Why Should You Be Early For an Interview – Even on Zoom Suman July 22, 2021

Why Should You Be Early For an Interview – Even on Zoom


It’s a Zoom interview and you can be online with the click of a button!

15 minutes for the interview, you look at the clock and think – Hey! I am already in my formal clothes and I am all set!

2 minutes to the interview, you fire up your device.

While it’s connecting you realise, you need a notepad and a pen. You run to your room to get it.

When the call starts, your microphone isn’t working. But the call is live since you logged it exactly at the scheduled time, not earlier.

As soon as you get it working and the questions start, you wish you had a copy of your resume with you for quick reference!

All this confusion could have been avoided with just one action –

Log in with enough time to spare!

In this post, I want to talk about time management tips for interviews online and offline (for post pandemic era)

Benefits of being early

Whether it’s online or offline, being early has many benefits:

– You have time to set everything up – put together things you will need – maybe a pen and paper, some water, a copy of your resume

– You are relaxed and prepared. Having time on your side is never a bad thing.

– It puts you in the right frame of mind

– It’s even more important when you actually do it offline. Instead of rushing into the interview room straight out of your commuting nightmare, you’ll have time to pause and compose yourself.

READ MORE: 10 tips to ace placements this year

Timeline for being early online

Since we are currently jumping mainly into virtual interviews, let’s start with that:

30 minutes before the interview time

Set an alarm to alert you that it’s time to get going.

That’s your cue to stop whatever you are doing, change out of your pajamas – at least wear a formal shirt/top – comb your hair (apply make up) and be camera ready.

Try to look as close to how you would if you were actually stepping out for an interview. Don’t cut corners.

BONUS TIP: You can even apply some perfume and chew a mint! Even though the interviewers won’t know, you will feel daisy fresh and confident.

Photo by Oli Dale on Unsplash

15 minutes before

Make sure your internet is working, the camera is connected and your device is fully charged (or on charging) and you have a bottle of water (with the lid on) on your table.

Use a sheet of paper where you can jot down useful points in advance.

Like chronology of your work, projects done, the skills you want to highlight through them. Prompters for talking points, basically.

BONUS TIP: If you fumble with some things, you can add reminders to this sheet – or add post its

TALK SLOWLY”, if your rate of speech is high.

Or “LOOK INTO THE CAMERA ” to remind you to look at the lens and not your own image on the screen.

Also, have a notepad to write down any useful information that might come up during the interview. Any projects to check out and phone numbers to jot down.

5 minutes before

Be ready with your phone on silent, door bell switched off and log into your meeting link.

Do one last microphone check and put yourself in power pose for the remaining couple of minutes!

Here’s a checklist that you can save!

Virtual Interview checklist

I am assuming that you’d already have the basics of virtual presence in place like your camera and lighting. If not, the blog post below gives you a checklist for any virtual communication scenario.

READ MORE: How to ace virtual communication in any situation

Timeline for being early oflline

Now let’s also look at the offline scenario – hopefully by next year we will go back to our pre-pandemic life!

In a country like India, where “traffic” is an excuse that is often used to cover our bad punctuality habits, it may not work for being late to an interview.

Apart from that, almost all big companies have security checks at multiple points. You’ll need to account for time spent to get into the office.

Reaching early will help you compose yourself.

Aim to reach at least 30 minutes early (which means you should be leaving at least 1.5 hours before the interview time, especially if you live in a big city.

Here are a few things to do in the timeline you have before the interview:

1. Use this time to use the facilities, comb your hair, touch up your make-up, change into your heels (if needed), recheck that your file has all papers in place

2. Take deep breaths and get into a power pose for 2 minutes. Recent studies show that you can use expansive body language to feel confident in stressful situations.

3. Once you’ve jumped through check-ins and collected yourself, head to the interview room

Look around and get comfortable. If you have others waiting, greet them politely

You could also ask general questions to get an idea of competition. If people are not inclined to talk, let them be.

4. Sit with a confident body language, don’t slouch over your phone. That just puts you back in low power pose

5. Your conduct outside the interview room is equally important. So conduct yourself with aplomb.

READ MORE: How to handle stress interviews 

I did a Linkedin Live on how to win your dream job especially in a virtual interview and here is a detailed post about it and the recording. If you are appearing for interviews in the pandemic era, I highly recommend that you watch it.

To sum up, it’s a good idea to plan your interview properly and that includes how you spend the time before the interview.

Think of what all you will need and keep it ready. Switching from home clothes to interview mode could be challenging in a virtual scenario but giving yourself enough time is the key to it.

Breathe deeply and use power pose to channel your confident self onto the screen.

READ MORE: How NOT to introduce yourself in an interview 

If you are looking for help in projecting your best self in a virtual interview, you can get in touch with me here.

You can also connect with me on Linkedin for daily posts on developing soft skills and communication.

You should also check out the series I recently did on my YouTube channel: how to introduce yourself impactfully in an interview