Poor Punctuality in the Workplace: Is It a Deal Breaker?

As you’re working through the hiring process, at what point do you ask the applicant about their punctuality? Does it even come up? Or is this a question you save for their references during the background check?

Depending on your industry and the position in question, the issue of punctuality may not register high on your list of hiring priorities in comparison to other, industry-specific qualifications. But in general, punctuality and reliability is a boon to employers.

Late Days: Standards and Frequency

Most employers aren’t going to terminate an employee for a single offense, but some might not consider hiring one if their references report a chronic habit for being late to work. But how often is too often? What standard of punctuality do you personally keep?
Interestingly, about 16% of workers admit to being late to work on a weekly basis, according to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder in December of last year. And almost 30% report at least one tardy a month, which is about 5% more than last year.

Reasons for Being Late

The survey included more than 2,600 hiring managers or HR personnel and at least 3,400 workers across a range of industries. In a recent article, the results of this survey were compiled to include a list of the most outrageous reasons workers gave for their tardiness.

Here are a few that made the list:

  • I forgot it wasn’t the weekend.
  • I put petroleum jelly in my eyes.
  • I had to watch a soccer game that was being played in Europe.
  • I thought Flag Day was a legal holiday.
  • My pet turtle needed to visit the exotic animal clinic.
  • The wind blew the deck off my house.
  • I overslept because my kids changed all the clocks in the house.
  • I was cornered by a moose.
  • My mother locked me in the closet.
  • The pizza I ordered was late being delivered, and I had to be home to accept/pay for it.
  • The sunrise was so beautiful I had to stop and take it in.
  • My mother-in-law wouldn’t stop talking.
  • My dad offered to make me a grilled cheese sandwich, and I couldn’t say no.

Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you? Maybe you’ve heard (or made) even more bizarre excuses! Share them in the comments!