How Early Should I Be To A Job Interview?

Wondering how early you should arrive at a job interview? You aren’t alone. Here’s the thing about trying to time your job interview arrival perfectly, you never know what you’re going to run into. Unexpected circumstances can often set your whole interview into a stressful start if you let them. And those unexpected events can arise out of nowhere.

The most common war story I hear about arriving for an interview is those who are trying to arrive within minutes of the interview starting. When they did this, they often times put themselves at big risk. Similar to trying to arrive at the airport right before the airplane is about to take off. You could find out that you have the wrong address, you could find out that you have the wrong floor or that you don’t remember the interviewers' name. There’s a significant amount of variables that exist in the story that starts from you leaving your home to you arriving at the job interview.

Here are some really common occurrences of what could happen if you are trying to arrive perfectly on time to your job interview:

These are just some of the examples which could cause you to be late even if you are absolutely sure you will not be. And even if they don’t end up causing you to be late, they could cause you to feel uncomfortable. Having to run from one building to another would make you disheveled looking, and potentially unprofessional.

How early should you be to an interview? Arrive at least 15 minutes early

Here’s what I advise, always leave early, arrive early and if you need to, wait in the lobby and spend time doing something else. It is always best to be early. Try to get there 15 minutes early but give yourself some extra time for the unexpected events. If you arrive early, that’s okay. Use the restroom, get yourself cleaned up, practice your interview questions and answers, do some work on your phone. It is always better to be safe than sorry, arrive early, ensure you are at the right location, and then spend extra time getting nerves calmed down.

Those who arrive early will never be punished, in fact, you’ll never hear a future interviewer complain about the fact that you were too early. They will only complain and potentially disregard your interview if you are late. So do yourself a favor and arrive 15 minutes early, at least! If you are curious about the best times to schedule an interview, read our guide here.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams.

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