When you're invited to interview for a job, the recruiter or hiring manager may pre-assign you to a time slot or provide you with a few scheduling options. If you're assigned a specific time, then (of course!) that is the best time to interview. If you are given a few choices, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each one before deciding which interview time is most likely to increase your chances of being hired. Discover what to consider when making such a decision.
Opinion vs. Reality: Best Time to Interview
There are a lot of opinions on what days of the week and times of day are the best ones to interview. Some people think a morning appointment that isn't too close to the beginning of the day or just before lunch is best. Some think an hour or so after lunch is ideal, or even a bit later, as long as the interview isn't scheduled too close to quitting time. In reality, there isn't a perfect interview time that applies across the board.
- Not everyone's schedule preferences are the same. Your perceptions of a "good time" to interview may not at all match the reality of what the interviewer's schedule looks like.
- People who are responsible for interviewing candidates are focused on finding prospective employees who are good fits for the job they need to fill.
- Any timeframe that a recruiter or hiring manager offers you is what they have designated as a good time to schedule an interview; regardless of what anyone else has to say about appropriate interview times.
- Whether it's early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or around the time you think they would probably eat lunch, it's a good time for them. They wouldn't have provided that time slot as an option otherwise.
An interviewer may keep hours that are very different from what you would expect. Recruiters often schedule interviews around job fairs and recruiting events. They are also usually accustomed to interviewing throughout the work day, as well as outside of ordinary business hours, to accommodate applicants who are currently employed elsewhere. Hiring managers fit candidate interviews into their schedules around their many other responsibilities.
Which Interview Slot Is Best for You?
While some interviewers may offer only one interview time, chances are that they'll provide you with a few time slots from which to select. So, the real decision you need to make is this: of the available options, during which time are you likely to make the most positive impression on the interviewer?
- If you are a morning person, it's probably best for you to accept the earliest appointment time out of the options the interviewer provides to you.
- If the interview is a remote interview via Zoom or teleconferencing, opt for a time when you won't have background noise or distractions.
- If you'll be driving to the interview, compare the options to high and low traffic times so you can select the timeframe that is least likely to involve traffic delays.
- If you'll be taking public transportation to the interview, take factors like bus or train schedules (and the likelihood of delays) into consideration when evaluating the available time slots.
- If you get really sleepy after you eat lunch, choose a time before you usually eat, or long enough after you eat, so you'll be energetic during the interview.
The idea is to think through what factors will impact the time of day that works best for you, and look for the interview scheduling option that will improve your odds of making the best possible impression on the person with whom you'll be interviewing.
Interview Sooner Rather Than Later
Once you've thought through the various factors that could make a particular time slot work for you, there may not be an option that seems obviously better than the others. If that's the case for you, consider choosing the first available time the interviewer provided as an option. Doing so will demonstrate that you're ready to act quickly, which can convey that you really want the job. It also gives you an opportunity to be among the first to interview, which might provide you with a competitive advantage.
Choose Your Time Slot Quickly
Recruiters and hiring managers are busy people with hectic schedules that can fill up rapidly. Chances are they'll be scheduling interviews with multiple people, so you shouldn't delay with making your selection. Remember: no time that an interviewer offers to you is a bad time for them. Act quickly to choose the time that works best for you while it's still available. Once you've scheduled your interview, you can turn your attention to deciding what to wear and how to answer challenging interview questions. These things have much more impact on your odds of getting hired than worrying about what time to book your meeting with the interviewer.