If you arrive less than 10 minutes early for an interview, you are late.
I’m going straight in with the answer for this one…….if you arrive less than 10 minutes early for an interview, you are late. In my eyes anyway. UNLESS you’ve called ahead to either the agency who has arranged the interview, or directly to the company. Then you’ve been held up and that is very different to arriving late.
It was a while ago but I received an email from a client saying that candidate hadn’t turned up for his interview and I went into panic, why isn’t he there? Is he OK as I spoke to him 2 hours before his interview time and he was on his way there? It’s only a few minutes after the allocated start time but still, has something happened? So I called him and he picked up, and he sounds surprised to hear from me, he was sat in reception waiting to be called for his interview. It was now 7 minutes after the allocated start time for the interview. My first thought was “oh he needs to get off the phone as being on a phone doesn’t look professional” so I quickly finished the call and emailed my client saying he’s in reception.
But here is what you should do, or so I believe. If you think you’re going to be a few minutes late for an interview, or if you think you might make it there by the skin of your teeth, please please phone ahead. The candidate in question had been super keen from the word go. The amount of detail that had gone into researching the role and the business was phenomenal. He was by far, one of the most eager candidates I’d spoken to in a long time so I know how much the interview meant to him. If he had arrived late for the interview, it simply would have created a bad impression no matter how many minutes late it is. One quick phone call to either the agency or the company itself would create an impression of a candidate who is diligent and cares.
So here is what I think is the right time to arrive for an interview. And I appreciate it’s not always possible but if you can, arrive 20 minutes early, sit in your car for 10 minutes, make sure you haven’t got any of your mocha-choca-latte on your teeth or lips, go through your notes, refresh your memory with the names of the people that you’re meeting with and sign in at reception with 10 minutes to go. You will be calm, focused and ready to make a great impression. You will also have had some time to watch people come & go in reception, have a toilet break, get a feel for the business and the culture, as interviews are two way things, it’s never just about a company judging you.
So please think ahead, plan ahead and put the number in your phone just in case you are running late. The roads are crazy out there and you can’t be held accountable for what happens on them but you can be held accountable for how you deal with it. And enjoy the interview if you can, it’s a fact finding mission for both parties, don’t be afraid to ask questions but always listen to the answers. You'd be surprised how many candidates ask great questions because they know they should be asking questions. Listening to the answers is a very different skill, so please perfect it. If you don't listen to the answers, you might as well not bother asking the questions in the first place! And Good Luck!
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