It is possible that you will have no control over what time your interview is scheduled. If the HR representative says 3:00 on Thursday, then you should do everything in your power to make that happen.
However, if HR asks you for your preference, then we have some tips for you. Research from Glassdoor offers some insight into planning your interview strategically, considering the time when interviewers will be most receptive.
Consider the following tips for scheduling your interview:
Avoid early mornings
Mornings are an uncertain time, especially if you have a family. In the morning, you are most likely to be hit with a dead car battery or a sick child. Moreover, think about morning traffic. Someone else’s car accident could derail your entire interview.
But aside from potential complications, interviewers have a lot going on in the mornings. They will be in the midst of checking their e-mails, setting an agenda for the day, and catching up from the day before. An early morning interview is difficult to prioritize when they’ve just arrived at work.
Avoid the end of the day
It’s a fact of life that people want to go home at the end of the day. Starting at about 4:00 pm, your interviewers are thinking about what’s for dinner, who is taking their kid to dance class, and what’s on TV that night. If you come in at the end of the day expecting a quality interview, it’s possible that you will be seen as interfering with these plans. At the very least, interviewers are more likely to struggle with concentration at the end of the day.
A lunchtime interview might make sense for you, particularly if you already work elsewhere and trying to keep your job hunt a secret. But remember that your lunch time isn’t just your lunch time.
Your interviewers value their break as well, and if you schedule your interview for lunch, they are more likely to resent you. Besides, they are probably hungry, and no one concentrates well when they’re hungry.
I don’t mean avoid scheduling your interview on Saturday or Sunday. I mean avoid the whole weekend. Monday mornings, Friday afternoons, or any time surrounding a three day weekend is bad timing. Your interviewers are likely preoccupied with preparing for or catching up from the time off. They could find it tough to give you their full attention.
Consider your own schedule
While you should make every effort to accommodate your interviewers, it is unwise to schedule your interview for a tight window or a time that is contingent on another person. An example of this is, “if I can sneak out of work early, then I’ll be able to be at the interview by 4:00.” Likewise, “I can squeeze in an interview before my son’s dentist appointment.”
Interviews are to be taken very seriously, not treated as another item to check off your list. If you want to represent your best self during your interview, then your mind should not be scattered among your scheduling conflicts. Do yourself a favor and carve out the time.
So when is the magic time for my interview?
Research says that Tuesdays at 10:30 am are the most productive time of the week. This is perfect for an interview– not too early, not too late, and not too close to the weekend.
If you have any control over when to schedule your interview, bear in mind the above tips and you’ll stand a higher chance of landing your dream job.