Interviews are where people get hired. If you’re called to one, it means your paperwork has been closely reviewed and they want to know more. Another way to look at it is to say they looked at your papers and couldn’t fault you on them.
Its very likely this is your first meeting with this person, and its also an important one. You need to make a good first impression. You won’t get a second chance. Look pleased to meet them. Raise your eyebrows and widen your smile in recognition when you're introduced, or when he or she introduces himself or herself. Be sure to put some character into your handshake.
Now they want a look at the real thing to see if they can find any real problems. You had better believe that the disqualification process restarts as soon as you show up. The following items are petty and really don’t have anything to do with whether or not you can do the job.
The interview actually starts before you get there. Candidates that show up too early could be viewed as over-eager. Being on time is good, showing up five to ten minutes early is not a bad idea. However, fifteen or more minutes early could cause the candidate a problem.
Its likely the executive scheduled to interview you is busy, all executives are. To them, time is money, and candidates should assume the man or woman they’re going to see isn’t waiting for them to show up and start their day. That executive is very likely already operating in high gear handling their normal daily business. If the receptionist interrupts them with the news you showed up thirty minutes early, you’re likely to interrupt their plan for the day.
He or she is probably watching the time, and figured they still have another half an hour to take care of the newest emergency, or the already long postponed letter they’ve been meaning to write. Its very likely, he or she is going to have to make you wait, and if he or she is the kind of boss you want to have, they’ll feel guilty about making you wait. It will make them feel uncomfortable, and that feeling will be associated with you. You don’t need that.
If you get there more than fifteen minutes early, I suggest you wait outside the office to avoid telling the receptionist you’re there. Get a cup of coffee or tea if there’s a nearby cafe. The point is you’re going to do the waiting anyway. Don’t do anything that might make whoever you're there to meet feel uncomfortable. Your job at the interview is to make that person like you. They have to feel comfortable about you. They need to think you’re a problem solver not a problem creator.
Being late is of course worse. Don’t do it. If you don’t know where the place is, don’t assume you’ll find it easily. Assume the worst, and give yourself plenty of time to find a location that has been specifically hidden from you. That’s right, figure everything that can go wrong will and make allowances for it. Figure on spending an hour finding the place or a parking space, and work from there.
In short, do whatever you have to, to make sure you aren’t late. Remember, the best laid plans of mice and men do often go astray. If it looks like you’re going to be detained, call your appointment and warn them. Tell them what the problem is, tell them there’s an accident on the highway, the traffic is very heavy, whatever the problem is.
The important thing is you’ve got to keep them informed of your status. If you do that you’re telling that executive you value him and his time.