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How Early Should You Arrive for an Interview?

How Early Should You Arrive for an Interview?

In today’s competitive job market, making a strong impression during the interview process is crucial. One aspect that often gets overlooked is the timing of your arrival. Arriving late can harm your chances of securing the job while arriving too early can create an awkward situation. So, how early should you arrive for an interview? Let’s delve into this critical question and provide valuable insights.

The Importance of Punctuality

Punctuality is highly regarded in the professional world. Arriving on time demonstrates respect for the interviewer’s schedule and indicates that you take the opportunity seriously. However, it is essential to strike the right balance to avoid inconvenience or discomfort for both parties.

The Ideal Timing

As a general rule of thumb, arriving at the interview location approximately 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled time is recommended. This timeframe allows you to check in, compose yourself, and mentally prepare for the interview. Arriving within this window shows that you are punctual and well-prepared without causing any inconvenience.

Factors to Consider

While the 10 to 15-minute guideline is a good starting point, there are several factors to consider that may influence your arrival time:

1. Traffic and Commute

Consider the traffic conditions and the distance between your location and the interview venue. Plan your journey accordingly, allowing extra time for unexpected delays. It’s better to arrive early and utilize the additional time for last-minute preparations rather than risking a tardy arrival.

2. Company Culture

Some companies have a strict policy on punctuality, while others may adopt a more flexible approach. Research the company culture beforehand to gain insights into their expectations regarding punctuality. This information can guide your decision on when to arrive for the interview.

3. Reception and Waiting Area

Consider the availability of a reception area or a waiting room at the interview location. Arriving too early might leave you waiting for an extended period, leading to restlessness or nervousness. On the other hand, arriving just a few minutes before the scheduled time may cause unnecessary stress. Aim to strike a balance based on the available facilities.

4. Time for Preparation

Arriving a few minutes early provides valuable time to gather your thoughts, review your resume, and mentally rehearse your responses to potential interview questions. This extra preparation can boost your confidence and help you perform better during the interview.

The Etiquette of Early Arrival

When you arrive early, respecting the interviewer’s time and space is essential. Follow these guidelines to maintain a positive impression:

  1. Stay in your vehicle or find a nearby café: If you arrive significantly earlier than expected, consider waiting in your vehicle or finding a nearby café. Use this time to relax, review notes, or engage in calming exercises like deep breathing.
  2. Enter the building just before the scheduled time: As the interview time approaches, enter and go to the designated interview location. This ensures you are not kept waiting for an extended period while avoiding any disruption to the interviewer’s schedule.
  3. Greet the receptionist or point of contact: When you arrive, politely introduce yourself to the receptionist or the designated point of contact. Be courteous and professional; this interaction may also be part of the evaluation process.


In conclusion, the answer to how early you should arrive for an interview is approximately 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled interview. This balances punctuality and avoids unnecessary waiting. However, traffic, company culture, and available facilities should also be considered. Remember, preparation is critical, and the extra time before the interview allows you to compose yourself and mentally prepare for a successful interview experience.

Suggested reading: Supervisor Interview Questions: How to Prepare for and Answer