Getting invited for an interview can be both an exciting and a nerve-wracking experience. And while you may not always have a choice about the interview schedule, some hiring managers do give options. Do you know which time slots will work best in your favor?
The best time for a job interview is mid-morning Tuesday to Thursday. This is when you and your interviewer are at your sharpest and are most able to focus on the interview. On the other hand, the worst times for an interview are hectic Monday mornings and sluggish Friday afternoons.
While preparing for the interview is your best bet toward landing the job, setting an interview schedule that will work best for you will help increase your chances of performing well and making a good impression. Let’s look into the best and worst job interview schedules.
Which Day Of the Week Is Best To Schedule a Job Interview?
The best day of the week to schedule a job interview is between Tuesday and Thursday. This is when you are at your best, and you’re in the full swing of the workweek. You are also not too tired from the weekend, such as on a Monday, nor are you too tired from the week, such as on a Friday.
These are recommendations based on experience and observation. You know what you’re most comfortable with, so make sure to read the following suggestions with that in mind.
Mid-Mornings in the Middle of the Week
The middle of the week from Tuesday to Thursday is when employees, including the manager who will interview you, have settled in nicely into the week’s workflow. The crazy Monday rush is over, and work is more or less going at a steady pace.
So coming in for an interview at this time is generally less stressful, not only for the one being interviewed but also for the one doing the interviewing. This is because your interviewer has settled into a good headspace and can focus on the questions they ask and the answers you give.
A stressed-out interviewer or one who seems to be hurrying to get the interview over with will not be able to concentrate on your answers as well as would be hoped. This can jeopardize your chances of making a good impression, no matter how well you answer the questions.
And not only that, their attitude may rub off on you, making you even more anxious than you already are. When you’re coming in for an interview, you’ll want to be as confident, calm, and focused as you can be.
Interview Time Matters
But it’s not just the days of the week that impact your interview.
The time of your interview also matters. If you are given several schedule options to choose from, make sure to set your interview anytime between 10:00 to 11:00 am. This is because, at this time of the day, you and your interview are at your sharpest.
Your minds are both fresh, so you’re most likely to be able to fully focus on the interview.
Also, this time slot does not fall on the first hour of work, where your interviewer is most likely planning and making arrangements for the rest of the day or ticking off the most urgent tasks. You would not want to compete with any of those things for your interviewer’s attention.
Setting an interview in this time slot also allows you to meet with your interviewer.
Early Afternoons in the Middle of the Week
If you are not given the option to set your interview in the morning, early afternoons in the middle of the week are also a good time. This means anytime between 2:00 to 3:00 pm.
Yes, the burst of energy that often comes in the morning has by now subsided, but at this time of day, employees are often more relaxed, having had another dose of coffee and taken a bit of rest at lunch break.
So the office atmosphere is often calmer, and there are fewer distractions that may compete with you for your interviewer’s attention.
This can be a huge advantage if you are feeling nervous, as the atmosphere in your environment can rub off on you. And if the environment is very high-strung, it can affect how you feel and your ability to concentrate.
When choosing an afternoon time slot, though, try to avoid setting an interview at 1:00 pm. This is often a very sleepy time of day when most employees are struggling to focus on whatever task at hand.
You would not want your interviewer to be yawning at your answers, as they most likely won’t be able to remember what you said.
But you wouldn’t want your interview set late in the afternoon either, such as between 4:00 and 5:00 pm. Because this is towards the end of the workday, employees will be itching to leave.
Your interviewer will likely already be thinking of dinner plans by this time.
Therefore, it will take an extremely remarkable performance to make your interviewer remember you. You’ll be competing with thoughts of leaving work or plans with family and friends. The odds will be stacked pretty high against you making an impression.
Is It Better To Be Interviewed In the Morning Or the Afternoon?
It is better to be interviewed later in the morning or mid-afternoon. Otherwise, you’ll be competing against the early morning chaos of the office or the sluggishness of the post-lunch drowsiness.
Of course, you can still ace an interview even if your schedule falls on a bad time slot. And the opposite is also true because even if you set your interview at a really good time yet fail to prepare, you lower your chances of getting accepted.
As always, preparation is key. But if you want an extra push in the right direction, these tips may come in handy.
Early Monday Mornings
Unless you’re the most morning person of all morning persons and are confident that you won’t be tempted to hit snooze when the alarm bell rings, you should avoid setting early morning job interviews, especially early Monday mornings.
No matter how excited you are about an interview, there’s always the possibility of waking up later than you should. This is not something you should risk, especially if you are allowed to choose later time slots.
Safe is always better than sorry.
