So you’ve spent a lot of time and a considerable amount of effort getting prepared for your interview. You’ve researched the company’s products, market and people, and you feel set and ready to go.
You’re a well prepared and professional person, so you leave yourself plenty of time to get there. You plan for all eventualities and set off well in advance of the time you would normally leave to cover the same distance.
Traffic is light and no disasters occur on the way and you arrive in the company’s car park 40 minutes early. Everything about this experience so far has gone perfectly. You want to show the company that you are keen. Plus it’s cold in the car.
What do you do?
This question has cropped in one form or another a few times over the last couple of months, and our answer is pretty straightforward: being *very* early for an interview is just as bad as being late for an interview.
When you arrive for an interview, the interviewer will be told of your arrival. Whilst you’ll probably be allowed to wait in reception, the interviewer will likely be in the middle of their preparation, in another interview or currently working on another task that they were planning on completing before you arrive. They will be aware of you, sitting there and their instinct will be to come and greet you and to ensure that you are given a warm and friendly welcome. No interviewer wants to know that you are sitting in reception on your own, effectively waiting for them…by being very early, you will unsettle the interviewer – and that is a very negative thing to do.
We understand that you want to be seen as keen and organised, so here’s our advice: arrive in reception exactly 8 minutes before your interview is due to start. This means that, by the time you have been greeted and have signed in (or followed whatever procedure is required), and by the time the interviewer is told of your presence, it is likely to be 2 or 3 minutes before your interview is due to start. The impression this creates in the interviewer’s mind is of someone on time and organised. They will have been expecting you at that time, so you won’t have unsettled them. Everyone is happy.
If you cut it finer than 8 minutes, you start to run the risk of all sorts of things happening. What if there’s a queue at reception? What if you suddenly realise that you’re on the ground floor and the office you need is on floor 120? Get there earlier than 8 minutes and you run the risk of unsettling people.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you’re going to get your arrival time wrong, try and get it wrong by being on the early side, and not the late side. Because there’s just no justification for being late!