More often than not, hiring managers will give you a couple of options. For example, they will tell you that you can come for an interview on Wednesday 9am, Wednesday 2pm and Thursday 5pm. In some cases, they may even let you choose the schedule online, in some interface on their corporate website, with plenty of options to choose from. In such a case, you can have a few questions on your mind. First of all, whether it makes any difference. Secondly, what time you should choose, in order to improve your chances to eventually get the job. And last but not least, is there any particularly wrong time to interview for a job, a schedule you should avoid at all costs? We will try to look at all of these questions right now.
The most important thing is to pick a fitting time for you
You can look at the timing from the perspective of the employer (and we will look at it later in the article), but the most important thing is to look at it from your personal perspective. Just to give you a quick example to get my point over: Many people hate mornings. It takes them a couple of hours to get their brain working, to really “wake up”, and to be able to react quickly to requests and questions, to solve any problems.
If it is your case (and no reason to be ashamed here), you should definitely schedule your interview for the afternoon. On the contrary, if you are a morning person, and your mind works best before lunch (that’s my case, for example), it would make a little sense to schedule your interview for 5pm.
You know yourself the best. Think about your energy levels during the day. You should schedule an interview for the time of the day when you feel at your creative best, a time when you can demonstrate the full array of your abilities to the hiring managers. This is an individual thing for everyone, and the only guide you should follow here are your own feelings and experiences…
Check the traffic connection before scheduling your interview
A minor but not completely unimportant detail to keep on your mind is your journey to the company. How far is it from your residence? Will you have to travel one day in advance? And, if you schedule your interview for 8am (the time of the day when you feel at your best), won’t it mean that you’ll have to wake up at 4am, or some other unnatural time for your body, just to get to the place in time?
You should definitely consider these things before making a final decision. Because everything has an impact on your performance on the big day. For example, if you are extremely stressed because of the journey, or schedule an interview in such a manner that you’ll arrive to the place with your bus or train 5 minutes before the start of an interview, you will be likely impacted by your nerves…
* May also interest you: How to know if you failed a phone interview?
The last candidate typically gets the toughest interview
Let’s have a look at the perspective of an employer, and what does it means for your interview scheduling. First of all, in nine out of ten cases, the hiring managers will have a template of questions in front of them, trying to ask all candidates the same questions. But in reality it rarely works this way.
As they progress with the interviews, hear answers of different candidates and ask follow-up questions, they will realize that this or that question is missing on their template, or that things are going way too easy for the candidates, and they should add some tricky questions to the mix, to understand better the differences between the applicants.
As a rule of thumb, the later your schedule (the more people they talked to beforehand), the tougher your interview will get. But this isn’t necessarily only a bad thing. Because with the first candidates they realized too late that they needed to ask them this or that extra question to get the full picture. You, interviewing late, will answer everything they wonder about. They will have more information about you than about other candidates, which can play to your favor. Of course, it won’t be the case if you answer some of their tricky questions with silence…
Interviewers do also get tired as the day progresses
You should realize that hiring managers are people from flesh and bones, just like you or me. It is not easy for anyone to lead a long day of interviews, for example from 8am to 8pm, with a sole one hour break for lunch. I’ve led such interview sessions, and I can tell you that at the end of the day I was often completely drained of energy. But what does it mean for you?
It means that hiring managers may not pay the same attention in the afternoons and evening as they do in the morning. They are more tired, they’ve seen many applicants already, maybe they have chosen their favorite by now, and they just want to survive the meeting with you, and finally head for a dinner and a bad afterwards… Needless to say, this isn’t always the case, and some interviewers may actually feel better in the evening, and pay more attention. As a rule of a thumb, however, the later you interview for job, the more tired they will be.
Hiring managers can forget you quickly, unless you stand out
Imagine the following scenario: You interview for an entry level job, together with seven other candidates, all on the same day. One cannot find a lot of distinctions on your resumes, and all of you lack previous working experience, expect of some part time jobs with fast food restaurants and similar stuff, which doesn’t really play any role in the hiring process.
As you can imagine, hiring managers may find it hard to distinguish one candidate from another, and the answers may easily blur, and once they are wrapping up the session, they cannot remember half of the people they talked to. Obviously if you stand out–either acing your interview or bombing it, they will remember you when wrapping up the session.
And they will always remember the last candidate–simply because that’s the last person they’ve talked to on any given day. This is something you may consider when scheduling your interview, especially when applying for an entry level job.
* May also interest you: One week after an interview and no response. What does it mean?
The best one will eventually get the job, or nobody will get it
At the end of the day, corporate managers and professional recruiters should be experienced enough to take the question of scheduling out of the equation. Without a doubt, they will feel more fresh on certain part of the day, and they will ask the last candidate at least a few different questions than they asked the first, as the interviews progress and they learn a couple of important points along the way.
But when the interviews come to a close, and they are wrapping up the things and discussing the profiles of individual candidates, deciding who gets the job, or who will progress to the next round of interviews, everyone has a chance–regardless of whether they interviewed first, forth, or last. They will simply choose the best candidate(s), following their criteria. And if you did really well, if you prepared better than the others, and really nailed it with some of your answers, you will without a doubt end up in the group of winners.
Conclusion – focus on yourself when scheduling your interviews
Taking into account all things we discussed in this post, you should really focus on yourself when deciding about the time to schedule your interview for. Think about your daily routines, the time of the day when you have the “freshest mind“, and also about your other obligations, and your way to and from the interviews.
The best time to schedule an interview is a time when you can deliver your best, and demonstrate all your skills in an interview. That’s the right answer to the question.
And remember that though each detail plays some role, be it your schedule, your clothes, the first and last handshake, and whether you send them a follow-up letter or not, role of these things is rather minor. Unless you come up with great interview answers, demonstrating motivation, skills, and right attitude to all sorts of situations that happen in the workplace, someone else will get the job… I hope you will manage to succeed, and wish you best of luck!
May also interest you:
- Can you overdress for an interview?
- How long to wait after interview before giving up?
- Guide on how to overcome interview nerves.