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How Early Should You Arrive To A Job Interview?

Updated on May 31, 2010

Early, but not too early

I tend to be an early bird to pretty much everything I ever attend. In fact, it's something of a compulsion, because ever since I realized that I was always ridiculously early to everything, I've tried to compensate for it by leaving my house later than I think that I need to. This results in me feeling like I'm running late when I'm not. It's completely absurd. Because really, it doesn't usually matter if you're "too early" to something; it rarely causes problems and generally only means that you need to wait around for a little while. Since I always have a journal or book or something with me to work on, waiting around somewhere never poses a problem.

But, there is a time when you don't want to be "too early" and that's when you're going in for a job interview. Of course, you don't want to be late to a job interview. But you also don't want to be too early. There are a few different reasons for this. One is that job interviews are frequently scheduled one right after the other by most companies so that if multiple applicants show up much earlier than their interview time, the lobby or other waiting area becomes congested, causing stress in the environment which makes interviews run poorly. Additionally, if you arrive too early, then you have to figure out what to do while you are waiting, a choice which is observed and can sometimes reflect poorly on you.

So, how early should you arrive to a job interview to avoid these problems but still look like you are prepared and ready for the job? If you can arrange it so that you arrive "on time", that's your best bet. To do this, you must have all of your interview materials in hand, ready to go and you need to make extra, extra sure that no last-minute delays cause "on time" to become "late". Since this is so difficult, you should plan on arriving a little bit early, rather than on time.

By "a little bit early", I mean that you should arrive with enough time to get into the office building, find the correct room or waiting room for the interview and check in with the receptionist or whomever you see first at the door. You should also take into account any time that you might need to fill out additional forms, prepare any documents which you have brought with you and take a moment to utilize the facilities to double-check things like that your tie is tied, your blouse is buttoned and your zipper is up.

The amount of time that this might take depends on the position for which you are applying, the number of people who are conducting the interview and applying for the position and the familiarity you have with the company and building layout. In general, interviews that are scheduled back-to-back happen every half hour, so you'll want to arrive less than half an hour early to the interview to make sure that you've got enough time to take care of pre-interview business without causing an overflow of human traffic in the waiting area. As a rule, 10 - 20 minutes early, with 15 as the average, is a good time frame for arriving at an interview. Now, if I could just convince myself to leave the house at a time that would get me places only that early, I'd be okay!

Comments

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    Cristian 2 years ago

    I'm sitting in my car too!! :D

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    brian 2 years ago

    A new member to the "sitting in my car" club. Yaaaaaay!

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    Yar 3 years ago

    Interview in 40 minutes, leaving now for the ten minute drive!

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    simon 3 years ago

    Was in my car, then park bench. Lol,

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    Gia 4 years ago

    I was sitting in my car before I moved to a local babel shop

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    The Brent 4 years ago

    Sittin in my car, 5 minutes to go!

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    Jonathan 4 years ago

    Have an interview in 30 minutes! Best be make sure and not show up early like a stuck-up!

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    Ariana 4 years ago

    Thankfully, I'm not in my car. I have my interview tomorrow morning and figured I should look up the appropriate time to arrive before I got there. My mom said twenty minutes, but I'm pretty sure 10 will do just fine. Especially for a minimum wage job haha

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    Ant 4 years ago

    In my car too lmao. Looks like all of us atleast care..

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    Lindsey 4 years ago

    Haha I'm sitting in my car to go in too..I have 10 min to wait

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    Bryan 4 years ago

    We are all nuts. Yep. I'm in a parking lot about a half mile away sitting in my car. I'm going to nail this interview and get the job. Good luck to everyone else.

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    decatur gurl 4 years ago

    Lmao important here early to 50min early. On line reading everyone's comment.......

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    Tan 4 years ago

    Wish I was sitting In my car. I'm waiting in a boardroom instead cause I came in a half hour early lol.

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    Justin 4 years ago

    Haha, who would have thought that a comment section would turn into a message board! Sitting in my car, across the street waiting for my interview time. 45 mins early. Had to parallel park in the middle of traffic, someone honked! As I type this another car had to do the same thing. Great posts! 3 years and counting! (gotta update us if you got the job!)

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    Rachel 4 years ago

    Sittong in my car freaking out because I got to my interview too early. Thanks for the advice!

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    Kyle 4 years ago

    Car.. Sitting lol

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    Mike 4 years ago

    Sitting in my car waiting.....

