The best time of day to schedule a job interview is… well… whenever. It doesn’t really matter all that much. A lot of articles will tell you to schedule early, others will tell you to be the last of the day. And a lot will tell you to be somewhere in the middle. Conclusion? It really doesn’t matter.
It’s time for job seekers to stop sweating the small stuff. When you interview, what you wear, how firm your handshake is. All these things distract you from what truly matters: having a strong, valuable conversation with a recruiter or hiring manager.
The job search requires focus
Focus is a crucial part of any job seeking effort. The requirements of the process pull you in several different directions, from figuring out how to cater your resume to the role, to learning what you love about a company, to writing an effective cover letter, to learning how to market yourself in interviews, and so on.
But human beings only have a finite amount of things they can put their focus on. And when you bring in meaningless thoughts like “Oh dear, I’ve been give three interview slots to choose from, whatever shall I do?” you’re taking away energy and time to focus on preparing for said interview.
Pick the time slot that best fits into your own schedule. Do you like to wake up late? Don’t go for a morning interview! Do you do your best work early in the day? Schedule as early as possible. It’s not about when the “best time to interview” is. It’s about the time of day that you function at your absolute best.
It’s illogical to follow a heuristic that tells you to schedule an interview at a time that doesn’t work for you. Doing so will leave you uncomfortable, nervous, and stressed out. The best interviews are formal assessments mixed in with casual and interactive conversations. If you don’t feel comfortable with leading a professional conversation early in the morning, schedule the interview for the afternoon. It’s as simple as that.
Have some trust in hiring managers
Hiring managers get a bad rap regularly from career writers and candidates. This attitude has gone as far as telling job seekers different things they can do to game the psychology of hiring managers. A lot of this is disingenuous and based on anecdotes, which can go in any direction.
Hiring decisions are a crucial part of any business strategy. The wrong hire can cost an organization tens of thousands of dollars in paid wages and lost productivity. Of course, “decision fatigue” is a real issue in any field where a decision has to be made after hours of interviews and research. But there’s a reason the hiring process takes longer than just a single interview or a single day.
So have some trust in the people tasked with interviewing you and deciding if you are qualified. You got to the interview stage after being picked out of a pile of a hundred or more resumes. That’s already testament to the fact that your skills measure up to the job requirements and that you showed proper enthusiasm for the role and the company.
Employers and interviewers often make poor decisions, but if they do, it probably had nothing to do with the time of day you interviewed.
It’s all marginal
Even if there is a difference between interviewing early, in the middle, or last, that difference is marginal in the grand scheme of the entire job search. Spending time working yourself up about it puts you on the fast track to a sloppy, messy interview. Because if you force yourself to sweat something this small, you’ll ignore the bigger picture: how to present yourself as the best candidate.
The things you need to be doing that will make a greater-than-marginal difference in your potential hiring are the things you need to prioritize.
Research the company. Understand the role. Find out all you can about the interviewer. See how you fit into the company’s culture. Come up with some interesting and creative ideas that you’d like to implement in your first month on the job. Put together a strong mental list of questions for your interviewer, focusing on things you can’t Google.
And remember to write an effective thank you note after the interview. Because if you fear that interviewing on a Friday will make the hiring manager forget you, you’re missing the point. It’s on you to remain memorable. And the easiest way to do that is to take advantage of all the job search best practices that actually matter.
Don’t let yourself get swept up in the furor of micromanaging every single aspect of your job search. Focus on the important things. Let everything else fall into place naturally. Because by doing so, you will enable yourself to come across as a confident candidate, rather than a nervous wreck.
And if you do come across a hiring manager who just doesn’t have the attention span at the end of the day to give you the respect and time you deserve, you probably wouldn’t want to join that company in the first place. So move on to the next one, with the knowledge that it’s not you, it’s them.