The Importance Of Timing In The Job Hunt



Job seekers often obsess over timing—when to call, when to email, when to apply. They can take a big breath and relax though. Timing does matter, but perhaps not as much as most people thought. There are disadvantages and advantages to every choice of timing, so the best advice is to choose the time that’s best for you.

Job seekers often wait to send in their resumes until the holidays are over, or the semester finishes, or the busy season ends. In doing so, they hope that companies will have more positions available and more time to review your application. While there will be more jobs, there will also be more applicants. If you send your resume in earlier, there will be less competition, but also fewer positions. There is always the chance though that the employer will hold your resume for when they are hiring more people. In this case, you will have already made a contact when you are put into the bigger applicant pool. There are definite advantages to applying during the busy times as well as the slow times, so don’t stress over picking between the two.


For job postings, applicants sometimes think that it’s better to wait a couple of days so that their resume doesn’t get lost in the sea of other applications. This timing is actually important. Don’t rush to send in a sloppy resume and cover letter, but your application should be sent in a timely manner. Companies don’t have unlimited time to fill a position, so they usually review all applications after the posting has been listed for three or four days. Then, they start the interviewing process with the applications that they have already received and generally disregard any further inquiries. There are exceptions, but it is the usual practice.

Once an applicant is chosen for an interview, they debate the best time of day for the interview. It is generally believed that the best time to interview is during the morning and late afternoon. You don’t want to get caught with an interviewer who is only thinking about his lunch and hunger pangs. However, if you are asked to come in at noon, then you should take the offer. That may be the only time available, and an interview at lunch is better than no interview at all. Asking for a different time delays the process and could irritate your interviewer more than a little bit of hunger would have.

The next pertinent timing is the follow-up. A thank you note should be emailed within the first 24 hours following an interview. After that, contact depends on the situation. Before leaving an interview, it is good to ask when you should expect to hear back. It’s also good to ask if it is all right for you to contact the interviewer if you do not hear back by that time. If you forgot to ask, then wait six business days before you initiate contact. The best time to reach a manager is either early in the morning or right before quitting time. In order to avoid getting lost amongst the flood of daily emails or blocked by a screening secretary, try to reach him or her between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. or 5:15 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

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