I know this is a bit of a niche (and some may say basic) topic to cover but in case you’re wondering, this post will cover how early to arrive at your interview and a few other tips.
It is possible to be too early to an interview
It is important to be punctual for job interviews and arriving a little bit early is always a best practice, but too early is actually not ideal.
I’ve had a lot of people arrive 30+ minutes before their interviews and while it’s not the worst thing in the world, it is sort of awkward.
Best case scenario, you’re sitting in the lobby for a really long time as people walk back and forth. Worst case, the company doesn’t have a designated waiting area so you’re plopped down right in the mix of things. This happened to a client of mine and it was definitely an odd note to start the interview on.
Arriving 15 minutes prior to your interview is perfect
For me, arriving 10-15 minutes prior to the start of your interview is the sweet spot. You’ll have time to compose yourself and observe your surroundings, but won’t be sitting around forever.
If check-in or security takes a little longer than expected you’ll have enough of a buffer for that.
Arrive at the general area before that
All this being said, I do not recommend cutting it close when it comes to commuting to an interview.
While you don’t need to enter the building until about 15 minutes prior, getting to the general area before that isn’t a bad idea. In NYC, subways can be unpredictable and if you’re driving, there’s always the possibility of unexpected traffic.
Basically, whatever Google Maps is telling you, add between 20-30 minutes to allow for delays or other surprises.
You can always hop into a nearby Starbucks or wait a few extra minutes in your car if you have a smooth commute.
Pick your transportation wisely
When you’re heading to an interview, I’d suggest taking the mode of transportation that enables you to be calm and comfortable.
For example, the NYC subway is a great way to get from point A to point B but in the middle of August, I would probably splurge on the cab fare so I don’t arrive sweaty and disheveled.
If you’re running late
We’re all human and sometimes despite our best efforts, we’re running late for an interview.
This in itself doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker but please, please, please – give a heads up as soon as you realize. My suggestion is to call the person who scheduled the interviews directly and if they don’t answer, leave a voicemail and also follow up with an email.
I know this all seems pretty minor, but the little things do add up and form the company’s overall impression of you.
Good luck with your interview and if you’re in the process of preparing, definitely check out our Ace the Interview online course as well!