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So... went to the hospital yesterday for an update on an ongoing issue. I presumed, based on phone calls and letters that it would just be an update to the x-ray I had last week.

However, that wasn't the case. I was admitted yesterday for an operation today. I will be out tomorrow with a view to rest on Thursday and Friday i.e. no exercise.

I have an interview on Friday. I feel I'll be well enough to go ahead with it and really do not want to delay it.

I've mentioned this to the internal recruiter but is it also worth mentioning during the interview? Side effects might just be tiredness/soreness which hopefully won't manifest itself to some nausea during the interview.

I don't want it to be seen as an excuse. Likewise if I do appear tired then I don't want them to think I've been out all night partying.

There's no real other slots available so Friday would be my only shot.

Update

I took the interview but didn't mention it as brilliantly other things happened such as my internet going down minutes before meaning I had to tether in an area with poor reception and then my bluetooth keyboard disconnected from my tablet. I didn't want to make it a hat trick!

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  • 29
    @JoeStrazzere I had a wisdom tooth extracted exactly one day before the interview with my current employer 5 yrs ago. I did mention it at the beginning to excuse my mumbling due to the extraction - In the end they said that they were not just impressed with how the interview went but also by the determination to attend in such circumstances - so I personally agree with Alan's answer below..
    – iLuvLogix
    Jan 25 at 16:27
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    No employer is going to assume that you're in generally poor health if you have a wisdom tooth removed. That's far different to someone who's admitted for an urgent operation following an ongoing health issue.
    – Ben Watson
    Jan 26 at 11:03
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    @iLuvLogix "they were not just impressed with how the interview went but also by the determination to attend in such circumstances " this may be the opposite signal that people (like me) want to send.
    – jcm
    Jan 26 at 21:31
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    @Stef my point is that if a candidate says "please can we reschedule, I've got an ongoing health condition and it's resulted in me being admitted to hospital for an urgent operation", an employer is likely to be wary of hiring them, as they'll assume that future unplanned absences will follow. That isn't the case with general dental work.
    – Ben Watson
    Jan 27 at 12:37
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    No. I didn't get the role but it was no doubt due to other factors. Feedback next week.
    – pee2pee
    Jan 29 at 20:37

5 Answers 5

98

Do yourself and them a favour and try to postpone.

Different people get impacted in different ways, and it's incredibly frustrating as an interviewer to get some excuse and you have to figure out to what degree the candidate is impacted.

Much better to get yourself right so you can be assessed to the same yardstick as everyone else.

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    "There's no real other slots available so Friday would be my only shot." I guess postponing it isn't really an option and might leave bad impression (even with a very valid reason and some confirmation of the upcoming operation)
    – iLuvLogix
    Jan 25 at 17:26
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    As an interviewer I'd rather you postpone. We'll find another time. I don't want to have to compare you to person X and have to remember that you were "disadvantaged" at the interview. In all honesty we'll probably forget (or ignore) that and compare your "best effort" on the day to everyone else's.
    – John3136
    Jan 26 at 5:34
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    Even if the slots are really fixed and nothing can be arranged, it's probably better to let the interviewers know about the operation beforehand.
    – ojs
    Jan 26 at 11:37
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    @iLuvLogix If it's the kind of place that's going to twist the thumbscrews because your invasive surgery is an inconvenience for them then it's better to find out they don't care about their employees before taking the job. How they respond is actually useful information for the interviewee.
    – J...
    Jan 26 at 18:02
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    I think the best way to send the message, "I've had an operation" is to ask to reschedule because of it. Then they know about the operation but it doesn't sound like an excuse. If they refuse to reschedule, then you can do the interview knowing that they've been informed. (That is, if you still want to interview at such a callous company.)
    – B. Goddard
    Jan 26 at 18:28
34

Tough one, but probably worth mentioning at the beginning. If they ask how are you then that's your opportunity, don't make a big deal "I'm just recovering from a small procedure, operating at about 90%", something like that.

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    Agreed. It might be better to be more specific about how it would impact the interview (e.g. "Sorry if I talk unclear, I had a dental procedure in hospital yesterday" or similar).
    – frIT
    Jan 26 at 11:54
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    Funny story - I once had to conduct an interview (i.e. I was asking the questions) after an unexpected dental anaesthetic. Had to take a colleague to interpret for me... and to warn me when I started dribbling!
    – Tom Wright
    Jan 26 at 17:21
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    Now I'm tempted to say this in every interview. Jan 27 at 1:12
7

If I was in that position I'd probably try to share it more as your own concern, i.e. more on emotional level, than in just a matter-of-fact voice that may sound like a poorly-diguised excuse.

So perhaps something like "I had this medical procedure yesterday and it shouldn't really affect me, but I'm a bit nervous that I may not give my 100% performance".

I don't think that would affect the technical assesment in any way, but may help building some rapport with the interviewer, and just saying that out load may help you, which is probably the biggest benefit to get here.

The "how are you", "well, a bit stressed" is a usual small-talk to kick-off an interview anyway, so there is no reason to not share your specific reason for being just a little bit more stressed.

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The responsible thing to do is to ask for postponement at least until after the weekend if the surgery is minor.

If you're mind isn't 100% during the interview then you are doing yourself a disservice by not nailing the interview process.

If you answer a question poorly then there really is no second chance to say something like this the following day:

Hey, for question XYZ I meant to say "insert perfect response here"

Being tired after surgery is understandable but not answering questions at your full potential is detrimental to your chances.

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  • But what if the mind is 100%, just the outer appearance is not?
    – Džuris
    Jan 26 at 20:17
  • @Džuris Per my answer that's probably fine. I guess you'd have to know beforehand how shallow the interviewer is.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jan 26 at 20:37
  • I would also add the obvious: do NOT interview until you can do so while following post-operation medical advice. Your doctor may want you to, for example, rest on a bed or couch for a day or more, or refrain from driving for a time.
    – moonman239
    Jan 28 at 1:42
1

I would be most inclined to mention this if you felt it might impact you should you be successful. I had an operation scheduled that I knew would see me signed off for two weeks when I went for interview.

I made sure both my future manager and HR knew that my condition was a problem me (but not my ability to do the job) and in the next three months I would likely be missing for two weeks.

Interviews are stressful, if you don't feel well enough I would look to delay for a few days. If you feel well enough then I just wouldn't mention it.

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  • I've had a similar experience too. One of my children was admitted to the hospital a couple of days before a prearranged interview. I made the recruiter aware and also the interview team when I arrived. It was a great icebreaker. I would definitely make them aware that you had unexpected surgery on an existing issue, but also state that it's not a chronic issue and wouldn't impact your work. When interviewing candidates, openness is one of the qualities I look for outside of the role competencies. I don't want someone who will try to hide anything they consider a weakness.
    – DWGKNZ
    Jan 25 at 15:24
  • @DWGKNZ I think most interviewers are fairly normal and understanding. I think talking about these things in light conversations during the interview is fine. I just wouldn't want to present it as an 'excuse'. If I wasn't 100% for the interview I would reschedule.
    – Dustybin80
    Jan 25 at 15:39

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