What’s the Best Day and Time to Apply for a Job?

Oct 22, 2020 | Job Search Strategy

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Is there an optimal day of the week or time of day to apply for a job to maximize your chances? We did some research and talked to a hiring professional to find out — the insights may surprise you.

By: Katelyn Skye Bennett | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma

This is not a hack. I repeat, this is not a hack.

Today, we’re answering the question of when it is best to submit an application. Grandma knows that there are no shortcuts to a good application, but there are tips you can follow in order to maximize your chances.

So, let’s dive in!

What Day of the Week is Best?

Most publications claim that Mondays and Tuesdays are the best days to apply for job openings if you want your application to be read. These articles primarily cite one study by Bright, which is now a subsidiary of LinkedIn. 

We wanted to know more, so we set up an email interview with Anna Falcon. She has been working in HR for 22 years and is currently the Director of Human Resources at Asian Human Services in Chicago.

A busy-looking man looks at a clipboard on a desk filled with papers and a laptop.

Hiring professionals are BUSY and want to fill positions as soon as possible. If you can get an application in within the first few days of a job posting, you may have a better chance of getting an interview.

Falcon affirmed the Bright findings based on her experience but noted that it might not be consistent across every company. 

“At my previous job, where I was also the person who ran HR,” Falcon said, “the best day to apply for a job, if you wanted to land an interview, would have been Monday and Tuesday because I reviewed applications on Wednesday and set up interviews. I would not review resumes again until the following Wednesday. Here at AHS, directors and managers vet resumes and set up interviews when they have positions open. I only post them.”

Other experts report that while Monday and Tuesday tend to be the best for applicants, HR will set aside designated chunks of time to look through resumes. Accepting applicants isn’t their only job.

Falcon added a caution for applicants looking for the “best” day: 

“Unless you are aware of the actual day applications are going to be reviewed, I would say to submit your application within 3-5 days of the posting date,” she said.If you wait until the closing date, your application may not be reviewed if great matches were received in the first few days of postings.”

In other words, if you discover a promising job opening on a Thursday, don’t wait for Monday or Tuesday to come around. Get your application in sooner rather than later — within the first few days!

Platforms like Indeed, Google, and LinkedIn allow applicants to search for jobs posted within the last three days. Using this function allows you to apply to the freshest picks before HR stops looking through their pile of applications.

If you’re casually looking for jobs, there’s less harm in taking your time up through the closing date of an application, Falcon shared. But if you’re actively searching for work, you can and should be more proactive.

What Time of Day, Though?

There’s less conclusive data on the exact hour hiring managers will look at applications. But if you’re applying through an email, it stands to reason that submitting an application earlier in the day is better

A determined-looking woman sits at a table typing on a laptop

Applications via email are typically better to send in the morning, but don’t rush — work on your applications whenever you can focus your best.

Think about your office routine. What’s the first thing you do? You clock in and check your email! Then you schedule your meetings and tasks, grab a coffee, and by the end of the day, you reassign what’s left for the next day — including non-urgent emails.

But submitting applications in the morning is not a hard and fast rule.

Anna Falcon added some practical advice for timing. “From an HR [perspective],” she said, “I would suggest submitting applications when you know is the best time of day for you, when your creative juices are flowing, and when your mind is set on nothing other than submitting the clearest and most articulate responses, without distraction. Do not submit applications when you are tired or rushed to provide responses.”

Allow us to offer a suggestion: If your availability and space to focus are in the evenings, craft your cover letters and tailor your resumes at that time. Then wait to submit them until you wake up so that they’re at the top of the hiring manager’s stack of emails when they clock in for the day. (Or if you’re using Gmail, you can even schedule your email to send the next morning!)

Finally, for folks applying outside of their locale, pay attention to the time zone of the job posting and time your application accordingly!

Here is Your Key Takeaway

Now you know the most common times for hiring managers to accept applications — often Mondays and Tuesdays, potentially mornings and have some practical advice on how to maximize your chances.

But remember, since you don’t know the exact day or hour HR will be reviewing resumes, submitting your application within the first few days is your best bet. Don’t wait days to apply, for there’s a sharp drop off in your chances of gaining an interview after four days from when the job is posted.

Apply as soon as possible, keeping in mind Falcon’s advice on quality and the best timing for you

Jobs are posted in order to be filled, and there’s a nation of unemployed applicants competing against you right now. If you’re able to apply earlier in the week, that’s ideal. But if you’re serious about finding a job, you won’t stop just because it’s a Thursday. Keep looking for newly posted positions and focus your energy on those. 

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