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Stop Arriving Early If You Want That Job!

With Auckland’s traffic (and the current CBD roadworks shambles), we are accustomed to people tending to run a bit late.  “Sorry I am late, the traffic is terrible” must be uttered hundreds of times a day across this (otherwise epic) city. We totally get that (although Greg finds that really annoying too).

But what about the people that ‘run early’? The people that turn up to their interviews 45 minutes early, the people that breeze in saying – “sorry but I ended up arriving early so I thought I’d come straight in”.

To you, fine friend we say:  please stop arriving early.

When you turn up for your job interview and you are 45 minutes early – this is what the hiring manager thinks:

  • You cannot follow instruction (or you just plain ignored it).
  • You don’t seem to respect the hiring manager’s time schedule

And if they think that about you before you have even introduced yourself – what do you think that does to your chances of getting the job offer?  Yep – they aren’t flash.

Turning up too early for an interview can also create logistical issues.  Often, organisations only have a few meeting rooms, so if you turn up too early – sometimes you’ll have to be seated in reception – sometimes right next to the person who is also waiting to go into the interview for the role that you are also interviewing for.  #awkward

Think of job interviews this way:  they are a performance.

Actors will arrive early before a performance, but that’s to give themselves some time to mentally prepare.  They certainly don’t begin their performance before the advertised start time, and neither should you.


  • Sit in your car (ok with the a/c on still!!) and prepare yourself – you can practise your answers, your smile, go over your notes on the role, call your mum, coach yourself on why you are great for the job – really there are endless options.
  • Go to the local cafe.  What better way of making an impression than meeting with the people at the cafe next door and often they have good information about the company and the people.  I remember a candidate of mine did this once and ended up in line with the guy who was about to interview him – guess who got the job!?
  • Go for a walk.  Use it as an opportunity to see what is in the neighbourhood – it creates a talking point in the interview – “I went for a short walk down the road and went into the park – it is amazing!”

In terms of when you should arrive – no more than 5 minutes early is perfect.  

Arrive then, and you’ve already got a couple of green ticks against your name!

About the author

Angela Cameron - CA, CPA

Executive Director

A chartered accountant by qualification, she is a recruitment leader by nature.

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