The Best (and Worst) Time to Schedule a Job Interview

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Much has been made of how you should dress for a job interview, the answers you should give to tough questions, and even the questions your interviewer can't legally ask, but one important thing you may have not have considered is the best time of day to schedule your interview. According to the results of a survey conducted by the staffing agency Accountemps, interviewers believe that mid-morning interviews are the most "productive" and that the first 15 minutes are crucial to making a good first impression.

According to Accountemps's parent company Robert Half, when presented with six time frame options, 61 percent of the 2200 CFOs surveyed chose between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. as the best window for conducting hiring interviews. The least popular interview window was 5 p.m. or later, which makes sense given that most full-time work days end around that time (and no hiring manager wants to be kept at work late).

"Mid-morning 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," the Accountemps district president said in a press release. "Avoid scheduling an interview late in the afternoon when fatigue sets in. Late afternoon is also the time when interviewers may start shifting their focus to personal priorities."

The survey also asked how long it took the interviewers to "form either a positive or negative opinion" of the interviewee, and it turns out first impressions really do matter. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the CFOs said that opinions formed in six to ten minutes, while 16 percent said it only took five minutes. Only 17 percent of respondents were a little more patient and gave candidates 11 to 15 minutes.

PRNewsFoto Accountemps

Of course, depending on your personal schedule or the professional schedule of the person you're interviewing with, it may not always be possible to plan an interview for that 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. time frame. It's more important to find a time that is convenient for both of you. As for putting your best foot forward during the meeting, there are easy, scientifically proven ways to make a great first impression, including practicing good hygiene, having a firm handshake, and smiling.[h/t Lifehacker]