I decided to write this blog post because of something I observed last week. In the genre of literature that deals with career development and interviewing, the notion that one must never be late for an interview is a given. In fact, I even contemplated not writing this blog post, because everyone should already know that they must be on time for interviews.
Then I witnessed something so unbelievably awkward that I was twitching, even though I wasn't really a party to the situation. I work in a co-working space, so it isn't uncommon for me to see the comings and goings of the appointments for other startups.
So here's what happened. A candidate didn't show up on time for his interview. He showed up Three. Hours. Early. to his interview. When he arrived and spoke to the front desk, the Receptionist struggled to keep her expression friendly as the Interviewer let her know that this person was not scheduled for another three hours. The Receptionist then relayed the message to the Interviewee. The Interviewee said he knew that, but would be happy to wait right here, thank you very much, while he waited. For. Three. Hours.
This all resulted in an awkward flurry of movement, the Receptionist suggesting maybe he would be more comfortable in a cafe down the street, the Interviewee not getting the message. The Interviewer interrupting what she was doing to come out, three hours early, and explain to the Interviewee that he could not sit in the lobby for three hours, the Interviewee asking WHY it would be inappropriate for him to sit in the lobby for three hours and so forth. It was terrifying for me, a person who really likes social situations to not be so cripplingly awkward, and I was just getting my coffee.
Do you think he got the job?
Heres a quick breakdown from early to late and what it says about you.
1+ hours early:
I had nothing else to do today. Not a thing in the world. I don't have any interests or hobbies. I may be homeless. Also, I may have driven from a place that is probably an inconvenient commute. Further, even if the above are true, I also lack the social awareness to know I shouldn't show up an hour early.
1hour- 30 minutes early
I may be a nerd with nowhere else to be. I may have found an uh-mazing parking spot and needed to take it ASAP. Still, I should have treated myself to a cappuccino and waited at a coffee shop.
30-15 minutes early
I probably had a 45 minute to 1 hour commute so I wanted to be sure traffic wouldn't make me late. Maybe I took the afternoon off for this interview. I am certainly interested in making a good impression. Not awkwardly early, but still early.
15 minutes early
This interview is important to me, and I cleared time out of my schedule for this. I also understand that showing up any earlier would interrupt your day. I understand this because I am probably as busy as you are at my current job. However, I wanted my earliness to let you know that I am very interested in this position.
5 minutes early
I am interested in this role, but I keep my busy schedule moving by keeping my appointments on time.
Right on time
I am interested in this role, but I have a difficult time budgeting my time, I may cut deadlines close as well.
5 Minutes Late
I am probably super disappointed because I am usually on time. The new building, parking, getting up the elevators all took more time than I anticipated because it is my first time in this building. I didn't plan ahead perfectly, but I'm human.
15 minutes late
Either I am not interested in this role, or I am interested in the role, but something unforeseen happened. If I called ahead, it may be excusable, but if I did not it means I don't manage my time and I don't respect yours.
15+ minutes late
I don't have a handle on the day to day dramas of life well enough to keep my word. My "emergencies" will be come your "emergencies" if you hire me.
I hope this is helpful! Let me know what you think!