The Best Time To Interview For A Job, According To Research

There are plenty of things to stress about during a job hunt — buffing up the resume and CV, choosing the perfectly professional interview outfit, preparing for tough questions — but if you want to guarantee success, you may want to reconsider when you schedule that fateful interview. A recent survey conducted by the staffing firm Accountemps has found that the best time to schedule a job interview is in the early to mid-morning. That may mean you have to set the alarm and make the coffee extra-strong, but it could also give you a leg up on the hiring process.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, working with an independent research firm, polled a randomized sample of 2,200 CFOs to find out what time of day they felt was "most productive for conducting hiring interviews." A majority of 61 percent of respondents said they preferred conducting interviews between 9 a.m. and 11a.m. "Mid-morning is an ideal time for a job interview because it gives the interviewer time to set daily priorities and settle into his or her day before the meeting," said Bill Driscoll, New England district president for Accountemps in a press release.

These results mirror a previous 2010 Accountemps study, where 69 percent of CFOs agreed on that time-frame as optimal as well. While scheduling a time in the morning, job-seekers should keep in mind that getting a start that is too early may not be in their favor. Only 11 percent of respondents said before 9 a.m. was a productive time for interviews. Nobody benefits from a groggy or late interviewer, rushing through the meeting so they can perk up with a second cup of coffee.

After 11 a.m. productivity wains as well — an interviewer distractedly looking forward to their lunch break, or suffering from post-lunch drowsiness isn't ideal either. Later in the day, the interviewer may start having trouble focussing at the tasks at hand, say Driscoll, "Late afternoon is also the time when interviewers may start shifting their focus to personal priorities." In other words, a potential hire definitely doesn't want to compete with happy hour or a gym class (they will always lose).

Other job sites have reported similar findings, including The Muse which recommends that an ideal interview time is 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Glassdoor says choosing the right day of the week may also help — shooting for Tuesday or mid-week is best. What date and time should you definitely avoid? "Interviews held on late Friday afternoons aren’t ideal because fatigue from the work week may have set in," Driscoll told Bustle in an email.

While you may not have control over when an interview is scheduled, making sure that you lead with a good first impression is just as important. "It’s important to impress the hiring manager within the first 15 minutes of an interview. Job seekers should lay out their strengths and objectives early to make a positive first impression," wrote Driscoll. The Accountemps survey also found that 60 percent of CFOs could form a positive or negative opinion of the candidate in 15 minutes or less. The majority answered that they could form an opinion in a mere six to ten minutes. Yikes!

Driscoll recommends that job-seekers should work hard to perfect their firm handshake, maintain eye contact, and present a professional image (sorry, no cargo shorts). Interviewees should also hone their responses to typical interview questions such as “Can you tell me a little about yourself?” without coming across as over-rehearsed or arrogant. In other words, be yourself — on a really good day.

Images: pexels (1, 2), Accountemps