As a candidate, you want to perform to the best of your ability when invited to an interview. As the employment market becomes more buoyant you may find yourself involved in a number of interviews in a short space of time. Naturally, you’ll want to ensure you are the preferred candidate on each occasion but what exactly is the optimum timing to achieve this?
Here are some suggestions based on latest research:
Schedule your interviews from Tuesday to Thursday: To ensure you have the hiring manager’s full attention avoid attending interviews on a Monday or Friday. We all know what it feels like in first thing on a Monday morning, trying to plan the week ahead, or resolve issues that were left unattended before the weekend. By the time Friday comes along, your interviewer will be equally stressed; as they attempt to complete their scheduled tasks for the week, you’ll be unlikely to get their full attention.
Get your timing right: Experts believe that there are two optimum time spans for scheduling an interview from the candidate’s viewpoint, based on a typical 9 to 5 working day. Firstly, avoid “early morning” appointments. Aim for between 10am and 11am. The pre- or post-lunch slots may mean a distracted or lethargic hiring manager. Play it safe with afternoon interviews between 2pm and 4pm. If the employer’s working day ends at 5pm and the interviewer has evening activities planned, their attention will be elsewhere after 4pm.
Avoid “decision fatigue”: To complicate matters further, the National Academy of Science carried out a study of 1,100 judges that revealed they were more likely to respond favorably to applications for parole during the morning. The assumption here is that they experience a type of “decision fatigue” later in the day, veering towards caution as their critical faculties may not be working as effectively. Using similar principles, researchers suggest that a morning interview might give you the edge against the other candidates.
Get into the top three: More support for early interviews comes from a survey by the Wharton Business School into MBA assessments. This revealed that if three candidates had already been recommended on any single day, the assessors were unlikely to recommend a fourth on that day.
Does it really matter what time of day a candidate attends an interview?
To ensure you stand the best possible opportunity of securing a job offer, every opportunity to maximize your chances should be taken, but this advice comes with three caveats:
- Results of studies vary: To throw some confusion into the mix, some recent studies have suggested that Friday may not be as detrimental to your chances of receiving a job offer as was first believed – but all concur that Monday is not a good day! Careers site Glassdoor reported one survey that suggested Tuesday may be the best day of all.
- If an employer provides you with a fixed time, don’t attempt to reschedule it unless it is unavoidable! The advice in this article is aimed at candidates who are given an option.
- Always carry out your research before an interview. No amount of great scheduling will compensate for an unprepared candidate with a lack of relevant experience and a bad attitude.
We want to hear from you
Are you an employer with advice on the best time to schedule an interview? Share your expertise and experience in the comments below.