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    Shane' 4 years ago

    Well like everyone else I am a prisoner to my car for about 40 minutes lol

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    Jake 4 years ago

    Guess what, im waiting in my car. I think 5-10 minutes early is the way to go.

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    Karisa 4 years ago

    Waiting in my car better early than running late

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    jame 4 years ago

    I'm waiting in my car to lol

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    Braulio 4 years ago

    haha, everybody is waiting in the car here!

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    pacheco 4 years ago

    I am waiting in my car took haha

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    amy 4 years ago

    This is so funny... I'm number 1000000 that also appears to be sorting in the car waiting for an interview ... At least we have interviews!

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    Silvia 4 years ago

    Sitting in my car with my iPad counting the minutes down...thanks for the info

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    Craig 4 years ago

    Sitting in car and afraid they can see me out but don't want to be to early either hahs

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    LRR 4 years ago

    In the car too...

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    Cory 4 years ago

    Haha I am also sitting in the car waiting to go in.

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    Haha 4 years ago

    In the car too

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    El 4 years ago

    Lol I'm sitting in my car with ten minutes to go feeling so relieved there's people out there wondering the same thing. Thank you Google and author of this article.

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    Justin 4 years ago

    Car...

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    Roxanne 4 years ago

    Im in my car also. Lol @ all the people who did the same thing. This parking lot is getting packed, hope nobody thinks I'm a weirdo.

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    Tony 4 years ago

    Alas, I must confess. I too am waiting in my car. Haha.

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    Cheyenne 4 years ago

    In the car. ;)

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    Lauren 4 years ago

    Lol I am sitting in my car waiting for my interview, decided to google how early is too early lol this article is so great! I'm 45 mins early so i have about 30 minutes to go before approaching the building!!! ;)

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    John 4 years ago

    I had to travel to another city so the train will arrive 3 hours earlier! So I am sitting on train now until it arrives and then 3 hours waiting!

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    Elisia 4 years ago

    Lol I too am sitting in my car its 12:37 andmy interview at 1 pm I think im going to go in at 12:40

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    Saru 4 years ago

    In my car after googling ;) I'm thinking I'll go with 15 min?

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    Stace 4 years ago

    Haha it seems we all google the same thing while waiting in my car.

    For once there were no traffic delays so I'm here 40 minutes early

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    steph 4 years ago

    been sitting in my car for an hour now...hope there arent camera out here! hahaha

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    Tiffany 4 years ago

    LOL I'm setting in my car

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    Chris 4 years ago

    I got to my interview 40 minutes early and I am now sitting in my car waiting lol.

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    Joe 4 years ago

    Got here 30 min early, I'll go inside in 15 min just in case I have to fill out any paperwork.

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    Nate 4 years ago

    Also sitting in the car. I'm late to hang with friends but way too early for interviews. Go figure.

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    Kisha 4 years ago

    Sitting in my car and googled this information! Very helpful......15 mins for me!

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    Lauren 4 years ago

    In the car! Got here 30 mins before my interview. I'm always early!

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    Rawad 4 years ago

    Sitting in my car waiting too lollll

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    NervousGI 4 years ago

    Also sitting in my car! Just got out of the Army and this is my first interview. I am a little nervous, but I have all of this time to think sceneros in the car. Haha

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    tricia 4 years ago

    Lol crazy. . Im sitting in the car 5 mins away from my interview place. I don't want them to think Im a creeper

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    JC 4 years ago

    Looks like arriving early and waiting in the car is a common trend!

    I arrived 30 minutes early and I am also waiting in the car. Time passes so slow during these times. And it's definitely getting my adrenaline running!

    Good luck to everyone that is waiting in the car reading this!

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    Evan 4 years ago

    In my car waiting, funny how many people looked this up. Thanks

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    ED 5 years ago

    I too was in my car two hours early for an interview and googled this... Great info. It really helped

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    Chris 5 years ago

    Outside the building waiting for my girlfriend to finish her interview, I would wait in the car but it's a few blocks away stupid city parking.

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    BigJ 5 years ago

    In my car haha

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    Skr 5 years ago

    Well, might as well add to the comments! Also sitting in car had no idea what traffic would be like so was 40mins early. Sitting in the car park of another office opposite mine, just in case someone saw me for the window! Will head to their car park with 10 mins to go and go in

    Best of luck to all future job hunters!

