Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Will Weekend Interviews Become the Norm?

By James McGill, Vice President, Customer Success at HireVue

Historically, job interviews have been conducted during the standard 9-to-5 working day, forcing candidates to invent ways of escaping work in order to attend interviews; occasionally even having to use up valuable annual leave time. Often, employees fall victim to busy schedules, creating huge obstacles when trying to arrange and attend job interviews. However, even when time is found in their calendars, traditional interviewing rarely allows for any flexibility for last minute changes. For the majority of candidates that live in rural and less accessible areas or have childcare duties, the conventional need to attend interviews in person during working hours renders an enormous amount of potential job opportunities out of reach and unattainable.

However, across 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 undertake job interviews on their own terms. Increasingly, interviewees are taking  their interviews on weekends, experiencing vastly improved flexibility and convenience.

The pandemic continues to cause a fundamental shift in the traditional hiring process, with HireVue’s recent survey of hiring managers revealing that 94% of hiring teams currently incorporate virtual interviews, or are intending to across the next six to twelve months and one in four (25%) moving solely to virtual interviews. Moving forward, there are also indications that weekends could become the prime time for job interviews. Data from HireVue's on-demand interviewing platform highlights Sunday’s as one of the most popular days of the week for candidates to interview for a new job. Towards the end of 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.

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. While they are certainly more convenient for candidates, the quick and cost effective nature of on-demand interviews can also  help to ease the pressure facing hiring teams, particularly when hiring at scale. 

The increased desire for on-demand interviews during the weekend demonstrates a fundamental shift in how people access recruitment, and is indicative of a far larger movement towards greater flexibility in hiring. As with on-demand interviewing, both job candidates and prospective employers are increasingly searching for convenience and utilising text and chat-based communication as a fast, viable, and more responsive alternative to email. In fact, chat-based communication is rapidly replacing email as the top form of connecting job recruiters with candidates. Chat-based engagement can now cover every aspect of the recruitment process, ranging from the job search and application, to interview scheduling and onboarding. Candidates prefer chat based engagement over email for almost every form of communication, while some candidates do not even have an active email address.

With financial and location based constraints and other traditional barriers removed, organisations who implement weekend virtual interviewing are also able to access a pool of diverse candidates far larger than ever before. Looking beyond 9-5 availability truly prioritises diversity and inclusivity as a major consideration within their hiring efforts. 

Previously, 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. 

In the end, regardless of how and why these changes have been implemented, the technologies that facilitate weekend interviewing will vastly improve candidate experience, offering far greater levels of flexibility and freedom when conducting interviews. Candidates want to conduct interviews and engage with recruiters when it is most convenient  for them, not their prospective 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 for each role, ensure they can put their best self forward, even if that means giving up a couple hours on a Sunday.