Also, when you have a very early interview, you risk showing up to your interview still groggy or looking hurried. Don’t overestimate the power of caffeine! It’s advisable to arrive at least half an hour before your interview schedule, so you have time to relax, smooth your clothes, and prepare yourself mentally.
In an interview, everything about you matters, from your presentation to your answers. You want to give your interviewer the impression that you came to the interview ready.
Moreover, Mondays are considered the craziest day of the week for good reason. Coming back to work after the weekend means catching up on backlogs, organizing the rest of the week, and attending to urgent matters.
All that after two days of rest, which often don’t feel like enough.
So employees most likely come into the office on a Monday already feeling stressed and overwhelmed by their long to-do lists. This is not a good time to meet with an interviewer. This can affect your interviewer’s mood, make them cranky and irritable, and unable to fully appreciate your answers or the effort you put in to be present.
If you have a choice, don’t even attempt to compete with your interviewer’s workload, because chances are they think those tasks are more important than you.
You will then be wasting a good opportunity to leave a good impression.
Friday Afternoons or Before a Holiday
It is also ill-advised to set a job interview on a Friday afternoon or a day before a holiday. If the hiring manager does ask if those days or times work for you, be polite but offer a different schedule instead.
On Fridays in general, employees tend to be winding down, getting ready to jump into the weekend. If you’ve worked before, you know the feeling. You are physically present at work, but your mind is elsewhere.
That gets even worse when you reach Friday afternoons, which is when the weekend spirit really kicks in.
Everyone, including your interviewer most probably, has their feet already inches out the door. And if Friday afternoons are not bad enough, the afternoon before a holiday, such as the Christmas break, is far worse.
Holidays can be quite tough to come by, especially if work is hectic and all hands need to be on deck all the time. So when a holiday is near, you can almost always be sure that people are only too ready to leave the office.
While the approaching weekend or holiday may get your interviewer in a good mood, which can make for an upbeat and light interview, it does not necessarily follow that it will make your interview beneficial for you.
In fact, the opposite is often true. What usually happens is the interviewer fails to focus on the interview or appreciates how well you do.
Sometimes, the happy weekend vibe can even distract an interviewer and they do a poor job of interviewing you. They may not be able to ask you weighty enough questions or ask appropriate follow-ups that may allow you to thoroughly showcase your understanding of a subject matter.
If you can’t help but be scheduled on these days, however, prepare to make the most of every question. In other words, don’t hesitate to show off! You need to grab your interviewer’s attention, and keep it, despite the many distractions.
Is It Better To Be Interviewed First Or Last?
As much as the schedule of your interview can have bearing on whether you make a good impression or become a candidate that’s easily forgotten, the order of your interview also matters.
It is better to be interviewed in the middle, and not first or last. The reason is that when you’re interviewed first, you become the benchmark against all other candidates. But when you’re interviewed last, the interviewer might be tired and will rush the interview process.
Most of the time, you won’t have control over whether you get to be interviewed first or last, but knowing how that can affect the interview can help you navigate your interview to your advantage.
Being Interviewed First
When you’re the first to be interviewed, you automatically become the benchmark against which all the other candidates will be compared. Your interviewer may not even be aware of it. Because of that, you lose the opportunity of doing better than the benchmark.
Plus, you can easily get forgotten or passed over by more recently interviewed candidates.
Being Interviewed Last
There is such a thing called “recency bias” that states that people tend to put more emphasis or importance on more recent events.
In a job interview setting, this can play out in an interviewer favoring a candidate that they interviewed last, or towards the last, and, therefore, remembers more clearly. So being interviewed last can work out well for you.
However, it’s also important to take context into consideration.
If your interviewer has spoken to candidates all day, they will be exhausted towards the end and lack the enthusiasm that earlier candidates enjoyed. If you are interviewed last, the chances of your interviewer losing focus and wanting to just finish the interview will be high.
Being Interviewed in the Middle
All factors considered, then, being interviewed in the middle appears the most beneficial.
However, especially in a long queue of interviewees, it’s not as simple as being in the middle. It’s best to be somewhat in between the last few and the middle interviewees.
This way, you don’t run the risk of being the forgettable middle interviewee, the person in the last stretch where the interviewer is too tired to focus, or at the beginning where you become the unremarkable benchmark.
The time slot of a job interview has a bearing on your performance and what kind of impression you leave on your interviewer. However, regardless of the time of day or day of the week you are interviewed, you can ace your interview as long as you come ready.
If you want to outshine other candidates in the queue, do your research, dress well, and prepare to step into your interviewer’s office 100% sure that the job belongs to you.