Scheduling a job interview appointment can be trickier than it sounds. As the interviewee, you naturally want to be as accommodating as possible. After all, you are developing an impression with your prospective employer with each interaction, and being indecisive will hardly inspire confidence. Still, the reality is that there might be certain times of the day and week to avoid, if at all possible. Before you pick up the phone to schedule a job interview appointment, keep some rules of thumb in mind to maximize the opportunity awaiting you.
Follow the lead of the interviewer, who might give you some very specific interview days and times to choose from. Stick with the choices she provides rather than suggesting alternatives. Remember that the time slots being offered to you may be predicated on the schedules of other people you will participate in the interview or want to meet you.
Listen carefully for clues or vet the interviewer gently to develop an idea of what else might be taking place during her day. For example, if she says, “We can squeeze you in anytime in the afternoon before 5, before our auditor arrives,” you might want to inquire about another day altogether as “squeeze” and “auditor” imply that the day will be rushed and stressful.
Try to avoid interviews that take place first thing in the morning and especially on a Monday morning. The general tendency among people to want to organize their work days at this time might not be conducive to the interviewer focusing her attention squarely on you.
Try to steer clear of end-of-the day interviews, as this time of the day might be even more distracting to an interviewer who wishes to conclude her workday. An exception to this would be a dinner interview, which would give both you and the interviewer time to relax and converse.
Schedule a job interview appointment around lunchtime, if possible -- especially if you are still employed and are trying to be discreet about your job search. In fact, you might want to make this point clear, especially if you are given a choice of appointment times. Stating your preference, and your rationale, is likely to score you points for discretion and professionalism.
- Contemplate the potential consequences of an interviewer who “offers” you a single time and day for an interview. On the one hand, it might be prudent to realize that the “best” time for any interview is when you’re offered one, especially if it’s for a job you have your heart set on. On the other hand, this approach might suggest an inflexibility that portends a difficult road ahead, especially if the interviewer knows that you are presently employed and would appreciate a degree of flexibility.
- Ask the interviewer how long the interview should last. Don’t be shy about expressing your desire to stick to the plan if you must return to your present job. Your conscientiousness will be duly noted.
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