There have been a quite a number of discussions involving tips a job seeker should heed to impress a potential employer. These include reminders on how one should dress for an interview. There are also a number of body language tips on how to not seem nervous before, during, and after an interview. Others go for cheat sheets on how to eloquently answer some potential questions from the interview.
Sometimes, however, it’s the little things that we miss out on; and these little things are what make or break our destiny. One of those things that we might have missed when discussing how one should prepare for an interview is this: How early should you arrive for an interview? Whereas the standard answer is to arrive “on time,” how do we gauge such timeliness? Is there a standard and acceptable ideal time to arrive for an interview?
To know more about how early you should arrive for an interview, you’ve come to the right page. Let’s get on with it.
Arriving Early for a Job Interview: Why It’s Important
The moment you submit your application to a company and a hiring manager takes a look at it, the judgment starts. Every little thing that you do relating to your application will now be part of the screening process. From how you present yourself through your resume, to how you pick up your phone when they call you for an interview and to your arrival time and the moment they start the interview; they are already making mental notes on whether they would hire you.
With the goal of being hired, you need to leave a lasting positive impression by taking time to show up for the interview. As important as having the right answers to interview questions, being on time is also something that should be considered greatly. So why should you?
1. You are showing your potential employer the discipline you possess.
This says that you are a responsible employee with a commendable work ethic. You present yourself as someone who is responsible enough to respect everyone’s time and as someone who acknowledges and respects the time the company is allotting for the job hopefuls.
2. You spare yourself from the negativities of unforeseen circumstances.
Ripped your stockings on your way to the interview? Fear not, since you still have a lot of time before the interview to buy fresh ones. Unexpected long line at the reception? Everything’s good because you still have to spare.
Another determining factor in how early should you arrive for an interview is your knowledge and familiarity of the area. If you know that there is usually a traffic jam every morning, then you should know to adjust accordingly and go to the interview place early. By giving yourself ample time before the interview, you spare yourself from the unnecessary stress that you would be putting yourself on.
3. You have more time to maintain composure.
Arriving earlier than your interview schedule also gives you more time to compose yourself. You can give yourself some time to review some potential interview questions or research more about the company.
How Early Should You Arrive for an Interview?
The ideal time to arrive for a job interview is at least 15 minutes before the interview proper. It would be ideal for you if you were already settled in the holding area 15 minutes before the scheduled time of the interview. This would give you time to adjust and settle yourself and if ever there are any adjustments from your employer’s end, you would be spared from all the hassle.
Moreover, arriving early for a job would pose more advantages than arriving late. It is also safe to give yourself a good 30 minutes early to arrive at the building or the area of the interview right before coming up to the exact interview venue.
Additional Points to Consider
When deciding how early you should arrive for an interview, you need to consider a few pointers. One is the long lines or process you should expect at the reception of the building you will be interviewing in. If you are interviewing for a well-known company, expect an extensive and tight security by the time you arrive. You might be asked to log-in at the receptionist or even give some proof of identification. This would take some of your time.
Another thing to consider is the traffic. Especially during rush hours, expect that your commute will be affected, hence plan to arrive early. You wouldn’t want to arrive at your interview all sweaty because you ran two miles just to get out of a traffic jam.
Another If ever you will commute to go to your interview, you might also want to consider changing first before going to the interview. It is sometimes hard to commute wearing corporate attire, so you might like to change your wardrobe by the time you arrive.
Of course, if you decide to do this, ensure you arrive with ample amount of time to spare. Consider the amount of time you would need to freshen up or change. It would cause you more problems if you are already late AND you still have to change to a more suitable look.
Things to Do If You Arrive Too Early for the Interview
Showing up too early for an interview can sometimes be inevitable. Overthinking how early you should arrive for an interview, you might end up coming in way ahead of schedule.
Chill. That is fine. You may use this time to go to a nearby coffee shop and have some snack. You can also use this time to look around the area and immerse yourself; just like feeling the place right before moving in. If possible, chat with the employees, but stay professional. You can even chat with other interviewers as well. You might be able to gain a new friend or connection. More importantly, you can use this spare time to mentally practice answering questions.
Things to Do If You Arrive Late for the Interview
If ever there was a circumstance wherein you would be arriving late for an interview, be professional enough to let your interviewer know. Give your interviewer a call or send a message. Apologize and briefly explain your situation and ask for a consideration. Being late already entails a negative impact on your application, so might as well do something to remedy it. Let them know that it was not your intention to be late and be truthful about it.
The moment you arrive for the interview, apologize again and explain what happened. Do your best during the interview and make sure that you still look presentable enough. You do not want to give them any more reason to deduct more points from your application.
How Early Should You Arrive for an Online Interview?
The pandemic has indeed shaken up the workforce in different ways. Remote set-up has created quite abuzz these past few years, which also includes online interviews. Basically, the same principles still apply to virtual interviews as with the face-to-face ones. You still have to ensure that you present yourself well, even if you are just facing the computer screen.
In terms of how early you should arrive for an interview, virtual appointments generally require arrive ‘arrive’ just in time. Usually, interviewers would provide online meeting links beforehand. The best practice would be to enter the meeting room at least 3 minutes early. It would not look nice from your end if you would have your interviewer wait for you, even virtually. Some meeting links do not allow early logins, so it would be safe to join just a few minutes early.
Furthermore, it is also very important that you check everything beforehand. Is your camera working? How about your microphones? Is the link accessible? Those are some things that should be considered a few minutes before your virtual meeting starts.
Get Helpful Interview Tips from Our Career Experts
The golden mantra for this is that ‘it is better to arrive a few minutes early than to arrive a minute late’. There are so many things that you will have to think about when attending interviews. The hassle of being late or too early should not be your concern on the interview proper in order to focus and answer eloquently.
Need more help? We know the struggle of jobseekers these days; whether it’s curating a job-winning resume that stands out or deciding what career you should pursue. We want to be of service to the current and budding employees out there by sharing some of our tips that would help you land your dream job.
Resume Professional Writers’ career experts are here to lend a helping hand so that you can impress your potential employers. We have a curated selection of blogs that you can read and share with your friends to help you on your job-seeking journey. You may check out other helpful tips here.