Most job seekers know that it's never a good idea to be late for that important job interview. Recruiters and employment counselors constantly advise that candidates arrive early. That's good advice, provided you don't take it too far. Being too early for a job interview is almost as bad as being late for the following reasons.
The person you're interviewing with is busy. She has a million things to do and you're a distraction if you're sitting in her lobby twiddling your thumbs and annoying her receptionist. Even if you're quiet and polite, you're a distraction calling attention to yourself and not in a good way.
It sends the message that you can't manage your time effectively. Somebody who is content to sit around a waiting room reading magazines for 30 minutes or longer is someone who is likely to sit around the office when there's work to be done.
You may bump into other candidates who are interviewing for the same post. Sizing up the competition may seem like a good idea, but it may end up annoying the manager who has taken great pains to schedule you in a manner so as to avoid such meetings.
It makes you appear desperate, not respectful. Most managers don't care about how badly you need the job. They care about what you can do for them and how you're going to fit in to their organizations. People who have nothing else to do typically need a lot of hand holding. This consumes valuable time and actually makes you less attractive than other candidates.
So how early is early enough? According to most experts, ten to fifteen minutes is about right. If you're worried that you're cutting it too close, arrive earlier and stay in your car or visit the Starbucks next door until ten minutes before your scheduled appointment. That way, you'll be on time, alert and ready to go!