In my mind, there is no question too small to answer on The Prepary. Sometimes the smallest questions about the job search and interview process can be the most daunting. So here’s a short post about this common question: How early should I be for a job interview?
Does it matter how early I am?
Well, yes and no. No because being aggressively early probably won’t count against you if you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Yes in that it does become part of the first impression you make on the recruiter/interviewer and there is a such thing as too early.
Why would it hurt to be too early to a job interview?
Again, I don’t think this is a huge deal by any means but basically, being way too early is just a bit awkward for everyone involved. Think of it like arriving too early to a party. People aren’t quite ready for you, they’re still setting up, there may not be a natural place for you to sit and wait, etc.
Arriving really early to an interview has the same sort of issues. Perhaps there isn’t a lobby for you to wait in and the conference room reserved for the interview isn’t ready yet. Perhaps there isn’t a receptionist and your interviewer is in another meeting and has to step out of it to greet you.
Anyway, you get the picture – showing up too early can just be a minor annoyance (logistically) to your interviewers.
I know I can’t be late… so how early should I be?
There’s no magic number but I’d say showing up anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes early is a good rule of thumb. That way you don’t have to awkwardly wait, but you don’t risk running late either.
Traffic, public transportation, and many other factors can make getting to an interview somewhat unpredictable. Just because you don’t want to walk into the building 30 minutes early doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan to be in the area around then (just to be safe). You can always grab a cup of coffee, wait in your car, sit on a bench etc. if you’ve built in too much time.
What small questions do you have about your search? Leave a comment and I’ll answer them in a future post!