Got a job interview in a few days? You probably have a lot on your mind, and unfortunately, not all of it is good (where are those lucky socks?). While you may be focused on the things you think you can’t control, let’s put your mind at ease about one thing: you can absolutely, positively make it to your interview on time. No, it’s not magic; you just have to follow three easy steps:
Step One: Know Your Route(s) and What You Can Generally Expect
GPS navigation apps have been game changers for those looking to get from Point A to Point B on time. While the technology is definitely more advanced and accurate than it was way back in, say, 2015, when it comes to something as important as a job interview you need to take extra steps to make sure you get to your interview with time to spare. The day before your big day, take a moment to check suggested routes and where they may take you. What is your best highway route? Are there any short cuts that make sense? Be aware that navigation apps aren’t always good at judging traffic on busy side streets, so knowing ahead of time that you may run into a string of stoplights, or merging traffic, can help you make decisions when you are on the road.
Step Two: Leave a “Cushion”
You know those arrival times apps like Google Maps and Waze give you? Not only is it a cool feature that can help you better plan your drive, but they are also fairly accurate. Of course, “fairly accurate” is not acceptable when it comes to getting to your interview on time. Leaving some extra time for your drive and giving yourself a little “cushion” is always a smart idea. If you are only traveling a few miles and have a fairly uneventful route, five to 10 minutes will do; on the other hand, if you are traveling a longer distance for your interview, or you are dealing with those unpredictable metropolitan areas, you may want to give yourself an extra 30 minutes, just to be extra safe.
While you may not need it, it’s better that you have a few minutes to stop off and get a coffee at your destination than to be white-knuckling it through the last few miles of your drive.
Step Three: Know In Advance Where You Need To Park
Planning for your drive is all well and good, but not knowing where you are supposed to park can easily lead to a mini-breakdown right before your interview. Luckily, most companies will give you directions on where to park ahead of time (this is why you read the entire email they send you regarding your upcoming interview), whether it be a dedicated lot or a nearby garage that validates. If you find that the company does not give you instructions, or tells you to find (gasp) street parking, you want to follow the advice from Step One and research where you are going to park before you leave. Use your GPS app or your favorite search engine to find a list of parking options in your area. You may find that the city will actually allow you to reserve a spot before you arrive, meaning that you can prepay through an app and have the spot waiting for you.
This is also a fine time to bring up the fact that using public transport to get to your interview isn’t the worst idea, especially if it is easily accessible.
BONUS: But what if the unthinkable happens and you are stuck in horrible traffic and may miss your interview?
So let’s say that you’ve followed all the steps and you still find yourself in some sort of apocalyptic situation where you are going to be late. The key is to be in front of the issue, and call the office before your meeting is supposed to take place. If you are dealing with something that is completely out of your control, be upfront with it. Maybe the 405 was closed due to an oil spill and you were stuck between off-ramps, or there is a pod of escaped hippos that are currently taking a nap on the turnpike. If you are honest about the situation, most Hiring Managers will be understanding, especially if you aren’t the only person who is running late to work because of that whole hippo situation.