the time it would take to do a part of the project.
I'm always concerned whether I'm on time or not.
Yes but I have always followed the rules of my supervisor to notify the correct people.
Very rarely. Things happen and life happens at times.
Yes, I have been late for work.
No I have not been late to work tardiness is no way to go.
I'm a very punctual person and the only reason I would be late for work is when I am in serious trouble such as having a car problems, and due to weather and climate conditions.
We all have but it is not a habit im very punctual.
2-3 times winter condidtions.
Occasionally I am normally very punctual though.
Yes, my motorcycle broke down.
I am usually on time. There may have been a couple times I slept in and ran 5-10 minutes late.
Not in the last 3 years of my work history, And prior to that my tardiness was due to car troubles or other minor causes.
No i'm not a late person.
I have not been late for work.
I usually like to be 10 or 15 mins early to work to leave time for some unforeseen circumstances. Once or twice I have been caught in traffic and been late.
Very few times due to snow or unexpected detours.
I've had to deal with some difficult aggressive dogs. I overcame this with practice bathing and walking them.
My most difficult ecperience would have to be whenever I have to put an animal down. Not only do I have to do that to the animal and watch it die, but I also have to see the owner's feelings. I deal with it by know that it is just a part of life and I know that the animal is in a better place.
The most difficult experience that I faced at the Durham Humane Society was viewing how deplorable the conditions were within the small rodent room, and having the employee in charge of that room refuse to let anyone clean in there. I discovered a bug infestation amongst the food, which helped to resolve a major infestation occurring within the shelter.
Well, I definetly wouldn't like it but I think I could handle it. At least I knew I tried to help that animal as best as I could.
One of the most difficult situations is always euthanasia. Even though you know the animal was sick and this was the best option it is never easy.
The most difficult decision I have experienced was attending a home visit to put to sleep the family dog. I just focused on how hard it must be for the family and that they are relying on the vet and I to be completely calm and in control.
Healthy 6 month old puppy went Bradycardic on me during a dental extraction. Turned ISO down, called doctor in, turned the patient off, and drew up emergency meds.
Based on previous experience while volunteering I would have to say witnessing staff not treat animals with the respect they deserve.
Ive actually never been in a vet setting, this would be my first job working as a vet assistant and I feel I would make a great assistant as I am very passionate about helping animals big or small, and I would like to grow in this line of work.
The most difficult situation I have faced is a dog fight. I was able to break the fight apart quickly.
I was faced with the decision to keep my horse alive and in pain by permanent lameness or to put her down and out of her misery. I ended up putting her down because I knew that that was best for her.
The most difficult situation I was in was my first week as an extern at the veterinary hospital and I was watching a dental. The dogs pre-anesthetic blood work was completely normal. A few minutes into the dental the dogs heart rate dropped to 0. Although I was really nervous I stayed calm and I drew up emergency drugs for the experienced technician I was shadowing. I also administered LRS to the dog while the dvm gave CPR. I believe I handled I well because I didnt freak out and crack under the stress.
One of the most difficult situations I have dealt with was the passing of a young kitten that was rescued and I helped raise. He passed away due to a birth defect, but having been so involved in his life, it was very tough to let go. I dealt with it by seeking solace in my peers that were also very involved in helping raise him. It also helped for me to focus on the other animals that needed me.
When I had to put a kitten who had rabies to sleep I dealt with it very well.
Probably seeing sights of euthenasia and just breathing. Going home and shed a tear or two.
Watching an owner who did not outright abuse their animal, but you could tell the dogs were not getting the best care. SInce there was no true abuse, it could not be reported and there was no way to legally remove the animals from her care.
As I've stated previously, I do not have any type of experience in the veterinary field. However, a very difficult situation occurred with a beloved childhood pet about two months ago. My grandmother rescued her little bichon named Josie when I was in high school and I bonded with her a great deal, she was one of my closest fur-friends. However, Josie had been struggling with some severely debilitating health issues for over a year, and it got to the point where her insides were rotting and she was slowly dying a painful death. Therefore, my grandparents and the rest of us came to the conclusion that the best way to help Josie was euthanasia. It was a difficult decision and we dealt with it through grieving, talking with one another and doing things to preserve Josie's memory.
Handling difficult animals. I made up a plan, executed the plan and delivered the desired result.
Monkey almost made full contact with me by accident. I kept my eyes on her and never turned my back as I slowly exited the secondary enclosure and locked it.
I will be honest that I do not have much vet experience but I am willing to learn and grow in any area that can help me work efficiently to handle any situation.
Having my dog put to sleep. He was the most loving dog anyone could have. It took me time to deal with the fact he was gone but it dealt with it by remembering the memories.
I was restraining a very small dog being euthanized with a avery large gauge needle. I remained calm and used my soothing voice to calm the little dog until he went under beuthanasia.
I had a phobia of blood, I learnt that we have the flight or fight instinct and I was best to fight and at the same same realise I could walk away.
The most difficult situation is when I'm dealing with a client that refuses to deal with me and just wants to talk to the doctor. I explained that I had to get a history first and stayed as calm as possible.
Putting an animal down. But I have learned from those experiences and I know it's better for both parties.
The toughest part of learning to handle animals, for me, was getting over the possibility of getting bit. It's really a mind over matter situation. It's all about experience and knowing how to approach an animal. I've learned that if you are handling them properly, you rarely get bit.
