Job Search Tip of the Week #17 (2017)


How to End Your Interview Before it Even Begins

When Early Is a Bad Thing

How early is too early?

You know that a late arrival to an interview makes for a bad first impression and could disqualify you as a job candidate. But did you know that showing up to an interview too early may also have the same effect?

Just like a late arrival, too early of one comes across as inconsiderate of your interviewer’s time. Too early an arrival may cause your interviewer to feel rushed and to change his or her schedule so you’re not in the waiting room long. Keep in mind that you were scheduled for a certain time for a specific reason – because that’s when it was deemed most convenient for your interviewer.

You want to represent yourself as a respectful and punctual individual. Aim to arrive at the office no more than five to ten minutes early. As we suggested last week, you can ensure that you’re right on time by conducting a test-travel run to the office the day before your scheduled interview (if it’s on a Monday, execute your test-run the Friday before) so that you can have a realistic idea of the time it takes to get there. Add thirty minutes to account for traffic and weather incidentals.

If on the day of your interview you arrive to the office more than ten minutes prior to your scheduled interview time, wait in your car or a nearby coffee shop. Avoid biding your time in the waiting room, where you can be an annoyance if space is limited (you don’t want to have people scrambling around the office trying to figure out where to put you) or if no one else is there (it may make the receptionist feel obligated to socialize with you to fill the awkward silence, which disrupts his or her workday).

In addition, too early of an arrival translates to “I don’t have anywhere else to be,” and may make your interviewer question why you’re not a “hot” candidate and landing interviews elsewhere. In other words, if you want to convey to an interviewer that you and your time are valuable too, don’t arrive too early. If you do, you’ll be perceived as desperate and diminish your value.

Remember: Being too early, or too late, to an interview may be why you didn’t get the job. Arrive no more than five to ten minutes prior to your scheduled interview time, and never be late!

Sound Off: How early do you think is too early to show up for an interview?

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Image Credit: Chris Hallbeck