After spending weeks scrolling through job listings and applying for new opportunities, you finally received a job interview invitation. Even though you want to go for it as soon as you can, having a full-time job might not allow that kind of flexibility, especially on days that you have to work.
If this is your first time, read on to boost your chances of a successful interview! So, how should you go about scheduling one and which interview day and time slot is the best?
should you take time off to go for a job interview?
It depends on you because there are no hard and fast rules as to when you can go for a job interview.
According to a survey commissioned by Randstad, as many as 60% of respondents have searched for new jobs or spoken with a recruiter while they are at work. However, some employees may feel like they are “cheating” on their current employers if they go to a job interview during working hours.
If you feel guilty about going for a job interview or worried about getting caught by your existing employer, here is when you should take time off for an interview.
1. look at your own schedule and leave balance
Most of us have an average paid leave of 12 days every year, so you could allocate a few days to attend job interviews, especially if you’ve already made up your mind to tender your resignation letter for better opportunities.
You could schedule a few job interviews on the same day to maximise your chances and leave days. However, we recommended keeping the number of interviews to no more than 3 in a day. It can be mentally exhausting to go for more than 3 interviews a day and it can have a negative impact on subsequent ones.
If you have flexible working hours, you can always free up time during the day to attend an in-person or virtual job interview.
2. schedule job interviews during lunch break
If you don’t have any annual leave left and can’t request for some time off, you can use your lunchtime to go for a job interview as well. Since it is considered a private time for you to run errands and have lunch, you shouldn’t feel obligated to tell your colleagues what you will be doing during your break.
However, going for a lunch interview means that you may have to skip lunch, which could make it difficult for you to maintain your focus during the interview and for the rest of the day. So be sure to grab a small snack such as a granola bar before meeting your interviewer to keep those embarrassing hunger noises at bay (and maybe an acai bowl after as a treat).
what is the best time for a job interview?
You may be wondering, what is the best time slot for an interview for your potential employer?
Whenever you are trying to schedule a job interview, always offer a few options on your availability to the interviewer or recruiter and consider suggesting the possible time slots that might work best for interviews.
To maximise the chances of a successful interview, you may want to avoid scheduling the interview on a Monday morning, late afternoon or peak time. Likewise, never suggest hours near lunch breaks, end of the work day or on Friday afternoons. Interviewers tend to be less attentive during these times because you’ll not likely get their full attention.
The best days for an interview are usually on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. If you prefer morning interviews, 10:00pm to 11:00pm will be the most ideal because both you and the interviewer have time to prepare. However, if you prefer to do one in the afternoon, the best time to interview after lunch is from 1:30pm to 3:00pm. Lunch makes for great conversation to start the interview on a more positive note as well.
The best time of a day for a job interview is also when you are most alert and focused. Only then can you be guaranteed to perform at your best and be able to get positive results.
pros and cons of going for a morning interview
If you’re a morning person, having an early interview can also be less stressful for you. Not only will you be more alert, you’ll also not second guess yourself as much. And once you’re done with the interview in the morning, you can go on with your day as normal.
Some employers may also prefer meeting candidates in the morning so that they can discuss your capabilities with other decision-makers later on during the day while the exchange is still fresh in their mind. This can help them make a faster hiring decision about whether you're the right fit for the job and organisation.
However, like many of us night owls, your hiring manager might feel tired in the early morning and prefer to speak to you only in the afternoon. This is why you should always check on whether your interviewer is comfortable with a morning meeting first.
pros and cons of going for an interview during or after lunchtime
If you’ve already taken a day off for the interview, then you’ll have the whole morning to get ready for it! Use the time to research about the latest company announcements and prepare answers for some anticipated interview questions. Your interviewer will be both impressed and pleased when you share your findings from your research, which would strongly demonstrate your interest in the job and the company.
However, do bear in mind that you might get ‘food coma’ after lunch and be less focused on your answers.
pros and cons of going for an interview after working hours
Some employers may ask candidates to meet them for a job interview after regular working hours.
Interviews that take place in the evenings can sometimes be more relaxing. Instead of rushing to and from the interview in the morning or during lunch time, you can leave your work behind and just focus on the interview. Moreover, you’ll have the whole day to prepare for it.
However, just like you, the interviewer may be tired after a long day at work and be less focused. If you are attending one after working hours, consider giving a concise and direct answers to every question asked.
how to ask for a different interview time?
If the proposed interview time doesn’t work out for you, you can write a polite request for them as early as you can to reschedule and proactively suggest other dates and times when you are available. It demonstrates good responsibility as well as time and stakeholder management skills.
If you’re looking to change your employer, start searching for jobs today so that you can also plan how you would use your annual leave over the next few months. You can also reach out to our recruitment consultants who specialises in various industries for career advice and guidance.