The most difficult situation I have faced was once when an owner wanted all the staff in the room to pray for her animal, and I stood there while the vet explained the policy at the hospital and continued to restrain the animal.
While volunteering at the spca without any experience yet it was getting nervous rabbits in and out of cages, then trying to catch the rabbits again.
There was this beautiful Rottweiler who came in for exploratory surgery, she had a tennis ball sized malignant tumour and yannie the vet made the call to her owners. He was very upset telling them hat their 5 year old dog had to be pts. I remember the event very vividly. However for the sad times there are 1000 happy ones.
The first time I saw a surgery performed on an animal I got sick and had to run out, since then I have taken zooloogy and anatomy in high school were we perfomed surgeries on animals.
Medically, you have to be incredibly attentive to who has what and the procedures that need to be put in place in feeding and cleaning in order to maintain a sanitary environment for other dogs and have a quicker recovery for the dog with the illness.
My hardest experience was trying to walk a dog that was much bigger than I. It dragged me at first until I was able to find a way to control it.
Learning to intubation for a dog. I felt I could've done better but I did my best in that situation.
Dealing with the larger animals. Because of my disability restraining them can be difficult, but I get around it by working with my team in order to get the job done.
I honestly have not had any difficult experiences with animals in a work, or professional setting. I have however, had to deal with my friend losing her dog recently. It had a lot of health problems for a long time, and it was hard to see them keep the poor dog alive when it really was struggling. They eventually decided to put him down.
Seeing animals on the street or with out a home.
Dog's paw got run over calm and composed.
The first time I had to hold a cat to be intubated, I didn't expect the medication to work so quickly and I felt woozy. I dealt with it by taking a break and letting someone else do it. The next time I had to hold the cat I had no wooziness in side me since I knew what to expect.
There was a situation when a group of clients came in with an injured dog. They were under suspicion of abusing an illegal substance and the patient was under a lot of stress and possible infection. I was the assistant available for holding the patient while the Doctor came up with a treatment plan along with two other technicians. I was calm, collected and attentive towards my superiors and when left alone in the room with the clients I was polite and cautious. The situation was later handed to the police, I wrote my experience down on paper and sent it in to them.
Neglect or improper care of animals. talked with caretaker.
When the animal is terminally ill it can be an emotional time. I try to be empathetic and relate to the owner and be there for support. I stay calm and patient and go through my own grieving process in private.
Putting Down of an animal where I kept all the emotions inside of myself.
Convince owner take their pet to do health check regular.
Witnessing staff members having to deal with aggressive clients. I did not deal directly with the situation as I was a volunteer in the clinic, but the experience was an emotional set-back.
Cancer patients. I gave the dog some love and then proceeded to do as I was instructed to do to assist with the animal and Veterinary Dr.
I had to have my puppy put to sleep., I did have strong emotions, I loved him so much.
The most difficult situation I have endured in my experience with animals is not only working with cats with behavioral issues but as well as talking to more difficult potential adopters. A specific time was when a lady was so persostant in taking one kitten home even when she stated she believes cats are better being outdoors, she may be interested in declawing and is not interested in another kitten when she doesn't have any presently. All of which go against our specific adoption rules. She then believed I wasn't qualified enough to tell her this and I calmly explained to her the reasons for these rules and ways she can prevent them as well as alternatives. She still seemed adimint on having her way so I told her she could further talk to the director or an older volunteer. After she left we were worried she would come back so for the safety of our cats I wrote a note and posted it on our reminders saying to be careful when interviewing.
Most difficult situation was having to watch over very sick animals in the icu unit. I dealt with it by giving the animals the very best care I could.
Dealing with unhappy customers is always a very tough task. I, when confronted, would listen and proclaim my understanding to the individual. I know, more than anything, they simply want to vent about how they were wronged... After I would try my hardest to get past the situation.
A very aggressive client at the front desk. I was calm and fair but firm and spoke to a senior member of staff who gave me the information I needed to rectify the situation.
I am experienced with dog it's poison case I mean one dog bite that time I dnot know what I'm dng my senior deal this case.
I took my cat of 15 years to have it put down because I accidently hit it with my own car. I dealt with it the best that I could which was one day at a time.
The most difficult situation I have faced so far in my experience was when I assisted with the euthanasia because I had never seen one myself and it hit me hard, but I told the doctor afterwards that I had never done that and she asked if I was okay and I told her that I was.
At the equine hospital I shadowed at, there was a veterinarian that was completing an internship there and she was very unpleasant. She would talk down to me and tell the other interns not to help me learn and yelled curse words. One day in particular she was particularly aggressive towards me, I decided to be the bigger person. I gave her space and looked elsewhere for help, I ended up learning a lot from the interns that were willing to help. I still keep in touch with them.
Seeing ferrets go through a severe illness and either dying or having to be euthanased . I allowed myself to feel the normal emotions but kept in control so that procedures and practical tasks would be carried out proficiently with stress reduced and to give support to others involved. Knowing that staying calm will make the process easier is very helpful to myself and others.
The most difficult situation I faced was having to tell someone their pet had passed away. I tried my best to tell them in the most caring and compassionate way possible for such a heartbreaking circumstance.

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