Interview Scheduling Tips

Jan 12th 2021

Interview Scheduling Tips


Interview scheduling is not fun. It’s hard to make everyone happy, a lot of work (unless you are using a tool like Interviewer Assistant) and adds no value whatsoever…right? Well, let’s back up a moment:

Scheduling interviews is more than booking appointments

  • The interview scheduling invitation can be the first point of contact for a future employee.
  • The interview scheduling invite could be the first point of contact for the top candidates who aren’t hired, but who you may want to hire in the future.
  • It’s the first (and maybe the last) chance to demonstrate the competency of the recruiting or Human Resources function for new and existing employees.
  • It’s a great chance to impress or disappoint your hiring panel - usually important people in the organization.

Interview Scheduling Tips

  • Determine what types of interviews are an option – scheduling interviews with out of state candidates is easier if phone or video interviews are an option.
  • Be clear on how interviews will be scheduled (and when - typically a date range is the most you can promise).
  • Overestimate how long the interview will take AND schedule breaks between them. If you have an interview run long and eat into break time, you could set the schedule off for the remainder of the day and make the panel grumpy. Will the panel want to evaluate candidates after each interview or at the end of all the interviews (either way, it won’ t hurt to build a few minutes in between each interview for this)?
  • Plan for bathroom, coffee breaks and lunch breaks for the panel. Have you ever had to conduct an interview where panel members are leaving mid-interview to go to the bathroom?
  • Ensure candidates know how far in advance to arrive to do things like; find parking, fill out consent or disclosure forms, find the bathrooms (note how that keeps coming up? – nervous people go to the bathroom a lot).
  • Prepare for technology problems. If you are scheduling phone or video interviews, assume you may need some extra time to make them work. Also, initiate the call from your end, not the candidate’s. If you have an interview end late but have a set call-in time for the next candidate, you now have stress and a ruined interview schedule. Let the candidate know you will be calling and provide a range of 15 minutes. Where possible book these types of interviews for after coffee or lunch break to buy added time to setup that nasty spider phone or whatever you are using (just untangling those cords can take 5 minutes).
  • Start scheduling with enough lead time. It’s a little unrealistic to expect everyone on your list to be able to come in for an interview two days from the day you invite them. People may need to make arrangements for time off work or child care, etc. I’ve always found a week is ample time and in some cases 3 or 4 days can work. You can make shorter time frames work if you use an online scheduling tool (see the next tip).
  • And finally, for the ease, convenience and scheduling speed - use an online interview scheduling tool. No one (and I mean no one) wants to conduct this process over the phone anymore. Creating an online interview schedule and mass emailing it to your candidates to self-schedule is easier and faster for you and them. An added benefit is that you can include all the documents and info. they may need to prepare for the interview without any of the typical back and forth phone tag. If you are using Interviewer Assistant, your candidates will also get automatic confirmation notices (customized by you) as well. You also get an easy-to-use process to track their activity and generate day of interview schedules.

These are just a few tips to make your interview scheduling a little easier but you may find that I’ve left something out…what works best in one recruitment environment may not be best in another. If you have tips to share, please feel free to do so in the comments section.  Here’s a few more quick resources that may help as well:

How Long Should an Interview Last

Tips for Scheduling Interviews with Candidates

To see how Interviewer Assistant can make your interview scheduling easier and to start your 1-month free trial, please click here:  Free Trial


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