What’s the Optimum Time of Day To Interview?

Want help with your hiring? It's easy. Enter your information below, and we'll quickly reach out to discuss your hiring needs.

woman drinking coffee sitting outdoor in sunshineWith the job market being so competitive, job seekers need to be employing the latest, most powerful interview techniques to get ahead of the competition. One interesting technique that can provide an edge is interviewing at the optimal time to get hired. Yes, research shows that there are optimal times (and days) when interviewers may more be likely to score you positively – and so if you are given the choice of interview time/date, or have some influence, you might want to schedule during these times.

Of course, if you haven’t done the right prep, no amount of great timing will get you the job, but, if you are a qualified candidate, timing could be one of those factors to give you an edge.

So, when is the best time of day to get hired?

Consider this Wharton Business School study of 9,000 MBA interviews, which found that assessors who had already, “recommended [three] candidates on a particular day are unlikely to do the same for the fourth.” Basically, candidates who are interviewed later in a chain of positively rated interviews in a given day tend to be rated more harshly, as interviewers feel they have been overly generous in earlier exchanges.

Also, another study reported in the National Academy of Science looked at 1,100 judges and found that they were more likely to rule favorably with regard to applications for parole in the morning. What’s occurring here is a kind of ‘decision fatigue’ and the assessor is getting tired of assessing and making decisions, and so they effectively shut down their critical faculties and err on the side of caution or conservatism as they are too tired to examine the candidate properly.

So, ideally candidates should, if given the choice, schedule interviews in the morning or at least at the start of a session of interviews, to maximize their chance of a positive rating. Studies show it could make a real difference to your chances of interview success.

But, what about the day?  Now, there isn’t total consensus on this between studies, but there are some trends and pointers. A study by Intapeople in the UK of 332 applicants found that 26 percent of applicants who secured employment actually interviewed on a Friday (which goes against current thinking that Friday is a bad day for interviews). Thursday was the next best day (21%), Tuesday (20%) and Monday (16%), so avoid Monday at all costs.

However, an Accountemps study reported in Glassdoor suggested that Tuesday is the best day of the week to deliver a presentation, and an interview is a kind of presentation really. This ties up well with another research study from Accountemps, which suggests that Tuesday is the most productive day when managers are likely to feel most positive, engaged and receptive.

So, without doubt, it seems like mornings are the best times to try and schedule an interview with an employer, assuming it’s within your control, but try and avoid Mondays and ideally opt for a Tuesday, Thursday, and even Friday. Friday still goes against conventional thinking, so it may be better to play it safe and avoid Friday for now.

Read more in Interview Tips

Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.