Job seeker services
First impressions matter
It's not okay to be late - it can leave a bad impression. You might miss out on your dream job. I meet people who just don't care. They think being late is not a big deal; that "2.00pm" means "around 2.00pm". If you think this way - it's time to think again.
Here are some tips to help you plan your arrival.
1. Get in touch
Before the interview, always email, SMS or call the interviewer to confirm that you will be there and are looking forward to the meeting. This sends a message that you are serious - you value their time, and you will show up.
2. Plan your route
Plan your route carefully and allow for delays and traffic. Look up the location on Google Maps. Go to street views. Study the street and the building. Plan where you are going to park your car. If you are driving a car that is not in the best condition do not park in front of the office - where it can be seen. By being out of visibility, you can then sit and prepare without the feeling of being watched. If you are going by public transport you can plan your route too.
Either way plan to arrive at the location 15 minutes before so that you are relaxed. I have seen people running late and having to rush in the summer heat. Arriving sweating like they have just come off a treadmill.
3. Save the number
Before you leave home, enter the office's number into your mobile so you can quickly access it. If you have their mobile number - that is even better. If you have their email address enter this into your mobile phone too so you can email them just in case, you cannot get hold of them via the phone. Give yourself multiple alternatives.
If you are driving set your mobile up on hands-free so you don't have to pull over. Also don't forget the umbrella if there is a slight chance of rain.
Okay, let's assume that you are running late… call and apologise. Be sincere and professional - strike a balance between saying too much and too little. Keep your message direct and brief. Don't go into too much detail as to why you are late. Provide information, not excuses. Have a good reason - such as actions outside of your control. Actions you could not have foreseen. Regular traffic issues are not great excuses.
Here is an example of what to say - "I have just come out of a meeting that took longer than anticipated"... “I am really sorry about this because I know you have allocated a set time slot for us to meet. I should be there in about 15 minutes or so. Is it still convenient for you or do you want to reschedule?” – you give him an option. If you are 5 minutes late you still call but you don’t have to give the option of rescheduling.
When you do arrive, it is professional courtesy to apologise for your lateness, but don’t overdo it. Since you have arrived - it is now in the past. It is time to stay calm and confident. The show is on.
Let's say you are early by 1 hour. A meeting finished early. You could wait - or you could call and say. “I have just finished a meeting early and would like to give you an option to meet earlier if that is preferable to you? I am happy either way.... I would just like to give you some flexibility." You are doing them a favor.
Don’t say "I would like to hear if I could come earlier" because then they are doing you a favour and you owe them... you want to arrive as much as possible on an even footing.