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I am a recent graduate. I have been going to a lot of interviews lately (software development), and I've noticed that interviewers rarely give you a specific date they want to arrange the interview on (unless it's an assessment day). This gives me two options:

  • Request an interview at a specific date - appearing more dominant.
  • Say something like "Any time next week is fine, I'm happy to work around your schedule" - appear more flexible.

Both stances could be seen as positive or negative, but which would be considered a better general approach and why?

  • 2
    I think a lot of people scheduling the interview will just be glad if you take the decision off their shoulders. – Amy Blankenship Mar 15 '13 at 23:29
  • Changed " for an interview date?" to "available for an interview". I thought the interviewee was being asked on a date! – Michael Durrant Jun 12 '15 at 12:33
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    I typically use both at the same time, as in "June 15th works best for me, but can make myself available later that week too". – Laconic Droid Jun 12 '15 at 14:22
32

Flexibility doesn't really matter. You don't work for them and you haven't made any commitment to them, so they don't expect you to be able to accommodate anything at any time for them. Just because you're too busy with other things to be completely open to any time they suggest doesn't mean you'll be too busy with other things to do your job once you're hired.

Their job, or at least part of it, is to interview candidates to hire someone. Name an interview time that is convenient for you, and they will make time for it. If it does conflict with something important that can't be rescheduled, they will let you know and ask for an alternate time. If there are a lot of things on their calendar that would get in the way, they'd let you know that those times aren't possible.

If they are asking you to specify a date you'd like to come in, they are expecting you to answer with a date.

  • 3
    Very true, especially that last line. – Xyon Nov 6 '12 at 12:46
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    And if you don't care say something in the line of: "Any time next week would be fine, my preference would be Tuesday nearing the evening" – Mathijs Jun 12 '15 at 12:44
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It's unlikely that the people actually doing the interview scheduling are going to care whether you appear dominant or flexible. I can't think of one interview I've ever been on where the person scheduling the interview was the person doing the interview.

In general, if they have a range of open dates/times, I try to select one optimally around my schedule and personality. If you're a morning person and they have 3 openings where only one is in the morning, your best bet is to ask for that appointment.

Honestly, though, they wouldn't give you the option to select a date/time if the date and time really mattered. My advice: Don't read too much into the details of stuff like this.

6

I highly doubt this matters at all. You should foremostly look at your schedule. Often times the recruiter doesn't even sit-in to the interview and just arranges the interviews.

I would try to choose a time-slot where you are comfortable with, e.g. if you are not a morning person, don't suggest 8-10 but something later.

6

Most companies expect to have to spread the interviews over a few days or a few weeks.

If you were still in school they would realize that class requirements can trump interview times. If you are currently in another job they realize that you have commitments to the other job. If you are unemployed, they realize you might have other interviews.

Once you agree to a interview time, don't switch it, especially because a more desirable option wants to interview you. You have no idea before an interview which one has a better chance of offering you the position.

Picking a date/time is a simple negotiation, but it is not a test.

4

It's likely that "any time is fine" for them as it is for you. So selecting a date and time is indeed a hassle, albeit trivial, that they don't want to bother with!

And so the happy medium between your two options is probably to suggest 2-3 specific dates and allow them to pick.

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