I recently interviewed a candidate who arrived an hour early, fully expecting the interview to take place then, and offering no explanation for the change in time. Aside from putting me off, the incident got me thinking about some basic job interview rules.
* Show up on time -- Don't be more than 15 minutes early and definitely don't be late. Call if you must change your plans.
* Ask to see the place ? Taking a brief tour shows your interest in the company, which earns you bonus points. It also allows you to see the lay of the land. You'll find out right away whether the office is too cramped with micro cubes and whether or not most people have their own offices.
* Despite what all the books and articles state, you don't have to know anything about the company -- Especially in this era of labor shortages, you don't have to do research prior to an interview. However, it definitely looks good to ask about what the company does. You can then describe your relevant skills, even if your resume doesn't seem to show any. Also, getting a better idea about the company helps you decide if that is the right place for you.
* Don't lie -- I come from Midwest USA so I assume this is a given, but apparently not. I actually sat through a welcoming lunch for a newly hired person who received cell phone calls during lunch from this person's other employer. The other employer expected this person to start work on the same day, at another firm. This person had lied to the other firm? leading to the next point....
* The technology community is smaller than you think -- Even in a place like Silicon Valley, people switch jobs. Chances are, the people you meet today will be around later. If you burn your bridges now, you may not have any bridges left when you really need a job. Where I live, the technology community is surprisingly tight-knit and I see people every day I know from previous jobs.