Knowing how to answer possible interview questions is not enough to get you the job. Your actions, body language, attentiveness, and punctuality also win you a point.
Arriving early for an interview puts you in a relaxed state of mind that helps you answer interview questions thoughtfully and comprehensively, which can make you a more memorable candidate.
If you’ve been wondering how early you should arrive for an interview, this article explains it all.
Table of contents
- Why Should I Arrive Early For An Interview?
- How To Prepare To Arrive Early For An Interview
- How Early Should I Arrive For An Interview?
- What To Do When You Arrive Too Early To An Interview
- FAQs On How Early Should You Arrive For An Interview
Why Should I Arrive Early For An Interview?
Showing up early to an interview gives you time to reflect, recollect and mentally prepare yourself for the interview.
If you happen to find yourself 20-30 minutes early, you can find somewhere calm to stay other than the busy interview hall.
Here are a few benefits of arriving early to an interview session:
1. You become comfortable with your surroundings
Being early for your interview allows you to become acquainted with your new surroundings, making you more relaxed and focused.
Being late switches your emphasis to how you’ll phrase an apology and how good your alibi is, as well as possibly concocting a new alibi. This is a pointless interruption right before your interview.
2. Being early shows commitment
If you are punctual, it conveys regards. It also shows a level of professionalism that most employers expect as a given.
Many employers view lateness as a sign of disrespect and some will even regard it as displaying an “I don’t give a damn about you and your firm” attitude. Hence punctuality is key.
3. Avoiding a downward spiral
If you spend the first few minutes of your interview making excuses and apologies, you’re already on the wrong track, as many potential employers will interpret this behavior as a warning indication of things to come.
Regardless of what you say later in the interview, the experience has started on a sour note, and it will require more effort to put up a good result.
Punctuality communicates respect, professionalism, and order. It also aids in your relaxation and avoids a potential downward spiral by beginning your interview in a negative tone.
4. You get prepared mentally
Arriving early to interviews, meetings or any other engagement gives you time to breathe and get yourself mentally for the task ahead. It gives you time to get familiar with the environment and also reflect on the upcoming interview and how to leave a perfect impression.
Plan to get to the interview site (or near it) 20-30 minutes early, so you’ll still have a buffer of time in case anything happens or some time to collect your thoughts and mentally prepare. But don’t go inside the office.
Instead, sit in your car or in a Starbucks across the street until 5-10 minutes before game time, when you can walk into the lobby calmly and collectedly
How To Prepare To Arrive Early For An Interview
How far do you live from the interview location? This is one of the most crucial questions to think about when figuring out how to fulfill the interview schedule.
If you live a great distance from the interview location, you should leave home extremely early so that you may get to the venue well before the interview begins.
When deciding on the best time to arrive at an interview location, you should keep traffic congestion in mind. If you will be taking public transportation to the interview location, you should incorporate this into your decision when deciding when to leave home for the interview.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare to arrive early for an interview:
1. Wake up early
According to businessinsider, getting up early gives your body a chance to reach peak wakefulness naturally.
Setting your alarm for an earlier time may be difficult at first, and you may have to drag yourself out of bed for the first few days or weeks, but once it becomes a habit, you’ll likely notice a significant change in your energy levels and mental clarity in the morning.
Waking up early on the interview day gives you an improved mood and concentration.
2. Get your clothes ready a day before the interview
Planning what you’re going to wear to the interview in advance makes more sense. It takes one less thing off of your mind in the morning and allows you to focus your energy on more important things.
Make sure your clothes are well ironed, stain-free, and your hair well-groomed. You can also pack your bag the night before so that all you have to do is grab it and go in the morning.
3. Confirm the time and venue of the interview
You need to confirm the interview time and venue a couple of days before the interview date. This will help you organize better and know when to leave for the interview.
If you’re nervous about making it on time especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area, you can visit the area before the D-day to get familiar with the location.
If that isn’t an option, use apps like Google Maps and Waze to plan your commute and factor in any traffic or delays that have been reported.
When in doubt, add 30 minutes to your arrival time to avoid being late due to an unforeseen difficulty.
