Time your job application so that it's at the top of a hiring manager's inbox.
By Monica Torres
It’s frustrating how much of a job search is outside your control. You can write a great resume, feel you’re perfect for the role, and still hear nothing back from a hiring manager.
Kate Zimmer, a corporate recruiter for Varian Medical Systems, said that when she was unemployed, her day went something like this: “Coffee. Apply for jobs. Hawk inbox for replies.”
But one thing that is in your control as a job-seeker is timing when to send a job application, and this small action can make a big difference.
“The survey found that 7:30 p.m., right when many workdays end, was when candidates had less than a 3% chance of hearing back from an employer.”
The best time is early morning or late at night.
A 2017 TalentWorks analysis tracked 1,610 job applications from a variety of industries and with a wide range of experience levels and found that submitting before 10 a.m. in an employer’s time zone significantly increased the likelihood that a person would hear back and land an interview.
Sending a job application between 6 and 10 a.m. increased the odds of landing an interview by 13%.
The time of day that had the lowest odds? The survey found that 7:30 p.m., right when many workdays end, was when candidates had less than a 3% chance of hearing back from an employer.
Ashley Watkins, a job search strategist with corporate recruiting experience, agreed that mornings were the best time.
“The early bird gets the worm,” she said. “I’ve checked applications at all times of the day, but typically the initial check of my applications was first thing in the morning.”
Late at night could also work if it helps your submission be the first one seen in the morning. During her job hunt, Zimmer said that she noticed her response rate increased when she started submitting job applications late in the evening. It’s now a practice she recommends as a working recruiter herself.
“My day begins with ‘admin’ time, meaning I spend anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes assessing resumes and inviting candidates to interview,” Zimmer said. “Submitting applications at night or early morning yields greater visibility.”
Consider these timing-related factors, too.
Submitting first thing in the morning is probably not going to help if you are applying a month after the job first posted.
“If a recruiter gets a good enough candidate pool, they may not go back and look at everybody who comes in after,” Watkins said. “Applying as soon as the job is posted is a good way to go.”
When you see a job listing go live, start crafting your response.
“Create the habit of applying when a job is first posted to increase your chances of being in the initial candidate pool,” Zimmer recommends. “Technology is at your fingertips, and features like LinkedIn ‘Easy Apply’ reduce application time and can be done from almost anywhere, so leverage it.”
If you do apply late in the day or the hiring process, don’t despair. Lean on referrals in these cases.
“That person can vouch for you and make sure that your information is seen by the hiring team,” Watkins said.
Monica Torres is a senior work/life reporter for HuffPost who writes about the workplace, management trends, career anxieties and the future of jobs. She is based in New York. She is a 2016 member of Poynter's Diversity in Digital Leadership class and is Williams College's 2013 Jones Fellowship in Journalism recipient.