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    Nerves 5 years ago

    Also waiting!! I was an hour early... Arrived by train and taxi so I'm waiting outside on a bench hoping nobody is watching me...!

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    Susan 5 years ago

    I'm sitting in my car and decided to google this because I got to this interview way too early lol thanks for posting this!

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    Dawn 5 years ago

    Sitting in Costa coffee prepping, I thought 30 mins was ok but now I'll wait a little longer or until I get chucked out!!

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    Deanna 5 years ago

    Haha, google to the rescue. Though I'm hiding in a bathroom!

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    Peetah 5 years ago

    Hahah the comments section in this article is awesome. I am also in the car waiting to goto an interview, im actually about to head in now, wish me luck!

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    Greg 5 years ago

    Sat in the car watching the clock... Lol. I'm going for 15 minutes

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    paul 5 years ago

    Hahahaha. Sitting in my car. My clock is set 15 minutes fast so I'm not late. I think ill go in 15. It makes me feel better that everyone else does this.

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    Rob 5 years ago

    At the metro station in Chicago waiting for mine. Still have 50 minutes to wait. Nothing like sitting here stewing away.

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    John 5 years ago

    Yup join the Siri/Google crowd!

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    Nick 5 years ago

    Sitting in my car an hour early. Glad this came up right away when I searched. :)

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    Paul 5 years ago

    Sitting in the car also

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    tee 5 years ago

    don't UV a cs bring standig nearby at. bustop got here and 1:30min early but I'm related e as I Can be. 5 min till go time.! wish I had.

    a car

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    Zach 5 years ago

    Haha sitting in my car Got here half an hour early and didn't know when tO go in thanks google!!!

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    Candy 5 years ago

    Interview at 1pm. I will be arriving no later than 1:15 and will be walking in at 1:20pm. Thanks for the great tips ! :)

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    Lee 5 years ago

    Also sitting in the car! I'm going with the 10 minute plan :)

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    jay 5 years ago

    In car, downstairs in parking garage. Arrived 40 min early , have 18 min left to walk in.

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    Picc 5 years ago

    Yup! In the car, about 15 pre interview time, going to enter in about 5 minutes

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    Ray 5 years ago

    Add another to the list!! Sitting in the car waiting right now!

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    Scott Brown 5 years ago

    Might as well add. In my car, feeling so nervous. No idea what to expect. Fingers crossed.

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    Kayla 5 years ago

    Also in my car -- 20 minutes early. Go figure. Here goes!

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    Jolene 5 years ago

    Hilarious! I'm sitting in my car as I type. I arrived about 45 minutes early and had to google this. I have another 35 minutes til my interview time. Thanks for the great advice!

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    joe 5 years ago

    Same

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    annie 5 years ago

    Soon funny I'm doing the same

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    zim 5 years ago

    Im in a caffe at the moment waiting, only 10 mins to go. i did arivr early once for an intrrview by 30 mins, i didn't get that job, i think my earlyness anno them.

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    Amy 5 years ago

    Sitting in my car as well! Sounds like the it thing to do! Ha!

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    Mandy 5 years ago

    Also sitting in the car! This relaxed me while I waited out the 10 min before the 'absolute earliest' cutoff. Glad to see many others have gone before me googling this in their car!

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    Dan 5 years ago

    oh my.. I arrive 2 hours early just incase of traffic and lost direction. Right now i'm sitting in McDonald drinking Mc. cafe and eat Mc. chicken

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    Nick 5 years ago

    I am sitting in the car as well waiting to head in, I showed up only half an hour early so I guess it's not too early but I'll wait the extra 15 mins.

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    Kat 5 years ago

    I am also sitting in my car haha! Thanks for this post.. Good luck everyone =)

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    G Melen 5 years ago

    Waiting in my car as well. I like being early! :)

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    KT 5 years ago

    I will say tardiness is something I could really use improvement with but today is a start. I have aninterview and arrived 45 minutes early. I'm just sitting in he parking lot meditating and of course reading this post. Thank you for the information!

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    Karen 5 years ago

    I'm also sitting in my car waiting for my interview. I arrived an hour and a half early to give myself time to commute and also time to study about company and go over my answers to the questions I think might be asked.

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    Sandy 5 years ago

    Sitting in my car

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    Deerek 5 years ago

    Lol in my car 30min to go.

