Does Time of Day Affect Your Job Interview Success?

Job interviews are already stressful enough as it is. Now we're hearing that the time of day you take your interview can affect your chances of being accepted for the next step! In fact, there are even studies that say the day of the week matters.

Whatever is a jobseeker to do? Let's dissect these new findings and then figure out some super stealth ways to ensure your interview goes well, no matter WHEN it is.

Afternoon Interviews Are At a Disadvantage

According to a study by the Harvard School of Business and The Wharton School, research shows those with morning interviews are more likely to be admitted to these MBA programs. Two causes may be to blame: interviewers are reluctant to give out high ratings in the afternoon if they already rated other applicants highly in the morning, and interviewers may also simply just be fatigued after meeting multipl... so they are less interested in discovering all the pertinent information about the later candidates.

"The takeaway from this seems pretty clear. Whether you’re in the running for an MBA or a job, it is in your best interest to schedule your interview earlier in the day so as not to be judged unfairly (and, perhaps, unconsciously) against the applicants who have already come before you."

What to do if your appointment is at 2:30 pm? Try to keep in mind that you can ask for a different interview time, but ensure that you select several alternate times in order to increase the odds of the interviewing managers saying yes to your change. Or, worse yet, requesting a different time may push out your interview date by weeks - and the hiring team may choose to make an offer to another candidate before you've had the chance. If you sense that scheduling will be an issue with this employer, it may be better to keep the afternoon interview time and just make sure you have enough energy to invigorate your interviewer.

Interviews After Lunch Might Be More Successful Than a Late Morning Pitch

Wait, didn't we just say that afternoon interviews are bad? Indeed, conflicting analyses indicate that your interviewer might be more accepting of you just after having lunch.

This evidence was found outside the corporate interview room in two situations:

  • A Columbia University associate professor found that prisoners who were up for parole were "anywhere between two and six times as likely to be released if you're one of the first three prisoners considered versus the last three prisoners considered" after a break in proceedings, such as a lunch break. Judges tend to be more lenient at the very start of the day or righ....
  • Y Combinator, a startup accelerator in Silicon Valley, discovered that they weremore accepting of entrepreneurs' pitches heard on a full stomach. The ramifications translated to the ultimate success of those startups; because the evalautors were less discerning after lunch, more of the startups accepted after lunch ended up failing than startups who had been selected under more critical morning judgements.

Using this knowledge is tricky, because you never know when your interviewer actually takes his lunch break. In the age of eat-at-your-desk and irregular mealtimes, it's not always safe to assume that your interviewer will have eaten before a 1pm interview time.

Mondays and Fridays? Not the best idea

A recent article by Beyond.com shows that the day itself can also impact your interview. Want your interview to go well and make your best first impression. Schedule your appearance on Tuesdays or Wedensdays. Why?

Mary Nestor-Harper lists no less than nine scenarios outside your control that can totally derail your Mo.... She speculates, "Hiring managers and HR have had a chance to work out the schedule mishaps of Monday and are on track by Tuesday and Wednesday. Crises that appeared over the weekend have been solved."

Keys to Job Interview Success

If you're really lucky, your prospective employer has eliminated these interviewer bias conditions and invited you to a recorded video interview that you can take at any time you choose. No matter what time your interview lands on, use our interview preparation tips to ensure you make a great impression on your interviewer.

However, the next time someone from HR calls and asks when you'd like to schedule your interview, you know what to say.... 

"Tuesday at 9:00 am please!"

Read more great articles, like this one here.

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