People leave jobs or change jobs all the time, of course. And new opportunities are always being created as companies replace employees who have left, staff up for new projects or hire to add needed skills to a team. So jobs are perpetually out there.

That being said, there are periods of the year that are hotter for hiring than others, and one of the better periods is fast approaching.

The best time of year to find a job

People often assume that hiring peaks in January as businesses get going again after the holidays with new budgets and projects for the new year. While it’s true that there is a distinct spike in job openings advertised in January, this is inflated by the fact that hiring was so slow in December.

Your odds of getting hired in January are negatively affected by the fact that so many people launch new job searches at the beginning of the year. This causes greater competition for every available job.

The months where the number of job advertisements exceed the yearly average are November, February, March, May, June, and October. That’s what the team at Executives Online found from analyzing ten years of hiring data. December, of course, was the slowest month for hiring, followed by August.

So, as plans are mapped out and people jump ship in January, hiring is about to pick up for February and March. (Statistically there is a drop again from March to April before things bounce back in May and June. However fewer candidates also apply for jobs in April, so competition for the available jobs is actually lower.)

The best time of the week to apply for a new job?

The team at SmartRecruiters, who power the recruitment software for major companies in Canada and the US, analysed over 270,000 jobs over the past two years to look for patterns in job search and hiring behaviour.

Their findings show that most jobs are posted earlier in the week, with the heaviest concentration on Tuesdays. That’s also the day with the most applications – and notably, the day of the week when most hiring gets done.

So what’s so special about Tuesdays? The report from SmartRecruiters notes: “Candidates that are actively searching for job opportunities and applying for jobs when they first open will have a greater chance of getting noticed and getting in on the first wave of interviews.”

Their data also shows that nearly 60 per cent of candidates apply within the first week of the job being posted. So the longer you wait, the more likely your application is to get buried under a pile of incoming resumes that the employer may not need – or have time – to read.

The later you apply for an open position, the stiffer the competition you will face. Apparently this is the case not only for the day that you apply for a job — but also for the time of day.

The SmartRecruiters data shows that 11 a.m. is the most common time that employers post their new job opportunities online. Most candidates apply for jobs at approximately 2:00 in the afternoon. So, the best time to find and apply for a new job and get your resume on top of the pile ahead of the competition? Apparently it’s between 11:30-and 12:30 on Tuesdays.

However if you miss that window, there is a secondary, smaller spike in job postings going online at around 4:00pm.

The best time of day to interview for a job

If you are called in for an interview, try to schedule the appointment in the morning if you can. A study from the Harvard School of Business showed that people conducting interviews tended to compare and rate candidates who interviewed later in the day to the candidates they’d spoken with earlier (rather than scoring an interview based on the entire pool of applicants.)

This means that if the person conducting the interview had met with a particularly strong candidate in the morning and had already given out top scores, candidates interviewing later would be judged more harshly to compensate.

A hiring manager who has already given out a number of high marks could feel obligated to give out a lower grade to the next candidate regardless of actual qualifications. Also if an employer has already been impressed with a strong candidate it can be more difficult for subsequent applicants to be as memorable, even if equally qualified.

Scheduling your job interviews at the beginning of the day gives you the best shot at standing out in employers’ eyes, and beating the potential afternoon candidate-fatigue syndrome.

Well-timed follow-up

Send a short email to everyone who interviewed later that day or first thing the following morning you thanking them for their time and consideration, restating your enthusiasm for the role and offering any further information they might need to help your candidacy.

If you haven’t had a response from the employer a few days after the date by which they indicated you should hear from them, a follow-up email or phone call can be appropriate. But proceed with caution. It is possible to annoy employers with too persistent or aggressive follow-up. Play it cool. Timing is everything.


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