What to Do if You're Sick Before a Job Interview

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Getting sick right before a job interview poses a dilemma. On one hand, you don't want to run the risk of getting your interviewer sick. On the other hand, you’re trying to make a good first impression and canceling a job interview at the last minute isn't the best way to do that. If you had the job, you would likely push through in all but the sickest of circumstances without complaining to your boss, so approach your initial interview with the same mindset.

Take medicine if you have a cold, fever or upset stomach to try to eliminate your most visible symptoms. If your body can handle it, drink hot tea or soup to get something in your stomach and give you a little bit of energy.

Take a hot shower and get yourself looking as groomed and presentable as possible. If you're a woman, use concealer under the eyes to diminish dark circles and give yourself a fresh appearance.

Go to your interview as planned. Bring tissues and hand sanitizer, if necessary, as well as a bottle of water. You can mention that you're feeling a bit under the weather, but don't make a big deal out of being sick in an effort to get sympathy votes.

Conduct your interview as professionally as possible. Take a moment to sip water when you need to, wipe your nose and clear your throat, but don't let your illness get you down. An interview lasts a short period of time, so do your best to put on a professional appearance and work through it.


If you are contagious or have the type of illness that takes you to the restroom every few minutes, call with as much advance notice as possible, explain you are sick, and ask to reschedule.

Try to limit your contact with others during the interview. Cover your mouth with a tissue if you cough or sneeze, and make sure your hands are washed thoroughly before accepting a handshake. Offer hand sanitizer to the interviewer after the handshake to protect against your germs.

If you are interviewing in a healthcare environment, call the hiring manager and inform her of your illness and let her decide if the interview should be rescheduled.


Understand that if you do postpone an interview due to illness, you potentially reduce your chances of getting the job. This is especially true if the employer is conducting multiple interviews on the same day or needs to make an immediate hiring decision.