We’ve gone over many important pieces to making a positive impression during your scholarship interview. A very key component of making a positive first impression and being professional is being on time for your interview. Keep in mind that scholarships are a business venture and should be treated as such. Here are 5 tips to make sure you get to your interview on time:
1. Gather everything you need the night before. The morning of your interview is NOT the time to find out your pants have a hole in them or the shoes that match your outfit have mysteriously gone missing. Be sure to lay out your clothes and any other materials you need the night before to make sure they are waiting for you already.
2. Allow PLENTY of time. You should plan to leave at least 30 minutes before you actually need to, in order to allow yourself a safety cushion for anything that might come up. If you arrive at your destination way too early, that’s a great thing! You can use this extra time to go over your interview answers one more time and calm your nerves.
3. Take traffic issues into account. When you are deciding when you need to leave the house, be sure to take into account your route and any traffic issues that might pop up. This can include construction, rush hour traffic, etc. Always factor unexpected delays into your time calculations.
4. Know where you are going. Yes, you printed off Google Maps directions yesterday, but that doesn’t mean you know where you’re going. Your computer won’t be able to tell you where to park or that the organization’s office is on the 8th floor. Because of these unknowns it is wise to do a “practice drive” to the site of your interview ahead of time.
5. Show off your punctuality. Enter the scholarship office exactly ten minutes prior to the start of your interview. This speaks volumes about your responsibility and professionalism. Don’t go in any earlier than ten minutes, however, because then you will just be considered a pest.
So, what should you do if despite your very best intentions, you are running late? If something unpredictable happens and you’re going to be even just a few minutes late, here’s what you should do to mitigate the damage to your reputation:
1. Alert the committee as soon as you possibly can. If your car won’t start and you need to get a ride from someone else, call and alert the appropriate individual about what’s going on and your estimated arrival time. If your interviewer knows ahead of time that they have an extra 30 minutes to check email and return phone calls they will be much happier than if they are sitting there waiting for you without knowledge of what’s going on. You will also feel much more calm once you’ve informed them of your situation and will arrive much more relaxed.
2. Show consideration for the interviewer’s busy schedule. Let the committee know that you are respectful of their busy schedules and are willing to change your time if your tardiness will make things difficult for them. Do this even if it means moving to another day.
3. When in doubt – call. Have the organization’s phone number handy so you can call if something is holding you up on the road. Even if you aren’t sure if you will be late or not, it’s best to call and place a “warning call.” Your interviewer will be impressed by your considerate nature.
4. Consider your excuses before you make them. It’s always polite to provide an explanation for your tardiness, but remember that what you say can also reflect poorly on you as a scholarship candidate. If you don’t have a good excuse, don’t say anything at all! Especially if your excuse will make you seem irresponsible and