7 Pointers on Scheduling and Punctuality

Interview Tips

1. Arrive on Time

After confirming the interview time and the address, do a search online to find the building. Look for nearby locations like a Starbucks where you can grab a coffee and review your notes on the firm or company. On the day of your interview, go to the nearby Starbucks or other coffee bar you looked up. You’re early enough that you’re relaxed and poised, not rushed. Leave for the interview about 20 minutes before the start time to allow yourself 10 minutes to get to the building and arrive on time. You may have to sign in. Arriving 10 minutes early is ideal.

2. Scheduling Time

When scheduling an interview, never sneak out from your current job to meet with an employer. It can make you look stressed if you have to be back by a certain time and you keep checking your watch or pulling out your smartphone. If you’re interviewing while currently employed, leave early one day or block out a few hours for “personal time” and then schedule all interviews around that block of time. That way, if one interview goes over and they want you to meet with a second person, you’ll have time and can focus on your new potential employer.

3. Don’t Leave Early

A big mistake people make with interviewing is not leaving enough time for an interview. Ask ahead of time how many people you will be meeting with, and never book interviews back to back unless you have a two-hour window in between. Remember, you can always hang out at a nearby coffee shop in between interviews to eat something and await your next interview. What you want to avoid is being in an interview with a company that really likes you and you can’t stay to meet with everyone. When they send in person after person, they’re interested in you.

4. Be Alert

When you have interviews scheduled back to back, it can take time and your blood sugar can drop, especially if you’re interviewing for two hours or longer. To help yourself, eat before you arrive and brush your teeth so your breath is fresh. Once you arrive at your interview location, go to the bathroom and pop in a mint (but never gum). If you are interviewing with multiple people and you scoot out to use the restroom, eat another mint. Women often hide a protein bar in their bags and a tiny bottle of water. Stay alert, fresh and ask questions.

5. Weather Planning

Depending on when you interview, the weather can be tricky. Interviewing in the summer might mean you’ll be sweating outdoors trying to find your interview location. If you’re wearing a suit and the temperature is in the 90s, it can have you soaked in sweat before you reach the lobby. To help, neatly carry your jacket with you, bring a cold beverage and freshen up in the restroom before your interview. With icy conditions and rain, leave your outer coat, rain/snow boots and umbrella in the foyer closet at reception. You’ll be ready to interview and look impeccable!

6. Anticipating Delays

If you commute by bus or train, or if there are a lot of traffic delays, plan for this before your interview and map your travel route. Use travel and traffic apps to help you find your destination and plan on how to get there on time. If you can change the interview to later in the day, maybe between 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., there’s less likelihood you’ll run into traffic. It can affect you adversely if you tell a potential employer you had a “tough commute” because you’re coming from home. In their eyes, you might be late EVERY day.

7. Showing Flexibility

Some potential employers may ask that you arrive super early or super late. This is often the case with bankers, brokers, CEOs, owners and hedge fund managers who will schedule interviews before a morning meeting or after the market closes at 4:00 p.m. The more flexible and accommodating you are, the better you will look with potential employers. You’ll also find that managers aren’t rushed. If they have to leave unexpectedly or end an interview abruptly, be gracious. When you’re flexible with their schedules, it can go a long way.