The early bird gets the worm — and the job. New research finds that scheduling your interview in the morning can maximize your chances of getting hired.
More than 60 percent of executives believe the most productive time for conducting hiring interviews is between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., according to a study from the staffing firm Accountemps.
"Midmorning is an ideal time for a job interview because it gives the interviewer time to set daily priorities and settle into his or her day before the meeting," Bill Driscoll, district president for Accountemps, said in a statement.
While job seekers might want to schedule an afternoon interview in order to have some extra time to prepare, they could be hurting their chances of getting the job by doing so. The research revealed that just 16 percent of executives believe the best time for holding an interview is after 1 p.m.
"Avoid scheduling an interview late in the afternoon, when fatigue sets in," Driscoll said. "Late afternoon is also the time when interviewers may start shifting their focus to personal priorities."
Regardless of exactly when an interview occurs, those being interviewed make an immediate impact. The study found that 60 percent of executives form an opinion of a candidate within the first 15 minutes of an interview, while only 6 percent wait more than half an hour to start making judgments. [See Related Story: The Best Answers to 6 Common Job Interview Questions]
"A first impression starts with the initial handshake," Driscoll said. "What you wear, your demeanor and body language are details that interviewers assess within the first few minutes of meeting someone."
To help job seekers make a solid first impression in an interview, Accountemps offers several tips:
- Plan ahead. Make sure you aren't rushing around at the last second trying to figure out what to wear and locate where you're headed. It is important to have your outfit prepared and figure out exactly how to get to the interview well in advance. You also want to make sure you have printed copies of your résumé to bring with you.
- Study up. Before any interview, spend time researching the company and practicing responses to commonly asked questions. Additionally, try and learn a little about the person you are interviewing with.
- Don't be late. A surefire way to sink your chances of landing a job is by being tardy for an interview. Since traffic can always be unpredictable, allow yourself at least 20 extra minutes to account for any unexpected delays.
- Don't try to squeeze it in. Job seekers who already have a job shouldn't try to cram in an interview during their lunch hour or after work. You'll be more relaxed and more likely to be at your best if you simply take time off for the interview.
- Stay calm. A job interview is naturally stressful, but being overstressed can cause you to ramble on or become too quiet. If you do get overly anxious during an interview, take a deep breath and collect your thoughts.
The study was based on surveys of more than 2,200 chief financial officers from companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.