ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Business and Employment»
  • Employment & Jobs

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

Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Cristian 3 years ago

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

  • profile image

    brian 3 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Yar 4 years ago

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

  • profile image

    simon 4 years ago

    Was in my car, then park bench. Lol,

  • profile image

    Gia 4 years ago

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

  • profile image

    The Brent 5 years ago

    Sittin in my car, 5 minutes to go!

  • profile image

    Jonathan 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Ariana 5 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

  • profile image

    Ant 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Lindsey 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Bryan 5 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.

  • profile image

    decatur gurl 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Tan 5 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.

  • profile image

    Justin 5 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!)

  • profile image

    Rachel 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Kyle 5 years ago

    Car.. Sitting lol

  • profile image

    Mike 5 years ago

    Sitting in my car waiting.....

  • profile image

    Shane' 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Jake 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Karisa 5 years ago

    Waiting in my car better early than running late

  • profile image

    jame 5 years ago

    I'm waiting in my car to lol

  • profile image

    Braulio 5 years ago

    haha, everybody is waiting in the car here!

  • profile image

    pacheco 5 years ago

    I am waiting in my car took haha

  • profile image

    amy 5 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!

  • profile image

    Silvia 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Craig 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    LRR 5 years ago

    In the car too...

  • profile image

    Cory 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Haha 5 years ago

    In the car too

  • profile image

    El 5 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.

  • profile image

    Justin 5 years ago

    Car...

  • profile image

    Roxanne 5 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.

  • profile image

    Tony 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Cheyenne 5 years ago

    In the car. ;)

  • profile image

    Lauren 5 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!!! ;)

  • profile image

    John 5 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!

  • profile image

    Elisia 5 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

  • profile image

    Saru 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Stace 5 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

  • profile image

    steph 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Tiffany 5 years ago

    LOL I'm setting in my car

  • profile image

    Chris 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Joe 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Nate 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Kisha 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Lauren 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Rawad 5 years ago

    Sitting in my car waiting too lollll

  • profile image

    NervousGI 5 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

  • profile image

    tricia 5 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

  • profile image

    JC 5 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!

  • profile image

    Evan 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    ED 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    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.

  • profile image

    BigJ 5 years ago

    In my car haha

  • profile image

    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!

  • profile image

    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...!

  • profile image

    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!

  • profile image

    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!!

  • profile image

    Deanna 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    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!

  • profile image

    Greg 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    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.

  • profile image

    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.

  • profile image

    John 5 years ago

    Yup join the Siri/Google crowd!

  • profile image

    Nick 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Paul 5 years ago

    Sitting in the car also

  • profile image

    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

  • profile image

    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!!!

  • profile image

    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 ! :)

  • profile image

    Lee 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    jay 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Picc 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Ray 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Scott Brown 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Kayla 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    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!

  • profile image

    joe 5 years ago

    Same

  • profile image

    annie 5 years ago

    Soon funny I'm doing the same

  • profile image

    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.

  • profile image

    Amy 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    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!

  • profile image

    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

  • profile image

    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.

  • profile image

    Kat 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    G Melen 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    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!

  • profile image

    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.

  • profile image

    Sandy 5 years ago

    Sitting in my car

  • profile image

    Deerek 5 years ago

    Lol in my car 30min to go.

  • profile image

    5 years ago

    Also in my car. So good! 10 minutes!

  • profile image

    sbzn 5 years ago

    in my car...thank god for smartphones!

  • profile image

    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

  • profile image

    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!

  • profile image

    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

  • profile image

    Gurp 5 years ago

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

  • profile image

    garret ramon 5 years ago

    thnkx

  • profile image

    Nichole 6 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Ivan 6 years ago

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

  • profile image

    Brandon 6 years ago

    Great info im currently waiting in my car until my interview

  • profile image

    Jess 6 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.