Although the best time to book a job interview will vary from job to job, the best time for a job interview is around 10 to 11am, on Tuesdays to Thursdays. Try to avoid first thing in the morning or late in the evening as the recruiter can be groggy or very tired.
There is no universally accepted best time to book a job interview slot, as this depends on what kind of job you are applying for, the availability of yourself and the interviewer, what kind of interview is taking place, and where it is happening.
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However, there are some days and times which work best for certain people. You should bear in mind the best time of all is the one that you are happy with.
Here I discuss the best times for scheduling an interview, as well as best practices you can employ to ensure that when the time for interview arrives, you perform at your best.
Factors To Consider When Booking a Job Interview
There are a few things to consider when scheduling a job interview. For starters, you might not even have much of a say in when the interview is taking place.
Very often, companies resent you with a ‘choice of one’, but of course, if this really does not work, then you can ask for an alternative time or day (this should really be a last resort).
You also may not have much choice, because of your own commitments.
We are all busy people and taking time out for an interview – especially if you are currently working – can be challenging. Whatever the scheduling challenge, it is still good to keep optimal times and days in mind.
You will also need to consider the type of interview...
What Time is Best for Each Type of Interview?
For face-to-face interviews, think about commuting time, or when the journey risks becoming a stressor, such as travelling during rush hour.
If you are being interviewed virtually, such as on Zoom, then you should research when your internet’s bandwidth is at its speediest (studies suggest that internet speeds decrease from the early evening onwards, as people return home).
You will also want to check to see whether there might be any disturbances at home, such as deliveries, noisy construction work or visitors.
Another factor is the type of job you are applying for. Not only will different industries interview in different ways, they also will have different patterns of work.
4 Best Times & Days To Book a Job Interview
Even if you consider the above variables, there are some suggested times and days which work best for scheduling job interviews:
Best Time to Book a Job Interview #1: Tuesdays to Thursdays
Most managers would rather spend Mondays getting ready for the week ahead and clearing any leftover work from the weekend. In a similar vein, many interviewers will be trying to keep Fridays clear for getting ready for the weekend.
Scheduling interviews on these days might result in you not having the interviewer’s undivided attention. Avoiding dates near or around popular vacation dates or public holidays is also advised, for the same reasons.
Best Time to Book a Job Interview #2: Not too early, not too late
Scheduling an interview too early might risk the interviewer possibly being less awake (they might have skipped their morning coffee!), being distracted with email from the previous evening, or even running late themselves.
Another consideration is that if you are the ‘first’ candidate, then you are the benchmark, viewed subconsciously by the interviewer as the standard to which all other interviews are based. Scheduling an interview later in the working day might risk the interviewer being less engaged, the closer it gets to home time.
Best Time to Book a Job Interview #3: Avoiding lunchtime
It might also be prudent to avoid lunchtime, or times just either side, as scheduling a lunch meeting increases the likelihood that the interviewer is distracted with the prospect of a break or where to go and pick up something to eat.
An interview straight after a meal break can mean that your interviewer disappears into the post-lunch lethargy which many of us suffer from.
Best Time to Book a Job Interview #4: The sweet spot?
Interviews between 10am and 11am are best placed to be not too early or encroach on lunch. The theory of ’decision fatigue’ suggests that those who need to make decisions later in the day will err on the side of caution, as their mental agility wanes in the afternoon.
If you must book an interview after lunch, then try to hit times between 2 and 4pm, as this bracket is where you'll be most alert.
Considering the Type of Job for the Interview
As mentioned earlier, interview scheduling considerations vary from sector to sector. Service firms, such as banks, tech, legal and so on, will schedule according to business hours, but scheduling can be a lot less regular than this.
For example, the retail industry will fit candidates in around the times when they are least busty at work, even if this means late in the evening or at the weekend.
The smart money is for you to go along with this, as the interviewers have made time to do it.
Another consideration is that different jobs will require varying types of interview: services firms, non-profits or the public sector often rely on regimented panel interviews which are challenging to arrange and even harder to reschedule. There may also be many different interview stages which require complex and often inflexible scheduling.
More hands-on roles (e.g. kitchen staff or engineering) might require lengthy trials which fit around established work patterns; again, these are tricky to rearrange.
A Few Best Practices To Book the Right Job Interview Slot
The key to performing well in an interview is not when it is booked, but how well you come across to the interviewer. Therefore, choosing the best time to schedule an interview is to understand when the time is best for you.
If you know you work best in the morning, then that will be the time to select (you may also want to get the interview done with to enjoy the rest of your day).
Conversely, if you come alive in the evening or are a night owl, then you know what to ask for! Different companies book interviews in different ways.
Many make use of modern interview scheduling programmes, where the candidate is given a choice of times, allowing them to select their preferred choice.
Other companies just give a single day and time, and that is that.
In other situations, recruiters will call you and you can agree on an interview over the phone. Reschedule an allotted time only if you truly cannot make it.
Otherwise, pick or discuss an ideal time, one which is aligned to both parties.
Clear off any priorities or distractions that might weigh on your mind during the interview and get a good night’s rest the evening before. Carefully plan your journey to where you are having the interview, allowing for traffic, and getting lost.
If the interview is virtual, then test – and double test – your internet and the video-conferencing app you are using. Sometimes, it is almost as if Zoom can smell your fear and decide to update itself minutes before an important call starts!
Book 12s of Interviews at the Right Times
Regardless of when you have an interview, you should always remember that your performance will trump the day or time it is set. If you have the option to discuss or set an interviewing time, then do it according to your own energy times or schedule.
Otherwise, ensure you are adequately rested, recharged, and prepared to give it your all – even if that means 5pm on a Friday evening.
Originally published 18 May 2021
Frequently asked questions
Is it better to book an interview in the morning or afternoon?
Usually it is better to schedule a job interview in the morning, around 10am. This allows for the interviewer to be at their best when it comes to decision making, and avoiding times where energy levels are low.
What is the best time to schedule an interview?
The best time to book a job interview is 10am. This means you avoid morning routines and tiredness, but also it is not too close to lunch, either.
Is it better to interview on Friday or Monday?
Both days should be avoided if possible, but Friday is slightly better as there is less risk of the interviewer being caught up in other tasks.
Should I schedule my interview first or last?
Neither, if possible! Trying to book interviews so you are one of the first (but not the first) is a good strategy, as you avoid both being viewed as the initial benchmark, but also avoid becoming a victim of decision fatigue if you are one of the last.