Home > Job Search Tips, Sales > Interview Tips: Getting Directions

Interview Tips: Getting Directions

Just had a random interaction with my father-in-law that made me think of a piece of advice.

I just sent out a note to my nearby family asking if they woukd like to meet for dinner. I sent a link to the proposed restaurant, complete with menu, photos, address and phone number.

Guess his response. You guessed it, “Where is this place?”

I guess the address and google map just didn’t do it for him. This is a major difference between people 40 something and people 70 something, however I suddenly had flashbacks. Flashbacks to candidates asking me for directions to the interview when I have taken the time to post our address and detailed directions on our web site.

So, let me get this straight.  You are trying to impress me.  You want a job.  You are trying to prove that you are resourceful.  So right out of the gate, you want me to spend 5 minutes giving you detailed directions.  WRONGO, Bucky.  Your interview will be cancelled as soon as I have 30 minutes to come up with an excuse.  #fail

If you are dealing with potential customers, employers or friends, don’t ask them for directions.  Google Maps or any map site will create easy directions for you.

Google Maps


Let me know YOUR favorite map software or resource for directions!  Also, I’d love any “directions” horror stories.

  1. December 22, 2010 at 4:04 am


    Very interesting.

    So, from my perspective, I have three best practices:
    1. Confirm, confirm, confirm
    I always ask for specific addresses of relevant sites and will read back all the information when given it. I’ll let it sit for the remainder of the meeting and then I will again do a “read back” of the address and the time where I will need to be. Doing this helps leave openings for corrections and catching things that get missed.

    2. “Can you describe the area?”
    It may sound dumb, but it’s not. Why? Addresses and mapping software aren’t necessarily exact. So I ask the “locals” to describe the area around and the facility where I need to be. Colors, landmarks, signage — anything that will help me build a picture of the area. Then, I will use the street view on Google to help gain some situational awareness for the location. By the time I get there, it’s not as foreign.

    3. Walk/drive the route in advance
    I like to do all this prep and then actually do a “dry run”. Get from A->B and confirm my estimates on transit time. Consider parking, facility entrances, etc. This is such an important element, because by the time it’s time to go to the facility, I am now getting my head in the game I am about to go into — not trying to figure out where I am trying to go.

    When I leave out one of them, I am likely to miss an important detail and look like a schmuck. If I follow it, it ALWAYS turns out well. And I also plan it so that I get there 5-10 minutes in advance of my appointment! 🙂


  2. December 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I like this point of view. As a typical macho male that generally hates to ask for directions anyway, I think such things as Google Maps and MapQuest are fantastic services and in the 21st century, there are multiple ways to find a single location. With this in mind, it would be a little disheartening to have a supposed technology person ask for directions, especially if there’s already information included in an email.

    Since I never arrive anywhere new without getting lost first, I at least take kengon’s advice on allowing enough time and/or finding the location a day before the interview.

    My final note: I love Google Maps, but I found out that you do have to verify the address as location coordinates can be wrong and then you really do end up looking like a schmuck, but thankfully I have a good skill at getting unlost (is that a word?). MapQuest has been great in the past, but it now can’t compete with the juggernaut known as Google.

    • December 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      Yea…MapQuest is out, but it didn’t feel right just listing one option:)

      I agree…give yourself plenty of time.

      If you like to get specific directions, another idea is to call the company’s receptionist. Those guys won’t be frustrated with your questioning:)

      Thanks so much for commenting!

  3. December 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I’ve gotta love your thoroughness! Thanks for contributing:)

    • December 22, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      You’re very welcome. Great topic!

  4. Adriaan van de Rijken
    January 10, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    It doesn’t work if the company you are interviewing with has multiple locations.

    • January 10, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      Excellent point! I am not saying to not ask for the address if it’s not apparent:) I’m not insisting that you use psychic medium skills….but don’t ask “what exit” and “where do I turn”….AND, if they already included the address in an email to you regarding the meeting, do NOT call back for directions. The funny thing is that I thought you guys never ask for directions:)

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