Question: When is punctuality important at a job interview?

Answer: Always!

If you want to get off to a good start and earn some positive points at an interview, being punctual is absolutely vital.

Punctuality is a fundamental business courtesy that demonstrates you can be trusted to deliver as promised” – David Tovey

First Impressions

It should go without saying, but it is never acceptable to be late to an interview. This is such a common standard that some employers will refuse to interview a candidate if they are late. Sadly some candidates still fail to realise that there is a basic requirement to be on time.

Look at it from the potential employers point of view. If the person who apparently is really keen to work for you walks in for an interview 10 minutes late, would you trust them to be on time and be organized throughout their employment with you? The recruitment process also takes up a lot of time for both employment agencies and employers – being late suggests that you are indifferent about the effort they are taking to help you find the job you want.

Have no doubt that potential employers have heard all the excuses:

Sorry I’m late..

“The traffic was terrible”

“The trains were running late”

“I had problems finding your offices”

Use these excuses (or the many similar ones) and all that the interviewer will be thinking is that you are not organised enough to plan your journey. They know what the traffic is like around Gloucestershire, on the roads and motorways. They know how the trains run, they also know about Google Maps and Sat Nav. Remember that they travel the same routes themselves.

People don’t arrive late, they set out late” – David Tovey

But don’t arrive early

Arriving late is clearly not going to help you get the job you want – but being too early isn’t going to help your cause either. There are people who turn up 30 – 40 minutes early for a job interview and waltz in thinking it’s ok.

Just like when you turn up late, the recruitment manager is thinking.

  • You can’t (or don’t) follow instructions.
  • You don’t respect the recruitment managers time pressures.

Late or early – if they are thinking that about you before you have even introduced yourself – what do you think that does to your chances of getting the job offer?

Turning up too early for an interview can also make it awkward for your potential employer. The organisation might only have one meeting room, so if you turn up too early you’ll have to be seated in reception – sometimes next to another person also waiting to go into the interview for the same role as you. That can be uncomfortable for everyone.

A job interview provides the opportunity for you to shine, it’s your chance to make the right impression and the impression you make starts the moment you arrive. Those extra 30-40 minutes will count towards what the potential employer thinks of you.

What should you do?

Plan to arrive around 5 minutes early, not earlier and not later.

If you turn up too early:

  • Go to a local coffee shop. You get time to collect your thoughts and relax.
  • Wait in your car. As above; you get time to read any notes you have made and use your smart phone to check out the latest news about the organisation you are about to meet with.
  • Go for a walk. Take in the sights of the local area.

When it comes to choosing between two good candidates, it can be the smallest of things that make all the difference. Don’t miss out on your finding your ideal job just because you didn’t turn up on time, it’s totally under your control. Check out our bolg “Why didn’t I get the job”.

Employers and candidates tell us that First Base is their first choice for help with their recruitment requirements and their personal career progression. If you would like to know more about how the First Base team could help you, contact us on 01453 755330.