Could we see the rise of the weekend interview?


Feeling relaxed? Settle down for a job interview

The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed how we hire people, including how we interview and communicate with candidates. Could increased flexibility over time and location mean a surge in candidates attending interviews at the weekend? James McGill says this can be a convenient solution. 

Traditionally, job interviews have been reserved for standard nine-to-five working hours, forcing candidates to invent creative excuses to their current employer in order to attend, or take valuable days of annual leave.

In a busy work schedule, one of the biggest challenges facing job seekers is often identifying a suitable time slot to actually attend an interview. Even when they can find space in their calendar, this offers little flexibility for any unforeseen circumstances or last-minute changes.

For a large percentage of candidates, particularly those who are based in remote locations or have childcare duties, the need to attend interviews in person, during normal working hours, renders a huge number of potential job opportunities out of reach and inaccessible. But the impact of the pandemic on how we do work and communicate with each other has shown this doesn’t need to be the case.

Flexibility and convenience

Furthermore, over the last few years we’ve begun to see new technologies deliver a hugely exciting transformation within hiring. Candidates, with licence from potential employers, can now conduct job interviews on their own terms. With benefits including vastly improved flexibility and convenience, more and more are choosing to attend interviews at the weekend.

There are indications that moving forward, weekends could become the prime time for job interviews. Data from HireVue’s on-demand interviewing platform has shown that as the pandemic continues to cause a fundamental shift in the traditional hiring process, Sunday has become one of the most popular days of the week for candidates to interview for a new job.

In late 2020, HireVue facilitated close to 50,000 virtual interviews over a single weekend, more than doubling the previous highest weekend in 2019. Similarly, we also set a record for the number of interviews in one day by a single customer with 11,600 interviews completed on a single Sunday.

While certainly more convenient for candidates, it’s important to remember that incorporating weekend interviewing into a recruitment strategy shouldn’t lead to an increased workload, or any expectation for additional weekend working from already stretched hiring teams.

Sunday selection?

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the quick and cost-effective nature of on-demand interviews, with candidates answering a number of pre-set, highly relevant questions, could actually help to ease the pressure facing hiring teams, particularly when hiring at scale.

The increase in those opting to complete on-demand interviews during the weekend demonstrates a fundamental shift in how people access recruitment, and is indicative of a far larger movement.

As with on-demand interviewing, both job candidates and prospective employers are increasingly opting for convenience: for example using text and chat-based communication as a viable, significantly faster, and more responsive alternative to email.

There are indications that moving forward, weekends could become the prime time for job interviews.

In fact, chat-based communication is rapidly replacing email as the top form of connecting job recruiters with candidates. This can now cover every aspect of the recruitment process, ranging from the job search and application, to interview scheduling and onboarding.

Many candidates prefer chat-based engagement over email, while some candidates do not even have an active email address.

Viable option

The ways in which organisations manage their hiring process and how candidates identify and interview for new jobs was quick to change as pandemic restrictions demanded.

In the past, the cutting edge of recruitment technology was reserved for the very largest companies, with huge budgets and the most streamlined recruitment strategies. The pandemic, and a fundamental shift in our relationship with work and interviewing, has presented these technologies as a viable, and often necessary, option across every organisation.

Ultimately, regardless of how and why these changes have been implemented, these tools can vastly improve candidate experience, offering far greater levels of flexibility and freedom when conducting interviews.

With financial and location-based constraints and other traditional barriers removed, opening up interview windows to the weekend too means organisations can access a wider and more diverse pool of candidates. Being able to offer an interview outside of the previous norms is one practical way to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of the hiring process.

Candidates now want to conduct interviews and engage with recruiters when it is most opportune for them, not the employer, as was tradition. People don’t want to rush an interview after a hard day’s work. They want to be comfortable and, with huge levels of competition, ensure they can put their best self forward, even if that means giving up a couple hours on a Sunday.

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