Sitting in a meeting with a group of people around a table can be intense, but it doesn’t match the intensity of a one-on-one job interview.
People who interview candidates with regularity know how much energy and focus it takes to listen intently to assess whether the job seeker’s aptitudes and approach are the right fit for a particular position.
That’s why at The Bagg Group we advise hiring authorities to do what we do, and take breaks rather than schedule an endless marathon of interviews. Tony Schwartz, in the Harvard Business Review writes, “Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity.”
Many people break between interviews only to do some work, respond to emails, etc. But according to productivity experts, scheduling in a short relaxation time is equally necessary. It is in the down time that we are able to recharge our batteries.
What’s more, taking time off from tasks and letting your mind wander, or daydream, can also be helpful to the interviewer. Jonah Lehrer, author of the book How We Decide, writes in scienceblogs.com that many scientists believe daydreaming is crucial for creative thinking. It’s during our mental breaks that we reflect on social interactions and ask ourselves, “what if” questions.
A Wall Street Journal article reported that a recent study shows we spend about a third of our day daydreaming. But our brain remains active during these supposed ‘idle’ times and often is engaged in complex problem-solving. That could be why Newton came up with the law of gravity while strolling through an orchard and seeing an apple fall. He is one of hundreds of famous people who is reported to have experienced a major breakthrough while thinking of nothing much at all.
At The Bagg Group, recruiters spend a large part of their days interviewing talent for full-time positions, contract work, and temporary placements. But we recognize that the process of matching the right candidates with companies doesn’t always take place in the interview rooms. Sometimes, recruiters say they get their greatest “AHA” moment when relaxing in the kitchen.
Interestingly, the researchers found that people in a positive mood are more likely to experience an insight out of the blue. That’s just one more reason for putting the stresses of the day on the backburner for a little while and enjoying a break between interviews.