You have a face-to-face interview today. Great! The company is a short 25-minute car ride from your house. The position seems like something you would really enjoy, and you have only heard good things about the local management team.
You picked out your clothes the night before, and packed a dozen resumes into a dark blue folder. You got up early and skimmed through all of the research you did on the company. Then you checked that you had your questions ready to go and a pen and pad for taking notes. Everything is running smooth.
You start out, allowing enough time to be 5 to 10 minutes early. And then it happens. You turn a corner and the bridge is out. Concentrating on getting ready for your big day, you had not noticed the very heavy rain last night. You have already been on the road for 10 minutes and will need to turn around.
You know another way to get to the office, but you begin second guessing which turn you should take. You end up arriving 10 minutes late and rush into the building.
The Hiring Manager is gracious enough to still meet with you, but your head is not in the game. The hiring manager’s attention wanders and the interview gets cut short with a “I’m meeting with a lot of candidates today. I will get back to you concerning the next step.” And just like that, all of the preparation you did is gone.
Now natural disasters will happen. Roads flood and trees blow down across the road. Cities experience grid lock at peak times and trains are delayed due to on-going track repairs. If it can happen, as Murphy’s Law predicts, it will happen.
So, the plan is to anticipate these situations, and have a plan. To begin with, you should leave earlier. When I would travel to 9 AM meetings at the La Guardia NY Airport Marriot, I left the Jersey shore by 5 AM to avoid the rush hour traffic over the Verazano. We would get to the Marriot by 7:20 AM and go to a diner down the street for breakfast. We would arrive at the meeting at 8:30 AM, relaxed, fed, and ready for the day. The meeting would start exactly at 9 AM. Between 9:15 AM and 10:30 AM, there were always late arrivals. Our Vice President would make sure these late arrivals were recognized. I for one never wanted to be recognized like that.
If your interview is local, a dry run the day before is a good idea. Having made the trip once before, you will be more comfortable and be able to anticipate potential slowdowns. Get there early and relax in the parking lot. Then go in 5 to 10 minutes early.
Include in your plan some extra time to get to the interview. Arrive relaxed, fed, and ready for the (meeting) interview. It will make all the difference. And you will find yourself hearing those wonderful words “you’re hired” much sooner.