What Is the Best Time of Day to Do a Job Interview?

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What’s better than good news? A twin pack of good news. And if you’ve been invited to an interview and you have the choice to select your interview slot, you definitely have a twin-pack.

The time of the day at which you give an interview can actually affect your job success.

The best time of the day to do a job interview is 11 am, on any weekday except Monday. This is when the interviewer is still fresh yet well-settled in the day’s flow, and you are not too early to get enough sleep or too late to catch a tired interviewer.

That said, not the same time works for everyone. For some people, being last is more helpful than being early. In this article, we will go over everything you need to know to set a slot that works the best for you. You will also discover what you can do to increase your chances for success even if bad timing is imposed upon you. But first, you need to understand the extent to which slot-timing matters.

Why the Time of Day Matters for Your Job Interview

There are three reasons why the time of the day can affect your job success score. As you will notice, not all of them are inherently rigid. Here’s what you need to know about the effect of the job slot on your success:

The Interviewer’s Mood

There’s plenty of research that shows that humans aren’t as rational as they think they are. Often, they make their choices based on emotions, then use reasoning to justify them. To the extent that this phenomenon plays out in an interview, the mood of the interviewer matters. 

In other words, if an interview has a panel of interviewers, strict quantitative questions, and other criteria to offset interviewer bias, the time of the day doesn’t matter a lot. But in a standard one-on-one interview with plenty of open-ended questions, the interviewer/s openness matters.

The mood and openness of the interviewers change throughout the day, depending on their introversion. If the interviewer is introverted, he is going to feel less open and positive as more time passes. 

An extroverted interviewer might be exhausted by the end of the day, but the initial interviews will make him feel more positive, energetic, and happy by the middle of the day.

Your Impression and Contrast Bias

Your impression doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Research shows that comparison is the number one value-setting metric that allows us to navigate life. Because we use comparison as a tool to reach different conclusions, the impression you make depends on how others in your context compare.

The first person to reach 100,000 subscribers on YouTube was seen much differently than the thousandth person who reached the 100,000-subscriber mark. In that way, earlier interviews allow you to make an impactful first impression. 

This has the highest impact based on the extremes, though. The first slot and the last slot matter the most in impression-making and being memorable.

Your Performance and Fatigue

Depending on your inherent optimism or pessimism, the time of the day can work in your favor or against you in a job interview.

An anxious person who has to interview last will be exhausted by the end of the day simply by the mental fatigue of taking stress. A positive person can be charged up and excited by the middle of the day because the anticipation might charge them up.

Is It Better to Do an Interview in the Morning or Afternoon?

It is better to do an interview in the morning if you’re naturally anxious, while it is best to do so closer to the afternoon if you’re an optimistic extrovert. You should try to avoid late afternoon interviews as they have the largest disadvantage-stack against the average candidate.

Because the different aspects of your personality, the interview context, and your industry dictate whether the morning is better or worse for an interview than the afternoon, the following table sheds light on which factor favors which time. You can add up the descriptors that fit you best and see if more of them lean towards the morning or the afternoon.

ContextWhat’s better? Morning or Afternoon?Why?
You’re nervousMorningYou don’t have the time to dwell on your nervousness and get more nervous and mentally exhausted.
You’re an introvertEarly morningYou don’t exhaust your socializing energy outside the interview room. This allows you to muster up the energy for a dialogue when you’re giving the interview.
There is a panel of interviewersMorning or AfternoonThe time of the day matters less in terms of the interviewers’ bias. It matters in terms of how you feel. If you feel more comfortable with an afternoon slot, you can ask for it.
You’re an extrovertEarly afternoonThis is the ideal time because random socializing outside the interview charges you up to be your social best inside the interview room.
You’re an optimistLate morningThis time is best as it allows you to muster up inner confidence simply with the passage of time. As an optimist, every passing hour gives you more reasons why you can ace the interview.

What Time of Day Is Best for a Job Interview?

Having covered the context-specific interview positions, let’s look at what specific time of the day is best for interviews in general. This applies to most people but might not apply to you personally.

The best time of the day for a job interview is 11 am, as it is when most people still have morning freshness and are simultaneously well-settled into their day. You have the lowest chance of finding an exhausted interviewer or being tired or nervous at this time.

This doesn’t mean that people who get interviewed earlier or later don’t get hired. But to the extent that the social chemistry, rapport, and emotional decision-making matter, times closer to 11 am are more likely to yield the best results. It is still possible to have a resume and accolades so stellar that the interviewer has no choice but to consider you.

The Worst Times of Day to Schedule a Job Interview

Not everyone is confident enough to assume that they don’t need the help of positive rapport in order to be hired. But even if you feel like your CV is strong enough, you need to avoid interview times where the interviewer’s subconscious biases are actively working against you.

The word times of the day to schedule a job interview are:

  • Any time on a Monday – The negative mental state that most people bring into a Monday workday can color their perception of your abilities and skills in an interview. 
  • 3 pm or 4 pm on a weekday – As the day starts to wrap up, even the extroverted interviewer is exhausted. It affects interview performance to the point that very few senior management interviews are held after 3 pm.
  • Past 12 pm on a Friday – The easiest way to get your positives ignored is to give an interview at the tail-end of a Friday. People are in the mood for the weekend and can barely remember their own merits. Needless to say, this is not your time to shine.

What to Do if You Interview at the End of the Day

Reading this post, you may have noticed that interviewing at the end of the day is not positioned as a positive. Even in contexts where the passage of time works in the candidate’s favor (when the interviewer is an extrovert or the candidate is an optimist), the returns diminish after 3 pm because the end-of-day fatigue sets in. So, what do you do if you’re slotted to be the last interviewee?

Ask if It Is Possible to Reschedule 

You can ask the employing party whether they can reschedule the interview, but let them know that it is not necessary. This way, you can avoid getting shelved indefinitely. When you don’t make rescheduling mandatory, you make it more convenient for your potential employer to accept or refuse the rescheduled request.

Change Your Bedtime 

50% of the rapport success depends on your mental state. That’s also the only aspect you can control because you cannot make the interviewer feel better rested at the end of the day. By going to bed late, you can make sure you don’t wake up too early and get tired by the time you’re due for an interview.

Acknowledge the Time of the Day 

As mentioned earlier, when the interviewer is in a bad mood or tired, he might subconsciously associate negative feelings with you. When you acknowledge the time by a phrase like, “You might be tired, the day is almost over,” you make the interviewer alert to the possible negative feelings they might be bringing to the session.

Final Thoughts

The time at which you interview affects how much an interviewer is rooting for you. A tired interviewer won’t be in the mood to give you the benefit of the doubt. That’s why you should interview no later than 3 pm. The best time, in most cases, is well before that, at around 11 am.

Now it’s time to prepare for that job interview!

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