The Best Time To Interview for a Job (Factors To Consider)
Updated July 12, 2023
An illustration of a person smiling at their laptop while listening and taking notes during a video call.
Receiving an offer to interview for a job is an exciting opportunity, and you may wonder when the ideal time for your meeting is. Choosing the right time may require you to avoid certain times of the day or days of the week, but it may help prepare you for success in your interview. Learning about optimal times may allow you pick the right date and time and understand what a fair compromise is when scheduling your meeting.
In this article, we discuss why it's important to pick the best time to interview and explain how to choose the right day and time.
Why is it important to schedule an interview at the best time?
Scheduling an interview for the best possible time can be important for a variety of reasons. For one, scheduling your interview at a time when the recruiter is most alert may improve the direction of the conversation and their perception of your qualifications for the job. Ensuring the best time for your interview can also be important for several more reasons, including:
Avoiding mental fatigue
Scheduling an interview at an optimal time can be an important influence on avoiding fatigue. For instance, setting your meeting for mid-morning can ensure the interviewer is at their most alert and engaged.
The time of day matters when interviewing. Seek the mid-morning timeframe whenever you can leverage the energy cycles of most people.
Pay attention to your own body clock. Schedule your interview for the time of day when you feel your best and have the most energy to present well and concentrate on the questions being asked.
—Carolynn Bruce, SHRM-SCP
Similarly, after lunch is often a good option because people are usually in a good mood after they eat. Aim to avoid scheduling the meeting before lunch because the recruiter may be hungry and distracted.
Likewise, opting for an interview mid-week rather than later in the week can ensure that everyone who is involved in your interview process is performing at their peak productivity. This can ensure you avoid interviewers running into mental fatigue and burnout from performing their professional duties.
Choosing a mid-week time slot may also help you avoid scheduling conflicts. For example, some employees like to leave early on Friday afternoon or companies close entirely for Fridays, so it may be difficult to coordinate a time for the interview.
Ensuring effective communication
Along with peak times for avoiding mental fatigue, the best interview times can be important for encouraging positive and effective communication. For example, you might experience a more personal conversation during an interview scheduled mid-morning or mid-week because the interviewer may be more engaged in their review of you. This can result in a deeper conversation, sharing common interests and generally building up a positive relationship with your interviewer, which may lead to a better chance of getting hired.
Increasing positive relationships
Interviewing at the best times can also be important for building relationships with the people you may work with in the future. For instance, earlier interviews in the middle of the week can increase the likelihood of full engagement and deeper conversation, which can lead to forming a lasting relationship with your interviewer. Forming these kinds of professional relationships may ultimately increase your chances of being hired for the job.
Avoiding the risk of bias
The best interview times can also be an important factor that can influence how an interviewer evaluates job candidates. For instance, interviewers may sometimes apply a review process where they might make positive or negative reviews regarding a candidate's qualifications for the job. The bias in this method can occur when interviewers try to balance out the number of positive versus negative reviews they make about various candidates.
This can happen as the workweek progresses for a variety of reasons, such as performance or mental fatigue. It can lead to an increase in the number of negative reviews at the end of a workweek of conducting interviews. Attending an earlier interview rather than one at the end of the day may help you receive more positive reviews from the interviewer.
Read more: How To Prepare for an Interview in 11 Steps
How to schedule an interview at the best time
When scheduling your interview, consider the following tips to help you set a meeting that will be convenient for all individuals involved as well as offer the best chance of success:
1. Avoid scheduling an interview early in the morning
One factor to consider when scheduling your interview is the time of day you choose. It can be a good idea to schedule your interview for a time when the company you're applying to has the chance to get started for the day.
Avoiding times that are too early, like when the hiring manager first arrives at work, can ensure your interviewer can arrive at work and complete any morning routines before settling into the interview process. Some optimal times to consider can include a late morning interview or up to an hour before lunch, such as 10 or 11 a.m.
Related: How To Prepare for 9 Interview Types
2. Schedule the interview in the middle of the week
Another way to approach scheduling your interview for the best time is to aim for a day during the middle of the workweek. This can mean arranging your meeting either on a Tuesday or a Wednesday.
Scheduling your interview for these days can increase the likelihood that your interviewer has progressed enough into the workweek that their stamina and productivity are at an optimum level. Waiting until after the start of the workweek can also help avoid the slow productivity levels that sometimes accompany returning to work on Mondays.
3. Try to schedule interviews away from lunchtime
Typically, most individuals take their lunch breaks sometime around noon, and avoiding setting an interview too close to this time can actually help influence how your interviewer conducts the conversation. For instance, scheduling an interview right before lunch can risk the recruiter being less engaged during your conversation because their focus may be on their lunch plans.
If your only option is an afternoon time slot, don't fret. Simply prepare yourself and manage your own energy. Be mindful that people's energy tends to be lower after lunch, so aim to be succinct and engaging so the time of day doesn't matter.
—Carolynn Bruce, SHRM-SCP
Similarly, scheduling an interview right after the lunch hour can risk a similar circumstance. The interviewer may be thinking about tasks they hoped to complete before their lunch break, reducing their engagement during your conversation. Choosing an interview slot shortly after lunch, such as an early afternoon time, may be a good option because the break gives them an opportunity to eat and relax their mind.
4. Compromise with the most convenient times
Sometimes it can be difficult to schedule an interview at the most optimal time. If you find that you're unable to schedule your interview for what you think is the best time, consider compromising with the interviewer's most convenient times.
You might ask what days or times work best for your appointment or offer them three to five potential interview slots. Doing so can show that you are considerate of others and their time and help them coordinate among their different schedules.
5. Avoid scheduling interviews just before and after holidays and weekends
Scheduling your interview right before or after a holiday or long weekend may also be something to avoid. This can be because many individuals find it hard to return to peak productivity and performance after spending time away from work. Similarly, scheduling an interview right before a long break can distract the interviewer's engagement and cognitive focus from your interview to their weekend plans.
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