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    5 years ago

    Also in my car. So good! 10 minutes!

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    sbzn 5 years ago

    in my car...thank god for smartphones!

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    Shilpa 5 years ago

    Lol im sitting n my car interview in 25 min will b heading out at 12:15 to give me time to walk and figure out where in the building I need to b lol

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    Bbrd 5 years ago

    Lol this is great! Thanks to who wrote it. I'll be going into my third interview in 10 minutes. Wooooo so anxious!

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    Sam 5 years ago

    I'll be in my car tomorrow!!! lol REAALLLLYYY anxious, its a group interview.. cant stand em, anyways goodluck to everyone and myself!!! lol

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    Gurp 5 years ago

    In car too! Goodluck to all hope you guys get it!!

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    garret ramon 5 years ago

    thnkx

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    Nichole 5 years ago

    In car lol t minus 10 minutes heading in now thanks for the tip

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    Ivan 5 years ago

    In car I hope they are not observing me through the windows

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    Brandon 5 years ago

    Great info im currently waiting in my car until my interview

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    Jess 5 years ago

    Commuting in DC is a disaster, so I show up hours early and post up in the nearest coffee shop. I spend any time I have researching the company and prepping for the interview, and then show up about 10 minutes early.

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    Sarah 5 years ago

    I'm with Bob, further up.

    I'd wouldn't arrive more than 10 minutes early, whether for a job interview, or a client meeting. To me, turning up too early creates the impression that "I don't respect your time."

    Your interviewer could be in another meeting, or just finishing up his or her work. Aim for punctuality, or a max of 5 minutes early. People turning up for meetings early, or late, is a major pet hate of mine, and I imagine for any number of people who work in busy office environments. Your interviewer sets up a time--not a timeframe--for your meeting to commence for a reason.

    Too early? Grab a coffee, read a book, surf the net on your phone. Outside the building.

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    Guy-in-Car 5 years ago

    Waiting in the car is the commonality I also share. Best of luck to you all!

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    Don 5 years ago

    If you are interviewing for the same job I am... The author meant to say be 30 mins late! LOL

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    John 5 years ago

    Like the rest of you, I am early to my interview. I'm sitting in my car, in the back of the parking lot. The position is with a security firm, so waiting for security to drag me out for loitering!

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    Kathryn 5 years ago

    Sitting in the car too, I always show up way too early!

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    Tracy 5 years ago

    So glad I read this before going into the interview a whole 30 minutes too early!

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    brandi 5 years ago

    lol glad i read this interview i was about to be way to early..maybe ill get a cup of cofee before i walk in lol

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    Ted 5 years ago

    Blasting the a.c. in my car

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    Amanda 5 years ago

    Everyone is sitting in their car and so am I lol

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    Jonathan 5 years ago

    This is too funny...I'm sitting in the car too waiting for interview..

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    cid 5 years ago

    In the cafe across the street, waiting!

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    Sexy Guy 5 years ago

    Yup, 20 minutes early so I decided to chill in a cafe till 10 to, god I'm anxious!

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    DraunaPrincess 5 years ago

    Interview in 2 hours!! been google-ing things for the last 3 days! haha hope I get this one! I need it!

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    Bluedefender 5 years ago

    No kidding. I'm ALSO sitting in my car and figured is Google this before the interview since I have 30 minutes to wait. I'm not alone! Wish me luck!

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    Ken 5 years ago

    In the car waiting as well. An hour early haha!

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    White 5 years ago

    Im sitting in the car googling and I see im not the only one either lol

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    Mike A 5 years ago

    I'm on the same boat as everyone else. Glad to see I'm not the only one who's OCD early to everything LOL...Sittin in my car with about 10 mins to go before I walk in...wish me luck!!!

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    Mike A 5 years ago

    I'm on the same boat as everyone else. Glad to see I'm not the only one who's OCD early to everything LOL...Sittin in my car with about 10 mins to go before I walk in...wish me luck!!!

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    Kal 5 years ago

    Lol 1 hour early. Downstairs with a coffee. Thanks fort he article.

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    Kal 5 years ago

    Lol 1 hour early. Downstairs with a coffee. Thanks fort he article.

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    Alison 5 years ago

    In the car!! :)

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    Timothy 5 years ago

    Sitting in my car. Google I love you! Great info btw

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    Joe 5 years ago

    Omg sitting in my car

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    Katherine 5 years ago

    So crazy haha. I'm here in my car about 30 minutes early, glad I'm collectively sharing this moment with so many people!

