Q: I am looking for a job. One of the points that a company recently mentioned was to check my email over the weekend in case they schedule an interview for me on Monday. I usually try to unplug most weekends. Should I be checking my personal email over the weekends? That seems excessive.
A: Technology is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because we can connect almost anywhere at any time. However, it is a curse, because we can connect almost anywhere at any time. Many years ago, most of us unplugged over the weekend. With the advances in technology, especially with smartphones, most recruitment professionals expect candidates to review emails over a weekend.
I agree with the advice you have been given. The scheduling of interviews can sometimes creep into a Friday evening or even into a weekend. You don’t want to miss an opportunity because you have not checked your email or your voicemail. Or worse yet, you open your email on Monday morning, and the interview has been scheduled for that day!
We even sometimes debrief with candidates over weekends. With today’s open office environments, candidates sometimes have little privacy during the workweek. They can slip outside for a brief call but sometimes it is hard to have more than a quick call with a candidate during the workweek. It is not unusual for us to connect with a candidate on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday evening. Sometimes it is the only time a candidate has the quiet and the privacy to schedule such a call, without jeopardizing their current position. No one wants to put a candidate in a difficult position in the candidate’s current role.
I don’t think you need to check email excessively throughout the weekend. However, I would suggest checking a few times per day to ensure that you are continuing to keep abreast of any developments, particularly if you are in the midst of interviewing. Although discussing the logistics of scheduling an interview is critical, there may be other requests like updating your professional references, reviewing the possible interviewers prior to the actual interview or maybe even providing work samples, etc.
Finally, when you are responsive over a weekend, you are demonstrating that the interview (and the role) are a priority for you. You are conveying interest in the role and the process. Signaling a strong level of interest can be the difference between receiving a job offer and being the runner up.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.