When is the best time of day to interview?

Ever since reading about a disturbing parole study in Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, every time I’m asked to interview or set up an interview for a candidate I’m representing, I strive to schedule the interview for 1:00 pm, 8:00 am or shortly after. I never schedule interviews for late morning or late afternoon.

This came from a study on how likely judges are to grant parole and the finding that the biggest factor was, how long ago did the judge have a break or something to eat.

“The authors of the peer-reviewed paper looked at more than 1,000 rulings made in 2009 by eight judges. They found that the likelihood of a favourable ruling peaked at the beginning of the day, steadily declining over time from a probability of about 65% to nearly zero, before spiking back up to about 65% after a break for a meal or snack.” (Bryant, 2011)

We do not have to assume that the judges are consciously making decisions based on the rumblings of their stomach, rather,  from a psychology point of view, we simply need to assume that (1) denial of parole is the default position (less risky) (2) overcoming the default position requires intellectual effort (3) intellectual effort depends on your circumstances, including the consequences of being wrong. (Caplan, 2012)

When is the best time of day to Interview?

Applying this to interviewing candidates, I would contend that hiring decisions made by interviewers follow a similar pattern and I will make these assumptions (1) not hiring a candidate is the default position, since a big risk is taken when offering someone a job (2) overcoming the default position requires intellectual effort (3) intellectual effort increases after a rest and/or having something to eat.

In the future, I would like to study whether or not the time of day an interview happens, impacts whether or not the candidate is moved forward in the hiring process, to see if it’s as significant as the impact of the time of day parole hearings happen. Until then, I’ll keep scheduling my clients’ interviews for just after lunch or first thing in the morning.

Message me on LinkedIn if you’d like your organization to be part of a study of whether or not the time of day an interview happens, impacts the hiring decision!

My LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/caseydrengler/

Bryant, B., 2011 Judges are more lenient after taking a break, study finds: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2011/apr/11/judges-lenient-break
Caplan, B., 2012 Kahneman, Mental Effort, and the Scary Parole Study: https://www.econlib.org/archives/2012/01/kahneman_mental.html

How to Answer: What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

People love or hate this question. Joanna Zobjeck of Joanna Zobjeck Graphic Design shared, ” I really hate that question. It’s so low effort and tired. It’s also in almost every stinking interview – probably from a top 10 interview questions print out. They should ask instead, “what skill are you currently working on improving?” or “what would you like to improve or work toward as you progress in your career”

Why do interviewers ask this question?

Interviewers want to know how self-aware you are and what you are doing to grow and improve. If you share that your greatness weakness is a key part of the job you’re interviewing for, this question has the potential of screening out candidates.

Personally, I think there is value in asking this question, especially for certain roles, such as recruiting, sales and related positions. Recruiting, since recruiters should know what common interview questions are and how to answer them well. Sales, because sales people need to be able to think quickly and answer persuasively.

Regardless of your thoughts on the value of this question, it is used often enough that you need to prepare for it.

How to answer, “What is your greatest weakness?”

  1. First, share an actual weakness, but don’t list a weakness that is a key function of the job you’re applying to (if that’s the case, you are probably applying to the wrong job).
  2. Finish by sharing how you are working on overcoming this weakness or how you leverage your strengths to get around this weakness.

Example: I’m not very good at public speaking, although I feel I have very valuable information that people would find useful, I get very nervous in front of large crowds. I’m working on overcoming this by joining Toastmasters and giving presentations in front of smaller groups.

Alternative answer to “What is your greatness weakness?”

If humor and reporting to someone who has a sense of humor is important to you, try:

“Chocolate chip cookie dough ice-cream” (or whatever your dietary weakness is)

This was my answer the last time I was asked this question and I got the job!

Warning: this could backfire, but if it does, do you really want to work for someone who doesn’t have a sense of humor?

How not to answer, “what is your greatest weakness?”

Avoid the strength disguised as a weakness answer, “I’m a perfectionist”, “I’m a workaholic” or “I have little patience for people on my team who don’t pull their own weight”. These are boring and transparent and can hurt your credibility by showing that you lack self-awareness of your weaknesses.

None of us are perfect and we should all have the self-awareness to find one imperfection, that’s not critical to the job, that we can share.

How have you answered this question? 

Recruiters, do you ask this question?

My Top Question to Ask Interviewers

You’re getting close to wrapping up your phone or in person interview and you really want to land this new job. After you’ve asked all your other questions and the interviewer sounds like they are about to end the interview, finish with this question:

“Do you have any reservations about moving forward with my application?”

This does two things:

  1. Uncovers any reservations or objections that the interviewer did not bring up and gives you a chance to address them before ending the interview.
  2. Takes advantage of Dr. Cialdini’s 2nd principle of influence: commitment and consistency from his book: Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion.

If you are interviewing for a sales position, consider being even more forward and asking for the position or for the next interview. Always be closing.

Need To Find A Job? Do These 9 Things Now.

Need to find a job? Do these 9 things now.

  1. Post your resume online

A few of my go to resume databases are below, a future blog post will review the top resume databases:





www.TheMuse.com – quickly gaining popularity

www.USAJobs.com – especially for government jobs

  1. Set up job alerts, with all the major job boards

This will allow you to receive email alerts when jobs matching certain keywords and area(s) you select, first become available. This will enable you to be one of the first applicants, a huge advantage!

First Indeed, Indeed covers 60% of the job posting market. Set up a job alert here: Indeed Job Alerts

Once you receive a job alert for a position you’re interested in, don’t just apply, call the company, see #6

Other good places to set up job alerts: ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder & LinkedIn

  1. Start applying to jobs

If you’re serious about finding a new job, you have to treat this like a numbers game, the more applications you make, the more opportunities you may be offered, the more opportunities you have, the better pay and benefits you can negotiate. Treat job hunting as your full time job.

  1. Reach out to your professional network

Call and email contacts you have, former colleagues, clients, competitors, professors, teaches, etc.

  1. Make a list of 10-20 companies you want to work forPut these companies in an Excel sheet, call them weekly, adding more information as you receive it, person spoke with, decision maker/hiring manager name and contact info, next steps, etc. Basically, everything a sales person would do to land a new client.
  2. Find out who the hiring manager is – not a recruiter or HR

Never simply call and say you’re looking for a job, don’t let the front desk send you to a recruiter or HR. Ask for the the hiring manager by name, if you don’t know their name, Google or search LinkedIn (i.e. “Director of Finance at Westbe). If that doesn’t work, check to see if that info is on the company website. If your search doesn’t work call and ask “who is your director of finance?” you’ll be surprised that often they will just tell you, then ask to be transferred to that person. If they ask you why and you tell them you are calling about a job and they transfer you to a recruiter, wait and try calling again, this time asking for the person by name. Finally, sell them on how you would be an asset for their team.

  1. Announce to social media sites that you are looking for work

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, whatever platforms you’re already on. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, create one.

  1. Mail out (snail mail) your resume to target companies
  2. Always send a thank you letter

Its so easy and will give you a huge advantage over the competition. Nowadays most candidates don’t, so be the one who does. Don’t wait until after the interview, send one after your first contact with the hiring manager.

What would you add to this list? Comment Below!