Ask any hiring manager, any recruiter, any warm body with a paycheck, and you’ll get different opinions about the best time to find a job. But what does the research say? That’s what we set out to uncover. And some answers even surprised us.
Best Time of Year to Look
Let’s be clear: The absolute best time of the year to look for a job is when you need to find one. Employers hire year-round, so never put your job search on hold just because it’s a “slow time.” Here are a few tactics that might serve you well:
- Keep an eye out during summer and holiday months: If you’re already on the hunt, applying for a new job listed during a “slow time” could be your best bet. Keep an eye out in the summer months and in December. This is when the fewest job seekers are responding to job ads—so they could be the best times for you to cut through the clutter of resumes. These are also great times to find seasonal and temporary work.
- Be proactive in the late fall and early spring: Some of the best jobs are ones you can snag before they’re even listed. But without a crystal ball, how will you know about job openings before they’re officially open? Follow the trends. Most people retire around the first of the year. And with more than 25% of jobs still filled by Baby Boomers, a significant amount of jobs will continue to open up due to retirement for years to come. So it makes sense to do your research and to contact headhunters in late fall to identify opportunities before others find out. Retirements often happen at the start of summer, too. As do weddings. One savvy job seeker recently told NBC about how she got her latest job: By scanning for wedding announcements that mentioned the couple planned to move. A little LinkedIn research led her to the positions that would soon need filling. Pretty clever.
- Respond fast in January and February: Late January/early February have been deemed both the best and the worst times to find a job, simply because they’re the top months for job listings but also the most competitive months for job seekers. There are benefits to john hunting during high-hire months: Decisions are made quickly because budgets are set and decision makers are back in the office. But you need to be quick on the draw because the competition is high, which brings us to our next points on getting your day of the week and time of day timing down to a science.
Best Time of the Week and Day to Look
Tuesday seems to be the best time of the week to apply for jobs. This day is singled out for two main reasons: It’s the day most jobs are posted, and it’s also the day hiring managers are most receptive to emails/application submissions. The worst day to apply is Saturday, one study found. In fact, the study concluded that only 14% of candidates who applied on Saturdays received interviews (as opposed to 30% of candidates applying at the start of the work week). So while you may be focusing on your job search and application work during the weekends, you may want to wait to hit “send” until hiring managers have been back in the office for a day.
As far as time of day goes, the advice is subjective but, generally, it’s best not to send ANY emails or correspondence at the end of the day and certainly not at 4 or 5 pm on a Friday. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to be late to the game. While some experts assert that being the first to apply is best, other experts point to reasons why that isn’t true. If you find out a job listing is closing—or has even recently closed—don’t shy away from applying anyway. We’ve seen candidates swoop in at the last minute who far outshine the other vetted candidates, leading to a swift and confident hire.
Lucky for you, The HT Group can help take the guesswork out of when and how to apply for jobs. Feel free to contact us with questions.
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