My boss & I go back and forth on this issue everytime we need to hire.

At what time of day do you conduct interviews?  During the working day, forcing an employed candidate to "make up an excuse" to their current employer?  Or outside of a normal business day (early a.m. or evening)?

What have you found to be the most effective? 

Also, do you try to see everyone the same day, or over multiple days?


rgbiv99's picture

I don't think I've ever thought about this strategically before.

I usually schedule interviews around what is most convenient for my and my interviewee's schedule. For example, I'll call or email and say, "I have availability after 1:00 on Tuesday or before noon on Thursday and Friday," and then leave it to them to choose. If someone can only come before or after typical work hours then I expect them to say so when I first reach out and I will stay late to accommodate them (let's face it, I'm here late anyway).

As for conducting interviews in blocks, that is my personal preference (i.e. an interview at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00), but other people may prefer to just do one a day. I'm not sure it makes a difference in terms of the quality. Although, I will say that by the 5:00 interview I have already described the job so many times that it becomes a bit rote. Anyone else have thoughts on this?


refbruce's picture

An interesting question. I've never been on a non-student job interview that was less than a full day, with some being two days. And I've never hired anyone for a non-student position with less than a half day interview. We do often have interviews on Mondays or Fridays, particularly for non-entry level positions and for those travelling. We do try to put multiple candidates on successive days, but that can be very difficult, and we never set things up so candidates are on-site at the same time.

refbruce's picture

Agreed with MD-144 about the phone screen and especially on "The economics of hiring argue for spending time picking the right people."  We always do that before selecting for on-site.  In addition, I will often work with the recruiting team for the position and draft 4-6 questions thta we send by e-mail and ask for a written response.  I try to take fairly casual tone in this and look at this as another aspect of both technical skills and communication skills.  We often ask "how would you solve?" kinds of questions that require some technical knowledge.  If someone passes both the phone and written screen, then they're a candidate for an on-site interview. 

Tom Green's picture
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Totally agree with all steps in MD144's program.  Personally, I include 4 to 5 people besides myself on the team, and I'm looking for thumbs up across the board before I hire.  For those that make that cut, I ask for at least 3 references, and I spend 15 minutes or more thinking about relevant questions to ask of the references (I customize them for each candidate).  Two key sources of questions are where I sense I'm being told about something that happened when the candidate was there, but they didn't own or drive, and I use any specific concerns from the team (these concerns start with "I liked <candidate> but....").  I make the calls myself.  One of my favorite questions to ask, because it is surprising how often it get's a direct and useful response, is to ask a former supervisor of the candidate "What advice would you give <candidate> to improve their performance?"  Then I turn them over to HR for background checks and drug screen (I've turned down a candidate based on each of these tests in the past). 

Also, I reserve the right to veto, even if everything is "ok."  When I read Mark's third law of interviewing, I realized that's what I was feeling.