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Three times recently I've been contacted for an initial phone interview, and asked to pick a time.

Usually it's something like "which of these five specific times over the next few days is best?" or "Any time Thursday, or maybe next week if you can't do Thursday". Today though I was offered a range of any weekday for the next two weeks.

  • I could do an interview most times most of those days, but they asked me to make a choice so I'd like to make the choice. (Also passing the question back to them would make it sound like I wasn't staying busy.)
  • Choosing a sooner appointment, and/or one at the beginning of the work day, would seem like the more proactive choice.
  • Choosing a time toward the end of the range would mean that, when they'd finished the first round of interviews and were making a decision, it wouldn't have been a week+ since they'd talked to me.

Does anyone have an informed sense of whether certain times of day or days in the offered range are advantageous? If it really doesn't matter, I'd probably want to talk to them sooner rather than later, so I can sooner have a sense of if I want or am likely to get the job.

Circumstantial details:

  • I'm a computer programmer, applying for computer programming jobs.
  • My impression is that my resume is a little weak, but I interview well. I haven't had this impression validated by anyone though.
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    "I'd probably want to talk to them sooner rather than later" Then that is probably what you should do. – sf02 Nov 1 at 17:20
  • Before lunchtime is usually better. You don't want them to have a food coma on you. Friday also is a "no" unless there is nothing better. But I agree with Joe, you're overthinking it. If anything, you should have gotten back to them as soon as you checked your calendar. Indecisiveness is not an attractive trait. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 1 at 20:52
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It's hard to give a 100% accurate answer to a question like this, because it will depend a bit on the hiring practices at the employer(s) you're interviewing with. Generally, most employers will have more than one round of interviews, with a filtering of candidates between the first and second rounds. But, some employers may simply interview until they find someone they like, and then hire that person. For those employers, it's probably a good idea to get the interview as quickly as possible.

You may not know which style of hiring practice your targeted employer uses, which means you don't really know how to react. However, it's likely that skewing towards the earlier dates you're presented with is a better approach overall, since that'll likely be a neutral approach for the first type of employer and advantageous for the second type.

That said, in general, when setting up my own interviews, I try to follow a few basic rules:

  • I try to avoid early on Monday mornings, since people are often swamped, catching up from the weekend, or just mentally switching gears - and may not be focusing.
  • I try to avoid late on Friday, for basically the same reason - people may be mentally focused on what they have to get done before the weekend, or daydreaming about the weekend.
  • Very late in the day on any day may not be ideal, because people may be mentally exhausted.

Combine those factors, and my personal approach is basically to target time slots mid-day, mid-week.

Generally though, the time slot you choose is likely to be a minor factor, at best - as long as you feel prepared, it shouldn't make a big difference. Make sure you give yourself enough time to do standard interview prep - do some basic research on the company, make sure you've thoroughly read the job description and are prepared to answer relevant questions, and be ready to ask any questions you have to help you understand if the employer is a good fit. If some of the time slots would be too soon for you to be prepared, it might be better to choose a later slot and give yourself enough prep time.

  • If OP and the interviewers are like me, I'd avoid Friday entirely. I'm pretty wiped by the end of the week. You want yourself and the interviewers to be at the top of their game when you meet. – Seth R Nov 1 at 17:52
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You've been presented with a set of times that all your interviewers are available.

They don't know your schedule, so (since they can't pick a specific time that they know you're also available) they've given you options. If you're unavailable on one or more of the times, you'll still have the remaining options.

That's all there is to it, no need to make it more complicated than that.

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