This is the perfect time to show up for an interview.
If you've ever wondered, “How early should you be for an interview?”, wonder no more! In this edition of #AskAmanda, you'll learn how to plan for the ideal interview arrival time.
Q: How early should you arrive for an interview?
Is there an ideal time to show up for a job interview? And can you ever be too early? — Paul H.
There is such a thing as showing up too early for an interview. While this is not the worst interview mistake you can make, showing up very early for an interview is a common misstep you can easily avoid. I get it. The last thing you want to do is under-budget for the time it will take you to commute to the office and end up arriving late to the interview. However, arriving extremely early for a job interview won't earn a candidate any brownie points with the employer, either.
The employer or interviewer may read your arrival time as a sign of desperation. Much like in dating, job seekers want to appear interested in the job opportunity, but not desperate or overly eager. When you show up incredibly early for an interview, it's off-putting and sends the signal that you don't have anywhere else to be. Remember, the interviewers or hiring managers likely have other appointments and meetings scheduled. When you arrive too early, you could throw a curveball in their schedules and leave a bad impression. Rather than wowing them with your punctuality, you could inadvertently frustrate the hiring manager or company before the interview even begins.
So, how early should you be for an interview?
I recommend showing up about 15 minutes early before your interview. That way, you have a few minutes to check in with the receptionist, use the restroom to freshen up, and get your bearings before you head into the interview. When scheduling your interview, ask the coordinator if you're expected to arrive ahead of your interview time to fill out any paperwork. Some recruiters and employers will ask you to come in a bit early for this reason.
How to arrive at the perfect time for your job interview
Now that you know how early you should be for your job interview, let's talk about ways to ensure you arrive within that ideal timeframe. If you have the opportunity, consider doing a dress rehearsal of the interview day. Commute to the office location at the same time of day your interview is scheduled to take place so you are familiar with the route and can properly budget your travel time. If that isn't an option, take advantage of apps like Google Maps and Waze to plot your commute and take into account any reported traffic or travel delays. When in doubt, give yourself an extra 30 minutes to avoid showing up late due to an unforeseen issue.
What to do if you arrive too early for the interview
If you arrive at the location of your interview more than 15 minutes ahead of your scheduled appointment, be prepared. Look up the area ahead of time to find a coffee shop or something similar where you can hang out until you're ready to head into the building.
If you have more questions about interviewing or simply want to feel more confident before your next interview, considering working with a TopInterview coach one-on-one. Learn more.
Amanda Augustine is a certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW) and the resident career expert for Talent Inc.'s suite of brands: TopResume, TopCV, and TopInterview. On a regular basis, she answers user questions like the one above. Have a question? Take a look at her career advice or ask a question on her Quora page.