“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, it’s unacceptable.” How early should you show up to an interview? Ideally, you should show up for your interview 14-16 hours before. Crazy talk? No, not at all. You should have an interview “routine” that mentally begins well before your physical presence in front of the interviewer. Here are some helpful tips to follow leading up to the in-person interview.
Scheduling the Interview
Be flexible, but schedule and negotiate an interview time that works for you. Some questions to consider:
- Am I at my best in the morning or afternoon?
- Am I able to take off work? If not, will I be in an optimal state of mind early morning before work or late afternoon after work?
- How many interviews will take place or how long should I expect the interview to take?
- What is the location of the interview? How do traffic patterns effect the travel time?
The Night before the Interview
- Review your research—Nailing Your Career Part 1: The World (Wide Web) Is Your Oyster
- Rehearse anticipated interview questions—Nailing Your Career Part 2: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
- Get all of your materials organized and packed—Nailing Your Career Part 5: In-Person Interview Packing List
- Layout and prepare your outfit—Nailing Your Career Part 3: Suit Yourself
- Remind yourself of the reasons you are excited about this opportunity
- Get some sleep!
Day of the Interview
- Eat smartly, but eat. You don’t want your stomach growling or to choose foods that cause multiple bathroom breaks during the interview.
- Plan and execute a timely commute accounting for traffic, weather or finding parking.
- Give yourself one last “I rock, I’m going to be awesome” pep talk before getting out of the car (maybe check that no one is around).
Showing up too early may come off as desperate, but not showing up early enough can be perceived as poor planning. Twenty to 30 minutes early is a good rule of thumb and will allow you to:
- Get a feel for and adjust to the environment (e.g., grab the warmer jacket from the car if it’s too cold, or allow your eyes to adjust to the lighting conditions).
- Meet and greet the receptionist (you never know who has sway in final decisions or what you might learn informally).
- Get in one last bathroom break.
- Take a deep breath and be deliberate about getting yourself to relax.
With these tips, you will rock your interview. Just remember to be confident and be yourself!