4. Review your documents
Review your documents to be sure everything is intact. Having a well-arranged document shows the hiring manager that you are confident, both in your abilities and in the interview itself.
If you have to think too hard about a question relating to your resume or cover letter, it could signal to the hiring manager that you weren’t truthful on your application and raise a red flag.
5. Ensure all logistics to get to the interview venue is in place
Plan your route and estimate the time it will take you to get to the interview site. If you’re driving, keep in mind traffic and weather conditions that could cause delays.
If you’re utilizing public transportation, double-check that the subway or buses are on time and that nothing has altered owing to planned maintenance.
Also, if you’re doing a video interview, figure out where you’ll be and double-check that your camera and microphone are working.
Regardless of how you’re getting to the interview, give yourself at least 30 minutes extra. If you arrive early, you can find a nearby cafe or simply relax in your car.
How Early Should I Arrive For An Interview?
Unless the hiring manager specifies otherwise, you should show up 15 minutes early for a job interview. Some candidates might use the 15 minutes before their interview to go over their resumes, finish paperwork, or mentally prepare.
You can also notify the company’s administrative assistant or receptionist when you arrive so they can notify the hiring manager that you’re available.
That way, the recruiting manager can greet you, study your résumé before meeting with you, or start the interview early if that’s what they want.
See Also: Top 20 Executive Interview Questions
What To Do When You Arrive Too Early To An Interview
If you find yourself too early for an interview, the best thing to do is to relax. Relaxing before your interview improves your confidence.
You can also lookup 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.
Here are a few things you can do when you arrive early for an interview:
1. Stay calm
Stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine are released when you are stressed. According to David Parnell, a legal consultant, communication coach, and author of “The Failing Law Firm: Symptoms and Remedies,” they can either somewhat or significantly impair your capacity to think effectively, depending on your stress level.
“To prevent this hormonal elixir and keep your mind clear, make sure you are calm, collected, and cool in the minutes preceding up to the interview,” he says.
2. Be friendly to the people you meet around
When you get to the interview venue, politely exchange pleasantries with the people you come in contact with such as the gateman, receptionist, or any other worker in the company.
This way, you don’t come off as proud and ill-mannered.
3. Stop rehearsing
You don’t want to waste this time by over-preparing or rehearsing responses, as this will make your interaction sound scripted and inauthentic.
“You want to know everything there is to know about yourself, but keep in mind that your interview is a dialogue.” Trust that you know what you’re talking about and that the interview will flow naturally,” Shane advises.
4. Stay a little bit off from your phone
Fiddling with your phone before an interview session can be a source of distraction capable of throwing you off balance.
I’m pretty sure you don’t want to get carried away by those amampiano dance moves on Tiktok.
5. Briefly review your notes.
Before the interview, you can write on a few note cards some key information like your interviewers’ names, titles, and relationships to the position.
You can also include answers to questions you hope you won’t be asked so you can worry less about them, as well as your pitch for when someone says, “Tell me about yourself.”
6. Take time to observe the environment
Observing the office rea and the people in it tells you what the work culture is like. This goes on to show whether you are a good fit for the job.
7. Be positive
Reflect on positive things like a successful interview session and possible employment. Channeling your mind towards the positive helps fuel your energy keeps your sight on the goal.
FAQs On How Early Should You Arrive For An Interview
Arriving 15 to 20 minutes before your scheduled interview is fine.
You can use 15 minutes before the interview to relax your mind and settle down.
Experts in the hiring process agreed that arriving 15 minutes early is the best timing for an in-office interview.
In interview sessions, you can expect questions like:
Tell me a little about yourself?
What are your biggest weaknesses?
What are your biggest strengths?
Arriving early for an interview gives your brain time to relax and reflect. It takes away grogginess, anxiety, and disorientedness.
I hope you find these tips helpful.
- forbes.com – 5 Things You Should Do The Night Before A Job Interview
- canr.msu.edu – Eleven things to do 15 minutes before an interview
- abrivia.ie – 3 Advantages of being Early for your Interview
- indeed.com – Q&A: How Early Should You Arrive for a Job Interview?
- upjourney.com – How Early Should You Arrive for a Job Interview