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    steph 5 years ago

    Waitin in my car hoping that no ones watching me as the office is right infront of me! I hope I'm parked in the right place! hahaha!!! Scared!!!

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    Chris 5 years ago

    Haha, what would we do if we couldn't google this from our cars as we are sitting in the parking lot before our interviews?

    Thanks for the article!

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    Victor 5 years ago

    Guess what? Waiting in my car looking up how early is too early.

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    Brock 5 years ago

    I'm waiting in the car too!

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    nathan b! 5 years ago

    thx, this really helped me out...i'm anxious, and really wanna go there now, but my interview's not until 5, which is 25 mins from now

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    Anna 5 years ago

    Like a few posters above me, I am also sitting in the car waiting for an interview ;p I have 20 minutes so I'm gonna wait until 10 til. Good to know I'm not the only one who is neurotically early!

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    uyen 5 years ago

    sitting in the car! Scared!! haha i love how evry one is doing the same thing and sitting in their car!

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    amber s 5 years ago

    Same here! Ten mins to go. Ugh I always feel like I'm going to through up!

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    Kdsss 5 years ago

    In my car too! Very nervous! =S

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    hopeiGetit 5 years ago

    I'm in my car too, I'm soo nervous! I never do good at interviews so wish me luck.

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    hjh 5 years ago

    Also in the car (: awesome!

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    Char 5 years ago

    Thanks sitting in the car also waiting for an interview. I guess this is the popular time to Google this question

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    erik 5 years ago

    I'm in my car too! But for a scholarship interview, same thing right? :) thanks for the info!

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    FR 5 years ago

    You guessed it.sitting in car! Im always early!!

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    jp 5 years ago

    Laughed pretty hard in my car at a parking lot 2 miles away! I have to go through security first so im giving myself 20 to walk over haha

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    kaf 5 years ago

    LOL, totally sitting in the car waiting for the interview. Thanks for the tip!

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    Ben 5 years ago

    In for sitting in car

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    Em 5 years ago

    Ha im totally sitting in my car waiting too

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    Peter 5 years ago

    My experience is to get to the location at least 20 minute early, and then sit in a coffee shop or walk around a bit to relax and do some mental prep work, then enter the building 5-10 minutes before the start of the interview.

    The feedback I had from interviewers is that they usually have a rigorous schedule throughout the day, and if you get there too early, they don't know what to do with you.

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    David 5 years ago

    Here I am, waiting in my car for my first job interview.

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    Anna 5 years ago

    NOT in my car, but my very first job interview is tomorrow~

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    Kevin 5 years ago

    Haha!! I'm sitting in my truck doing the same thing. Wish me luck lol!

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    booo 5 years ago

    i envy you guys. you all have cars. :p

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    Clarke  5 years ago

    Add another to the list of car preparers.

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    Patrick 5 years ago

    Ha. I think this site is where people hang out right before their interview. I'm heading in about 25 minutes early.

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    Dawgreen  5 years ago

    Ha! Here I am thinking I was a freak googling this from the car as I wait for interview. Hope everyone got the job they wanted .

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    Charlie 5 years ago

    Thank you! Waiting in my car as well.~

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    Brycen 5 years ago

    Wow, I'm glad I'm not the only one in my car googling this too! Only 10 more minutes, and I'm so anxious!

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    Dave 5 years ago

    Lol i am sitting in my car an hour early for an interview

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    ayaleh 5 years ago

    10 mins it is!!!!!

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    LaToya 5 years ago

    This really helped. I'm sitting in my car now and was wondering when would be a good time to go in.

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    jenna 5 years ago

    Haha I am also in my car!! Waiting for that interview...

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    5 years ago

    Also... In my car. Haha

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    mike 5 years ago

    Haha I'm waiting for an interview right now. Thxs for this. Ten minutes it is. I started laughing out loud when I saw this :)

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    sasha s 6 years ago

    Totally sitting in my car too. Thanks this article passed my time and got some of my pre interview jitters to go away.

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    LW 6 years ago

    I'm NOT sitting in my car! I decided to Google this BEFORE I left for the interview. 10 minutes it is...

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    jill 6 years ago

    I'm glad that I am not the only one looking this up in my car as I am waiting to go into the interview. I am always early to everything .... I hate being late..

