Before I go ahead, I must admit that this article is coming from a person who had not been a very big fan of punctuality and discipline, but changed his approach over the time.
Also, this article is not about why you should not be late for interview. That is a pure sin. There has to be a real reason with you if you do so. This article deals with the merits of arriving at the interview location “half an hour before time”.
Talking about interviews, being on time pays more than you think. Here are some reasons why.
1. Reduces the nervousness
Arriving early takes care of the nervousness caused by the ambiguity about the process. You have sufficient time to complete any documentation that may be required by the recruiter’s process. Further, you have sufficient time to adapt yourself to the unfamiliar place and faces. All this works to cool your mind and reduces nervousness.
2. Shows commitment and passion
You may think that it is okay to be just in time for interviews. May be it is but it is just acceptable. You would like to do better than that.
Just imagine a different scenario – you go on a date with someone and the other person reaches the location just on time. Alternatively, when you reach there, you see the other person waiting for you. What would please you more? Yes – it shows your passion and commitment when you arrive before time for someone.
Similarly, during the interviews, you must arrive before time as it shows your passion for the role.
3. Pre interview interactions
This is a factor that may happen and cannot be discounted. Sometimes, before the interview you get a chance to interact with the interviewer, may be during the coffee break or something. This is your grand chance to make a first positive impression and you must not leave it.
Once, it so happened that before the interview, I inadvertently interacted over coffee with a senior HR member of the interview panel and the lady was pretty impressed with the conversation. I was surprised when I entered the interview room and saw her sitting in the panel, but not much amused when she did not have any questions for me. I got through the interview and till date I believe that the little conversation outside of interview had a large role to play in it.
4. Competitive analysis
By being on time, you can speak to other candidates and know about who you are competing with. Accordingly, you can prepare a list of differentiators that you can discuss during the interview and put up your best profile compared to others.
5. Helps in last minute strategy
If you are sufficiently ahead of time, you get to notice how much time each interview is lasting. You can also get this information by making a friendly connection with the receptionist. This allows you to reframe the structure of your answers so as to fit the best way into the expected interview duration.
So my advice to all candidates is – Always reach the interview location half an hour ahead of the interview time. Punctuality pays a lot when you are interviewing.