When is early too early to arrive at a job interview?


“There is no such a thing as early, there’s on time and late.” That’s what comedian Chris Rock said his father taught him. Chris Rock’s father was clearly not a recruiter.

If he was, he’d know you really can be too early. Arriving way ahead of time to an interview, or any meeting, can work against you. It’s not a show of enthusiasm, it’s a show of inconsideration.

Here’s why. In agreeing to a time, you make a deal. If you show up at a much different time, you’re essentially changing the deal, without notice.

People tend to feel pressured to accommodate you rather than have you wait for an extended period of time. And as you know if you’ve ever had a guest arrive too early to your house for dinner, no one wins points for showing up before they’ve been invited to.

Being punctual is about being on time, not advancing the time.

It happens at The Bagg Group that candidates show up an hour or more before their interviews. Our lobbies at our downtown and regional offices are wonderful places, but it’s still not a good place to hang out at one for a long period time.

It doesn’t help your confidence, or your image, to stay parked in a chair for an hour, waiting to be seen.  waiting for interview

As you sit flipping through magazines, or more likely, looking at your phone, you could feel your energy and your optimism start to wane.

Beware of the power-zapping smartphone hunch

Many of us look at our smartphones while we sit and wait. And studies show that spending time hunching over our smartphones, or anytime we hunch, makes us feel less sure of ourselves.

Our body positions influences the way we think about ourselves, according to the research of Amy Cuddy, a world-renowned expert on the body-mind connection.

Hunching hurts our self-esteem

A fascinating study asked participants to do easy tasks, alone in a room, either on a smartphone or a desktop computer. Those working on a desktop looked straight ahead and sat upright. Those on their smartphones naturally hunched.

After five minutes, the researchers disabled the computers and took away the phones. They told participants they’d return in five minute to pay them for their time. But, they added, if they didn’t come back, it was because they were busy. In that case, the participants should leave their rooms to find them. In fact, the researchers had no intention or returning.

The results: After five minutes with nothing to do but stare at a clock, 94% of those who worked on the desktops left their rooms to look for the researchers.

But those who had been hunched over their phones were far more timid. Many stayed in their rooms or waited about 10 minutes before leaving to find the researcher.

The study found those who had been in a hunched in position felt powerless and not inclined to assert themselves. And that kind of self-doubt can affect your interview or any meeting you have.

When isn’t early too early?

Unless you’ve been specifically instructed to arrive early to complete any pre-interview actions, arriving five minutes early is optimal. Ten to 15 minutes is acceptable. More than that, go somewhere to wait out the time.

Top three best ways to kill time from the experts at The Bagg Group:

  1. Go for a walk. Weather permitting, walking is the best way to wait. Studies show walking boosts energy, and is found to be more effective than a nap for fighting fatigue or weariness.
  1. Wait at a café or in a car: If while at a café, you decide to go online, try not to check your email, bank statements, or personal Facebook page.  We urge you not to look at anything that may bring you down just before an important event. Instead, check the company’s Facebook page for latest posts, but purely for interest sake. The idea is to get into a curious mindset. Your genuine curiosity in the company, or the work of the people you’re about to meet, will guarantee an interesting conversation.
  1. Think about something that makes you feel good. Optimism sells, desperation and worry doesn’t. Think about times in your personal or professional life that make you feel good. Happy people make for happier interviews.

What to do while waiting 5 to 10 minutes in the lobby

Strike a power pose. Shoulders back, chin up. The idea is to expand. And if you can’t do it physically, just imagine yourself in a victory pose, with your job pose victoryhead back and your arms up in the air, as if you just won a race.

The science says taking on a posture of winner will make you feel more confident, less anxious and generally more positive.

At the Bagg Group, happiness isn’t a word, it’s a key value that guides our placements

 At Bagg Professional, Bagg Technology Resources (BTR), Bagg @ Your Service, Bagg Managed Resources (BMR), and Turn Key Staffing Solutions, we pride ourselves on our unmatched record for happy placements. We know that when you’re in the right company for you, doing the right job for you, everybody wins.  You’re happy, your employer is happy, your friends and family are happy.  And that’s when we get happy.

So it’s important to us that you go into any interview, feeling good about who you are — confident to answer questions and ask them.  Hanging out in a reception area for an hour isn’t the best way to feel powerful. Instead, take the advice from the experts in happy placements and plan to arrive close to the time, and keep your head up!


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