Turns out that applying to a job is only half the battle — the moment at which you hit “submit” can be the difference between getting called in for an interview and muttering to yourself, better luck next time.
Recent research from TalentWorks found that applicants are nearly five times more likely to score an interview if they send an electronic application in between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. than they would be if they did so after work. In short: You should submit an online job application within this four-hour window — in the company’s time zone.
Here are some other things job seekers might want to know from the research.
A magic application formula, of sorts
The researchers took a look at “a subsample of 1,610 job applications” submitted randomly. TalentWorks referenced earlier findings showing that you should apply to a position within the first few days of its posting, and coupled it with their recommendation about applying before the clocks strikes 10 a.m., reporting, “in combination, just these two optimizations can (scientifically) increase your odds of getting a job by nearly 40x.”
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TalentWorks also found that when shooting off an application into the great unknown after 6 a.m.-10 a.m., your chances dip by 10% every time 30 minutes go by, though there’s a “brief reprieve during lunchtime,” when your odds climb back up to 11% at around 12:30pm but then start falling again.
The post also referenced academic research on timing, which showed that among judges, mood during the day — particularly related to break and meal times — can mean worse outcomes for parole seekers when judges are tired and hungry.
Now you know the best time to send in an app — but what day of the week is best?
It’s at the beginning of the work week, but not immediately after the weekend.
2015 research from SmartRecruiters found that Tuesday is the day when the most employers post jobs online, when most applicants hit “submit,” and when the most employment offers are extended.
SmartRecruiters’ blog post also detailed what both applicants and recruiters should do so they’re ready for when Tuesday comes around.
“As a job candidate, take the weekend to get your ducks in a row, update your resume, get your references lined up and watch the job boards for new postings during the beginning of the week, specifically on Tuesdays. Then you’ll be ready to apply as soon as a new posting goes live. For recruiters, use the end of your week to refine your job description and generally make sure the post is ready to engage top talent. Be prepared to post your job at the beginning of the week when most of the candidates will be searching for application opportunities,” it says.
Always wait for morning
It’s also worth noting that SmartRecruiters found that most job listings go up at 11 a.m., but that most job seekers apply around 2 p.m. (they suggest doing so “in the late morning”) — so your best bet seems to be sending your application in earlier rather than later in the day, no matter what.
TalentWorks cautioned that you shouldn’t apply once 4 p.m. has passed — reporting that hitting “submit” at 7:30 p.m. leaves you with “less than a 3% chance of getting an interview.”
Even if you’re working against the number of days a listing has been online, it should wait until the morning.
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