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    Nana 6 years ago

    :) sittin n my car the interview is,a 1:30 ill be walkin n the doors a 1:15 I got 2 more minutes wish me luck

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    Joel 6 years ago

    Thanks to the person who wrote this article. Lol I'm sitting in my car waiting ten more minutes before I walk into my interview. =) I wanted to make sure I was not too early and have them look at me crazy

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    Amanda 6 years ago

    Lol I'm googling from my car too!

    I feel better

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    Courtney 6 years ago

    Also sitting in my car still got 20 mins yet lol

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    Jake 6 years ago

    Sitting in my car too haha

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    Betty  6 years ago

    Glad to know im not the only one sitting in my car wondering when I should go in! Thank god for smart phones!

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    6 years ago

    Haha looking at this in my car now too

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    6 years ago

    Also in my car. Overcompensated for time and got here an hour early.

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    6 years ago

    Prepping in my car! Love that this was posted 22 months ago and people are still adding

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    Chelsea  6 years ago

    Looks like I'm not the only one googling this from my car! :)

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    Holly 6 years ago

    Sitting in my car...I'm 40 mins early! Guess I'll start heading out in 20. ;)

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    Early Bird 6 years ago

    I too happen to be sitting in my car. Lol. Great information. :)

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    Tab 6 years ago

    Also sitting in my car waiting for an interview....glad to see I not the only who is always early

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    Ashley 6 years ago

    I'm sitting in the car too! Had to take my mom to work this morning so since I was close didn't want to burn no more gas so I'm an hour early! Thanks for the info!!

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    victoria 6 years ago

    i think that you should arrive 30 min late

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    bob 6 years ago

    hello

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    Adam 6 years ago

    Agreed with not being too early- 10 minutes seems to be the magic number. Also agree with finding an alternative waiting place to hang out prior to entering the building. Thanks everybody!

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    michelle 6 years ago

    Sitting in my car nervously too!! Hahahaha

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    Amanda 6 years ago

    Sitting in my car lol.... Waiting I'm such an early bird I'm only 30 min early though... So another 10 minutes!!!

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    ian 6 years ago

    Sitting in a car as well!

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    Amanda 6 years ago

    Haha, sitting in my car, too. I'm going to head in about ten minutes ahead of the scheduled time.

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    Austin 6 years ago

    Sitting in my car too, waiting to go in and interview! Thanks google :)

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    Bob 6 years ago

    I'd say 10 minutes is the absolute earliest you should plan to arrive (by that I mean the time which you arrive at the reception desk and ask for whoever). 5-10 minutes early is perfectly enough time to sort yourself out and go to the loo. Any earlier and you will just be sat there trying to decide what to do and it is possible that you will be observed (does he/she read a paper/get a drink/do nothing/walk around?), some of these things could reflect badly on yourself.

    If you have no choice but arriving really early because of train timetables or whatever, then I would recommend waiting somewhere else until closer to the time. Have a look round the area or go to a cafe or something. Otherwise you will just look like an uneasy guest sitting for ages in the waiting room.

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    Meagan 6 years ago

    Looks like I'm definitely not the only one that choose to sit on my car as I wait for the appropriate time to approach the building haha I decided I'll start walking up to the door with about ten minutes to spare. That should make me look professional but not too anxious. Thanx for all the advice, it's really helping pass the time! : )

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    Lamont 6 years ago

    I'm sitting and my car now for an interview and decided to google this information. Great tip!!! Thanks!!!

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    Jonathan S 6 years ago

    Gosh, whata curse to always be early and have to wait in the car for your interview.

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    Matthais O 6 years ago

    I arrived an hr early for an interview recently because I had to ride an hour long train ride and made allowances for delays and Security check. In my opinion I don't think this should have posed any negative impression. What are your thoughts?

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    6 years ago

    Haha me too! Thx

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    Mark 6 years ago

    I'm doing the exact same thing!

    Nice article, by the way. I agree that "too early" can really hamper your chances.

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    James 7 years ago

    Lol I'm sitting in the car waiting to go to an interview and was wondering how I should plan it to be there a few minutes early! I'm just like you and am always early! Thanks for this, it really helped!

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    Summer 7 years ago

    Ha ha...I am exactly the same way. I have an interview this afternoon and wasn't sure how early would be too early...so thanks!! This really helped me! And well, at least we are never late, right?!

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