Punctuality is a critical quality for any professional to have. While this may seem obvious, a lot of professionals struggle with being on time in this busy modern world. Even unemployed job seekers need to be aware of time frames and deadlines when interviewing for and applying to jobs. For now, we will focus on the importance of being on time for a job interview and provide some rules to help make sure you are always punctual in the future.
Rule #1: Don’t be late.
- If you realize ahead of time that you are running late for an interview, call your interviewer immediately and let them know your situation. Be sure to apologize for the inconvenience.
- In a tough job market, hiring managers have their pick when it comes to capable candidates. Even showing up five minutes late for a job interview could disqualify you for a position.
- If a hiring manager can’t trust you to show up on time for an interview, they have no reason to trust that you will be on time for work or to meet project deadlines.
Rule #2: Being too early is the same as being late.
- Do not show up more than fifteen minutes early for a job interview unless you were otherwise instructed.
- Showing up too early for an interview can make you appear desperate to hiring managers. Think of a job interview as a first date, you wouldn’t want your date to think you were overeager or desperate either.
- The same as if you were late for an interview, a hiring manager will attribute you showing up a half hour early to your bad time management skills.
Rule #3: Know where you’re going ahead of time.
- If you have time and are unfamiliar with the area, visit the company’s office prior to your interview so that you know exactly where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there.
- If you don’t have time to physically scope out your route, use the Internet to plan it in advance.
- If you are driving to your interview, make sure you know where you are going to park. You don’t want to be late because it took twenty minutes to find a parking space.
Rule #4: Show up early, but don’t go in.
- The best advice we can give you is to intentionally allow yourself extra time to get to your interview. This will give you some wiggle room in case you run into unforeseen trouble such as traffic or delays on public transportation.
- Even if you don’t hit any delays and end up outside of the office twenty minutes early, don’t go in! Find somewhere nearby you can kill time prior to your interview such as a coffee shop or deli. Use the extra time to review your notes one last time.