A client asked us a question about appropriate interviewing times that hinted at a larger issue:

Is it unreasonable to ask for candidates to come in for interviews between 7pm and 9pm? I’m the President and Founder of an extremely busy and fast-growing tech company, we desperately need to hire but it’s hard to fit in interviews in regular business hours. Part of me thinks candidates might even appreciate the late interviews so it doesn’t conflict with their day as well, especially if they’re working full-time.

We asked for some elaboration on the hiring process and if he was the one conducting the interviews.

I vet all the candidates myself and sit in on all first interviews; hence why it can be hard to schedule during the work day. I’ve worked hard to build a much-loved culture in the company and I’m very keen to protect that. I can tell within the first five minutes if someone will fit into our culture or not. We have over 45 employees now and I interviewed every single one of them!

We asked Sam Lawson, one of our Senior Recruitment Consultants, to answer this one. Sam is in contact with up to 20 new companies each week and often sits down with at least 2 per week for a deep analysis with the business owners. 

Before I answer your question about reasonable interview times, I’d like to take a step back and tackle a bigger issue here: is interviewing every potential employee personally a good use of your time?

Business leaders around the world spend much of their day focused on activities that take them away from their contribution of highest impact. Think about what you are not achieving by conducting hours of interviews each week? Is having such a tight hold over hiring really the best way to manage the process? Are your truly leveraging your strongest assets?

One of my favorite clients has succeeded to the highest level in a segment of Canada’s real estate and financial services industry. I often ask how he became so successful, wondering if he’ll have a different answer, but every time he responds: dividing his labour and hiring the best people to work IN his business has made the difference, allowing him to thrive doing the things he was born to do.

So, how did he come to this conclusion? About 12 years ago he dissected his business and learned the following:

  1. Some tasks he performed terribly therefore needed help. Instead of stumbling over them for hours he hired a professional.
  2. He also learned that some tasks he simply could not do. Creating a brand that would showcase a trusted name in the community was WAY beyond his ability – he invested in a person to do his brand justice.
  3. He identified that most people truly excel in just a few key areas. But rarely did a business leader focus only on what they do best. He identified the core activities that will help the business meet its goal and delegated the rest to yet another member.

He identified a need to split his labour into 3 core activity groups and hired and delegated accordingly. This concept seems so simple and is mentioned in countless books like ‘The E-Myth’ by Michael E. Gerber, but I’ve grown to realize that very few decision makers make this bold jump.

There was a time when success was measured by ‘how much you take on’ or ‘how many extra hours you sacrifice’. Now, success is measured by revenue itself or revenue generating activity, so why not spend time on those activities instead? It’s no secret that some of the best business owners and upper management decision makers are successful because they surround themselves with a team of experts. Yet many leaders try and do everything themselves. Not all decision makers know how to hire the best people to support them or what tasks to delegate. Or many may have great people but do not utilize them properly.

I challenge you to look at how many activities you take on and then measure how many of these activities deviate from your core contribution and could be negatively affecting your business. By being the bottleneck for all your first interviews you’re slowing your business’ growth potential. If you’d still like to do a quick meet and greet at final stages of hiring, that is a more appropriate place for your input.

With a team of 45 personally handpicked and nurtured to your culture, I’m certain there are a few you can trust to competently hire and grow your business at the rate it needs to succeed. Or, you can bring in recruitment experts like myself who are well-versed in sourcing and identifying top talent so hiring managers can go back to maximizing their strengths within an organization.

As to your original question? Conducting late interviews up until 9pm is pushing the boundaries of acceptable interview times. While it’s not uncommon to have interviews outside of work hours, it’s often only reserved for the first hour before and after your regular hours. Much earlier or later is unusual for job seekers and you may be restricting your talent pool by limiting interviews to such late times. You could certainly offer those times as an option, but I wouldn’t restrict it to those times only nor push for it in the phone screen.


Sam specializes in the recruitment of sales professional in the Greater Vancouver Area. Sam is a natural communicator and relationship-builder. From his sporting background and in-depth sales experience, Sam has developed a keen sense for seeking out high performance professionals. Sam comes from a highly competitive upbringing and found success as a competitive swimmer and won multiple national medals; but later headed east to study at Ryerson University in Toronto. With over 7 years in a high intensity sales environment, Sam understands what it takes to excel in a sales role. Sam genuinely enjoys building and maintaining close working relationships with his clients as he helps them build stronger, successful sales teams.