Do Tuesday mornings really bring you the most interview success?
A few weeks ago 3 of my close family members (who were all looking for new jobs) secured interviews with different companies. As the messages came into our family Whatsapp group, I noticed that each of their interviews were on a Tuesday. I sent a message back saying well done and reminded them all that Tuesday was supposedly the best day to attend interview with more opportunity of a job offer. These interviews all took place and then lead to three successful offers. Delighted for them, it also gave me the idea for my next blog post…
Research has shown that interviews held on a Tuesday (especially in the morning around 10:30am) result in a higher chance of receiving a job offer. I have been aware of this research for quite a few years now and as a result I do try if possible to avoid certain days and times for my candidates if I can although sometimes clients will send over a schedule and we make the most of it.
It got me thinking that surely employers as well as candidates will benefit from knowing more about this. Understanding when both parties will be most engaged, more awake and less distracted can only lead to companies saving time and money if they successfully recruit the right person more quickly.
So why a Tuesday?
There are many opinions as to why a Tuesday proves to be the best day for a successful interview. One factor could be related to memory and as to when we are most “awake” and in tune with others. “The ideal time for an interview is 10:30am on a Tuesday when employers are most likely to remember you.” (Telegraph Job Advice, Feb 2017)
Think about how you feel in general on certain days of the week? If you are looking for a new job chances are you are less upbeat and positive on a Monday? Perhaps on a Thursday you are starting to switch off and by Friday you are chilled and ready for the weekend. Recruiters are just people and have similar thoughts and feelings about work as the rest of us. Research has shown that by a Tuesday we are all still in “work mode” but have got passed the Monday grind and are more relaxed. Advice from Glasdoor states that you should “ask if you could come in around 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. That’s likely when your interviewer is relatively relaxed.” (Glasdoor 2015)
An interview at this time avoids the first early slot of 9am when both parties can be less awake and the caffeine hasn’t yet kicked in! Research from the University of California Business School 2012 suggests “it’s best to take [an early] interview slot “in circumstances under which decisions must be made quickly or without much deliberation because preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first.” Perhaps that is why morning interviews may lead to more offers.
I can’t make Tuesday at 10.30am…what now?
Diary commitments, busy employers and work demands may not afford everyone the luxury of a 10:30am interview on a Tuesday, but you can try and minimise the odds stacked against you by considering the following;
Avoid early morning interviews before work: There is a growing tendency for candidates to ask for pre-work interview slots around 8am to avoid taking time off work. This is not usually a good idea for a few reasons; firstly both parties can turn up flustered, unprepared and often late due to unforeseen early morning dramas. Secondly, candidates may not get to see the “real life” work environment if staff do not start until after their interview, which is an important part of the interview process. Thirdly there can be a tendency for these interviews to feel less formal and more of a “chat” as they are held out of work hours, resulting in less opportunities for you to really demonstrate your experience and skill set.
Avoid interviews over lunchtime: Depending on the eating time habits of your interviewer you may catch their usual lunch slot which can be disastrous. You definitely don’t want your interviewer to start daydreaming about the BTL waiting for them in the office fridge! From personal experience I am an early eater of lunch so I don’t book interviews in at 12pm as I usually eat at 12 O’clock on the dot. However, colleagues of mine prefer 1pm lunches so it is definitely best to avoid interviews between 12pm and 1:30pm. As a candidate, if you do have to attend over lunch time to fit in with your work commitments then ask the employer when they usually prefer lunch and aim to fit in around that.
Avoid the last interview slot of a heavy interview schedule: It is best to keep to a schedule of interviews held in one day to a maximum of 3 (or 4 at a push). There is only so much that one interviewer can take in over one day of interviews. To get the most out of the interviews it is best to allow enough time for the interview to take place, some reflection then a short break before the next candidate arrives. It can also be stressful for the interviewer if they fall behind and numerous candidates start meeting in reception!
For candidates there is often no avoiding participating in heavy interview schedules so if possible avoid the last 2 slots of the day. Inevitably interviews will run over and the last couple of the day are often rushed as the interviewer may be tired, getting bored of the repetition or have commitments after work that they cannot miss.
Just last week a candidate of mine gave feedback about an interview he attended that he felt was “rushed and cut short with hardly any time for me to ask questions as it was clear they [the employer] had run over and wanted to get home” I am sure that the employer didn’t intend for the process to develop in this way, sometimes schedules over run and candidates are late. It could all be avoided though with some thought as to how to get the best interview experience for everyone.
Avoid interviews near certain holidays: Try and avoid interviews the couple of days before or after a bank holiday weekend. Remain conscious of school half term and term holidays as many decision makers will be taking time off with family and recruitment decision are often put on hold for a week or two. Ideally it is best to wait until after a school half term holiday to attend. Historically I have always found Easter time to be the hardest time to recruit and to secure job offers for candidates.
The best fit for the job
Regardless of the day and time, the candidate and the job need to be a great fit and if this happens on a Friday at 5pm before a bank holiday then so be it. I have had offers for my candidates who have attended interviews on a mixture of days and times. However, if I was given the choice by a prospective employer as to when was best for me to attend interview, I would definitely go for 10.30am on a Tuesday!
Lyndsey Sisson, Commercial Director, System People, May 2018