Today’s the day. According to our own figures, Friday is the day of the week when the ratio of resume searches per job application is optimal: there are two searches per application, compared to 1.5 to 1.7 on other days. Recruiters appear to be comparatively busy on Fridays, while candidates appear to be comparatively slack. You therefore have a few more hours to send out your resume.
Or do you? According to contradictory research you should in fact be applying for a job on Monday when everyone’s fresh from the weekend and recruiters are busy rattling through CVs and have the rest of the week to pin you down for interview. So, which job-application-timing-strategy is right?
Dean Looney, head of the technology practice at NJF Search in London, says Monday lunchtimes are the moment when financial services recruiters receive the highest volume of applications. “That’s the peak time,” he says. “People ruminate over their jobs during the weekend and then they come back, sit at their desks and decide they want a change. There’s a definite spike.”
“It’s the classic thing,” said another senior recruiter who asked not to be named. “People come back on Monday morning and they’re sick of their jobs. They spend their time applying for new ones.”
However, putting your resume out there with a rush of other people also has the potential to backfire badly. Research conducted by academics at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 suggested that recruiters tend to judge people in narrow and isolated subsets. If they’ve looked at six CVs in one day and recommended three, they may be unwilling to recommend a fourth from that subset – regardless of whether the fourth CV is better than the CVs which come through on subsequent days.
The trick, therefore, may be to submit your application at a time when recruiters are definitely going to be busy looking through resumes but haven’t had a chance to review many yet. This would seem to suggest Monday and Friday mornings. Tim Walker, Global Head of Banking and Financial Services at recruitment firm Huxley, said Mondays and Fridays are often, ‘admin days’ for recruiters. “As a general rule fewer client meetings take place on these days and recruiters can focus on catching up with applications, emails, and speaking to candidates as well as clients” he says, “Tuesdays to Thursdays we’re usually flat out at meetings, checking applications in between them.“
“Ideally, you might want to hit recruiters with your application as they come through the door on Friday,” Walker suggests.
Not all recruiters adhere to the notion that timing counts in job applications, however. “There’s no advantage to applying on one day above another,” says Logan Naidu, CEO of recruitment firm Dartmouth Partners. “Every day is busy.”