We stress to candidates all the time the importance of being on time to an interview whether it be with us, the recruiter, or with the client. Sometimes the tables are turned, however, and the clients need to be reminded the importance of being on time to an interview with a potential new employee. While the client expects the candidate to be punctual and deserves that courtesy, the candidate deserves the same courtesy and if it is not shown, could ruin their experience with that particular company.
I recently had a senior candidate interviewing with a client for an important hire at the Vice President level. My client had reached out to me stressing the fact that she needed to hire someone relatively quickly and that this person would be playing a key role within the New York office. When I prepped my candidate I spoke about the company culture and touched on the importance of being Type A, organized, punctual and overall holding a ‘on top of your game’ mentality. She was happy to hear this as this is her in a nutshell.
My candidate was scheduled for a 1pm interview and planned for a 2:30pm departure back to her office (she had client meetings for the remainder of the afternoon, which my client was well aware of). At 1:10 my candidate emailed my assistant as the client still had not come to get her as planned. She patiently waited for another 10 minutes while we were unsuccessful in locating the client via phone and email. When we did get a hold of our client, she said she was running behind and had lost track of time, not seeming phased by her tardiness. They met shortly after at about 1:30, but the damage was already done. My candidate was thrown off, feeling rushed and unimpressed.
The initial interview between client and candidate is similar to a first date. Both parties need to be making a good impression on one another. Yes, the candidate is applying for a job with the client, but the client still needs to sell the position and company to the candidate. When a client wants to attract top talent they need to present like a top tier establishment. This is why timing plays such an important role. Not only was my candidate thrown off going into the interview (where tensions can already be high), but she left with a poor impression of our client and wasn’t interested in going back for a second interview. Don’t get me wrong, the same goes for candidates needing to respect the clients time. When a candidate shows up to an interview late, 99 percent of the time they are not asked to come back in for a second interview.
Being punctual is a great quality to demonstrate in your everyday life, but when interviewing its essential. Whether you are the client or the candidate, be sure to practice it.