We have had so many recent snow events (and predictions of ominous weather) that I’ve lost track. I’ve stopped worrying about it and now I go about my days until the weather forces a change. But this did get me thinking about how job seekers handle uncertain weather when they have an interview scheduled. A similar case exists for professionals who have agreed to speak at a meeting or informal event. I put together a few guidelines on how to handle foreboding forecasts.
If reputable sources say that snow will be falling (and will have accumulated) while you are heading to your scheduled event, develop a contingency plan. Fear of snow is quite common in Baltimore. If you are the type of person who hates to drive the minute you see the first few snowflakes, do not assume everyone is like you and cancel plans. Forecasters have a flair for the dramatic, and if the “storm of the century” winds up being a storm in a teacup, a cancellation will look flaky. When it comes to winter driving, you can be responsible without going overboard. Call a friend or relative who might be willing to drive you, or take a taxi.
In advance of a storm, call the person with whom you set up the interview and say something like, “I am really looking forward to coming in tomorrow. A little snow or ice won’t stop me, but since this is Baltimore, I’m wondering if this turns out to be a much bigger event than predicted, how will I be able to know if the interviewer is still able to meet [or if the program will go forward]?” With this type of phrasing, you show concern about other people’s safety, as well as a desire to keep the program or interview on track.
At a minimum, request a cell phone number for a person to call so you can find out if you are still a go if the weather is bad. Then if you need to cancel, you can go straight to the source, minimizing disruptions. If the interview or event is important enough, see if you can stay at a hotel the night before, or stay with a friend who lives very close to the location. The next day, you can walk or take a taxi to your event.
Remember, try every other way you can think of to get there first, and be sure to (briefly) summarize what you’ve done to attempt to get there. As soon as the weather clears, if you have not heard back about rescheduling, call or send a polite email expressing your disappointment in having to cancel and requesting a new date and time. Planning and being willing to go the extra mile (with a touch of graciousness) will serve you well when the weather doesn’t!