Best day of the week for a job interview?
August 20, 2015 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Hi - I'm being interviewed for a job and am being given the choice of day, from Mon - Thurs, so was wondering if the research shows whether one day of the week is better than another?
posted by tangyraspberry to Work & Money (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Thursday. Or Tuesday.
posted by John Cohen at 2:53 PM on August 20, 2015

Anecdotally, I've had good luck with Wednesday interviews. Which, weirdly, that first article that John Cohen linked to seems to forget about entirely.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:14 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Try to be the first candidate. Everyone is judged against the first candidate. Tuesday morning?
posted by miyabo at 3:36 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I have no idea what the research says, but I interview a ton of people, and have a ton of other meetings, and I know that the later in the week it is, the more tired (and sick of meetings) I am. I try to give every candidate a fair shake, but it's possible I'm subconsciously grumpier later in the week. That said, I also get grumpy at meetings first thing in the morning on Monday. Maybe I'm just grumpy in general. But Tuesday would be my choice.
posted by primethyme at 3:48 PM on August 20, 2015 [7 favorites]

Keep in mind that a lot of the advice you'll read is general and makes a lot of assumptions.

The Tuesday advice would be terrible for my team, for instance, because that's usually their work-from-home day. They're not going to be happy missing it to come in to the office to do an interview, but sometimes they have to because that's what works for the candidate.

Wednesday? That'd be bad in its own way because that's planning day in our sprint cycle, which means people have been sitting all day long, and possibly missing a key meeting to talk to you.

Thursday? That's okay except with the marketing team and a few folks in product: That's their no-meetings day, and a bunch of them work from home if they can get away with it. Either way, they're out time they were going to spend on something they've been looking forward to digging in on all week.

Friday? I've been through four hiring cycles on my own team as the hiring manager in the past 18 months, plus at least twenty others across the company in almost three years (so I've easily done an interview an average of every other week or so over the past three years) and I love Friday interviews: Nobody schedules meetings on those days, but we all have to be at the all-hands at the end of the day, so I'm usually in the office sweeping up odds and ends. Fridays are perfect. I can see the interview coming all week, and I've got a better than normal chance of being able to take 30 minutes to read résumés and go through my questions.

Monday? Second-favorite day. It's not overscheduled (that's Wednesdays) but less of a chance that I can scrape together time to do good prep, so I feel bad for the candidate and it affects the back-and-forth. That might even be good for the candidates: Since we never decide until all interviews are held, I'm more likely to give them a +1 and pass them on for a decision because they shouldn't have to pay for the poor quality of my prep.

I'm not saying all this to say "pick Fridays," but to say generalized research is going to do less for you if you don't have some information about how the company or team operates and what kind of interviewing it's going to be.

In fact, knowing what I know now, if I had to re-interview with the company I'm at, I'd ask about exactly those things: Which is the best day for the team I'm interviewing with? That'll make the scheduler happy (they have a thankless, impossible job), your sensitivity and flexibility will impress the recruiter (and they aren't afraid to drop notes or nudge hiring managers with positive or negative impressions -- sometimes killing otherwise promising candidates or mitigating small missteps with offsetting information), and it'll give you the best chance of getting an interviewing team that's not being pulled in from a work-at-home day, getting its meeting-heavy day upended, or otherwise being disrupted.

It's probably too late for you to try that, but even that advice is pretty rooted in a specific company culture. Some places will just get frustrated that you "can't give a straight answer."

Anyhow, the point isn't to fill you with despair. It's to suggest that if you don't see consensus form here and you resort to flipping coins, all you were ever going to get out of this was a slight edge that could easily be offset by stuff you have no way of knowing about or controlling anyhow. So just relax and kill during the interview!
posted by mph at 4:20 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Research suggests that going earlier in the week, as well as earlier in the day, gives people an edge.

Francisca Gino, a Harvard psychologist, has studied this: ""It seems that interviewers like to have each day’s ratings balance out. When an interviewer sees 3 or 4 good candidates in a row, they become concerned that they are giving too many high ratings. So, if another good candidate comes walking through the door, they get a lower rating just so that the ratings for the day are not uniformly high."

There's also some evidence that morning interviews do better than those later in the afternoon for similar reasons.
posted by forkisbetter at 4:23 PM on August 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

I recently interviewed on a Thursday afternoon and got the job. *shrug*
posted by darkchocolatepyramid at 5:48 PM on August 20, 2015

You'll never be able to get a definitive answer here. Sure, you might "maximize" your odds based on a study, but that will be a number in aggregate. Your shirt color will likely have a bigger effect.

Every office is different. My office wouldn't do well on Tuesdays and Thursdays, simply because we have product reviews on those days, so the execs that are hiring managers are slammed with meetings. There was zero reason for choosing these days. An identical office in the same business might do the same thing, but on Mondays and Wednesdays, for no reason at all.

Focus your attention on something else, something in best practices of interview prep.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:00 PM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

I intentionally interviewed first for my job, and got it. That was three years ago, so it definitely stuck. Of course I got the job because I am awesome, but I always feel like being first and the one to set the tone/expectations gave me an edge.
posted by Toddles at 7:23 PM on August 20, 2015

I always take the earliest interview time possible (assuming that I'd still have adequate preparation) just to minimise the personal stress of having it hang over my head all week long. I'm pretty sure you could find research to show the benefits of having an interview at any day or time (including Saturday at 2am), so instead of worrying too much about that, consider what would be best for you.
posted by littlegreen at 10:33 PM on August 20, 2015

I agree -- earlier, the better, for all the reasons mentioned. But that said, if you won't be prepared for the first slot available, definitely go with a later slot. I think the effect of time of day is less important than absolutely nailing the interview. What day will only matter with all other things equal.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:46 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

The times that I have been on a team interviewing people it has definitely been an advantage to interview as close to the beginning as possible. Basically, the first time we interviewed someone who seemed like a good fit, all the other interviews became a question of "Is this person better than First Interviewee?"

And, since people have already started to mentally acclimatize to the idea of working with First Interviewee, ties or close calls tend to go in their favour. I think this effect is probably stronger than any day-of-the-week effect. I mean, I can see why Mondays and Fridays might seem like bad days, but if the first interviews are on Monday, I would try to get a Monday morning interview.
posted by 256 at 5:49 AM on August 21, 2015

I've tended to prefer either being the first interview, or being the last - first, because then it's a thing everyone else gets compared to.

Last, because it's usually pretty clear in the interview what their concerns are and what they're really looking for (and sometimes they're not really sure the first couple of interviews: they're trying things out, seeing what kinds of answers they get to specific questions.)

Last also has some benefits in not having to wait so long for a decision - several times I've had word the next day one way or the other, and at least it's not hanging out there as a what-if.
posted by modernhypatia at 12:13 PM on August 21, 2015

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