The Best Time to Interview for a Job


I recently had an interview just before a 3-day weekend. I could tell the interviewer was not really paying attention. It’s been weeks and I haven’t heard back. Should I give up? In the future, I don’t think I’ll make any appointments before a federal holiday! Are there any rules for the best time to schedule an interview?

Appointment entries for job interviews

Dear “Put Time on Your Side,”

As the saying goes, timing is everything. Even if your interview was scheduled for the Tuesday after the three-day weekend, it probably would not have gone any better. On non-holiday weeks, avoiding Mondays and Fridays is advisable.

SmartRecruiters, a web-based recruiting platform used by 70,000 companies, did some research on timing trends in the hiring process. Tuesdays are the trifecta for job hunting and hiring activity.

  • More companies post jobs on Tuesday (20%) than any other day of the week.
  • Not surprisingly, based on the previous factoid, more people (18.5%) apply to jobs on Tuesdays, too.
  • Tuesday also happens to be the most common day people get hired (21.5%), narrowly edging out Thursdays at 20%.

The time of day may even have an effect on the outcome of your interview. Wharton research shows that candidates who interview later in the day end up lower in the rankings because of a phenomenon called narrow bracketing. If interviewers give earlier candidates high marks, they are subconsciously hesitant to give another high mark, even if the last interviewee merits it.

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Woman sitting in waiting room and text messagingEarly morning interviews can also backfire, depending on the circadian rhythms of the interviewer. Don’t take a chance that the you’ll be interviewing with a morning person. At least try to schedule an appointment after they’ve had time for coffee and emptying their email inbox.

If you’re sneaking out from your current job on your lunch hour for job interviews, be aware pre- or post-lunch appointments have their drawbacks, too. A pre-lunch interview may end up getting cut short (a growling stomach may be a dead giveaway). A 1:00 p.m. interview time can be sabotaged by an inattentive waitress who causes your interviewer to return late from lunch.

Keith Harris, CTO of online scheduler, found early afternoon on Tuesday is the optimal meeting time.

Another interesting stat – email reply rates are highest in the morning (about 45% according to Yesware). Try using the delay delivery option when emailing your résumé or follow-up letter, timing it for the hiring manager’s inbox right before starting hour.

Who knows, one week later, you may add to the numbers in the Tuesday hiring statistic. To celebrate… well, it’s Taco Tuesday!

Readers: Tell us about a time you felt “bad timing” sabotaged your interview.

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tiffany Lieu
    Jun 23, 2016 @ 13:02:37

    Boy is that growling stomach a pest! I have had that happen several times while conversing with the people, and I think some of them were interview related. It is just not a good idea to go on an empty stomach or somewhat undernourished to meetings.

    With employment interviews, many are generally picky and competitive with their candidate choices. So interviewees need to stay anticipating, competitive, and knowledgeable about employment rules/norms.


  2. Live today as if it were your last!!!
    Jun 23, 2016 @ 10:52:20

    I agree whole heartedly with your comment. But I also have a question. I had a interview last Tuesday @ 2:00 pm and was told if I had not heard from them by yesterday to call them back. Well I called and left a vm but still no word. Should I email now? Or simply just wait.


    • anitaclew
      Jun 23, 2016 @ 13:07:17

      I think an email is appropriate now, since they did give you a specific time frame to follow up. Let me know how it pans out.


  3. Anonymous
    Jun 22, 2016 @ 01:13:33

    I agree with the comment, and, no news there, as most, if not all interviewers are disrespectful, ill-mannered or just plain a-holes.


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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