Don’t go to a job interview at 11am

If you could choose the time of day to go to a job interview what time would you pick? Before you answer, let me just warn you; the time you pick may impact your chance of getting the job.

My advice is that you pick a time early in the morning or right after the lunch break.

Let me elaborate…

Consider the following research study by Shai Danziger. He studied the results of 1,112 parole board hearings in Israeli prisons over a ten month period (see the study here). The results are illustrated in the figure below:


The vertical axis shows the percentage of cases where the judges granted parole. The horizontal axis shows the time which the cases were heard during the day. The dotted lines show when the judges went away for a morning snack and their lunch break.

The graph shows clearly that the odds that the prisoners will be successfully paroled start off fairly high at around 65% and quickly plummets to close to zero just before the first break. After the judges have returned from break, the odds abruptly climb back up to 65% before continuing on their downward slide.

In other words; the time in the day when the case is heard is very important to the outcome. Indeed, Danziger found that the three prisoners seen at the start of each “session” were more likely to be paroled than the three who were seen at the end. That’s true regardless of the length of their sentence, whether they had been incarcerated before and regardless of their gender, ethnicity or the severity of their crime.

Danziger explains the judges’ behavior in this way: All repetitive decision-making tasks drain our mental resources. After a while we start to suffer from “choice overload” and we then opt for the easiest choice. For example, shoppers who have already made several decisions are more likely to go for the default offer, whether they’re buying a suit or a car. And when it comes to parole hearings, the default choice is to deny the prisoner’s request.

There is no reason to suspect that recruitment experts are different from judges in this respect. We are all human beings and we are all subject to biases and imperfections AND it affects our decision making. We may believe that when we interview candidates for a job, we view them objectively and fair. In reality, we are influenced by irrelevant things like our moods and as this study suggests, our breakfasts.

So if you are going for a job interview, see if you can move it to 9am. It will enhance your chances.

One comment

  1. Try to schedule the interview Tuesday true Thursday. Monday everybody coming back from the long weekend. Friday everybody hurry to get out of work to start the weekend. Time schedule 9 AM to 12 PM break for lunch. The afternoon 2 PM true 4 PM.

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