Interview Blunders – Don’t be Late. Don’t be Early

The worst thing that you can do on an interview is to show up unprepared.  You should not only be prepared to answer questions about yourself and your work experience, but you should be prepared to have a conversation.  Do your homework about the company and be prepared to ask questions.  The more prepared and engaged you are the better.


Regardless of how prepared you are, there is a joke that goes: what do you call a person who shows up late for an interview? 

Unemployed.  Being on time for your interview is probably the most important part of the interview.  If you are late, even if you are still interviewed, the fact that you were late will cloud everything else you did right.  If you have to commute and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go.  Use your Map app on your phone to check traffic conditions.  Go online to check the status of mass transportation.  If there is traffic or delays, leave earlier than you usually would to give yourself time to get there, or come up with an alternate plan to get to the interview.


Make sure you have the phone number of the person you are meeting with and even after you checked the traffic, if you wind up getting caught in traffic and you even think you are going to be late, call the person you are meeting with as soon as possible.  Giving advanced notice will go a long way to forgive being late since everyone knows that there are times when travel becomes impossible.

As we said above, do what you can to be on time.  The operative phrase is being on time.  You do not want to be too early to an interview and there are several good reasons.


First, you don’t want to appear too desperate.  You also don’t want to make the person you are meeting with feel rushed.   If you get to the interview too early, the interviewer can do one of two things: first they can just leave you out in the lobby to wait, or they can meet with you earlier than planned.  Neither is really ideal.


Your interview is set for a scheduled time.  If you arrive too early, the interviewer can be left with the impression that you are not respecting their time or how busy they are.  If you arrive early, the person you are meeting with may feel they have to meet with you earlier and it might take away from the time they were going to prepare for you.  You may be going into an interview before the person could take a last look at your resume, so the interviewer might not remember vital information about who you are.


The perfect time to arrive for an interview is about 10 minutes before your scheduled time.  Due to COVID security checks, you may want to make that 15 minutes before your time.  If you arrive earlier than that, take the time to walk around the block to calm any nerves you may be feeling or sit in a park or get a cup of coffee and review your resume to consider some of the questions you may be asked.


Your interview is the time to make the best first impression you can.  The first thing you can do and the best way to start out is to be on time.