The right time to interview is when you feel like you're on top of your game. If you're a morning person, you're probably sharper then and will make the best impression during morning hours. But if you're not an early riser or you're foggy during the morning hours, your peak time could be during the afternoon hours. When given a choice, determine the best time based on when your confidence is high as well as when it makes logistical sense to meet with the interviewer.
Day of the Week
The day of the week might factor into whether you prefer a morning or afternoon interview. Even if the recruiter or hiring manager offers a Monday morning interview, that might not be the ideal time. Monday mornings for many businesses are busy, often with unfinished projects from the prior week. Also, if a Monday morning interview is the first available time, you could get lost in the crowd of other job candidates. The impression you make might be overshadowed by other candidates who interview later in the day or on another day.
Type of Employer
Consider the type of employer when you select an interview time and day. Some employers operate seven days a week, such as casinos, restaurants and salons, and have office hours that run Tuesday through Saturday instead of Monday through Friday. Never opt for a Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon interview with companies in these industries. Instead, choose a slow business day so you'll have the interviewer's full attention. For example, salons are likely to be much slower on a Tuesday than on a Friday because many customers want to get a fresh look ahead of the weekend. If you pick a slow workday to interview, morning or afternoon is fine.
If the afternoon interview is scheduled as late as possible in the day, you might feel rushed, particularly if it's on a Friday when people are anxious to leave for the weekend. It's hard to imagine that a recruiter or hiring manager would actually schedule a 4 p.m. interview on Friday, but it could happen, especially if there are several candidates to interview in a short period. If you choose an afternoon interview, shoot for early to mid-afternoon, preferably on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
If you're currently employed, your work schedule and availability might dictate when you can take off work for an interview. If you can take off a full day of work, then choose the most convenient time and consider traffic, distance, preparation time and other obligations you might have on the same day. But if you can only take off a half day, choose a time that won't require you to abandon your current job responsibilities. For example, if you have business meetings on Tuesday afternoon, don't try to squeeze in a Tuesday afternoon interview, regardless of whether it's an hour or two before or after your already scheduled meetings. Choose a morning interview instead so you won't risk being late or absent for either commitment.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.