what’s the best day of the week to apply for a job?

A reader writes:

Is there is a certain day and time of the week that is best for applying to online job postings? For example, is it better to apply Monday morning versus Friday afternoon? I was thinking that a Friday afternoon application might be overlooked because of the weekend (applications sent in Monday morning might be read before an application from the previous Friday afternoon). Thoughts?

I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • Speaking up when clients are abusive
  • Can I suggest creating a job for myself on another team?
  • How do I list a receptionist job in a brothel on my resume?
  • Should job-seekers draw conclusions when a company has a horrible website?

{ 41 comments… read them below }

    1. Barney Barnaby

      The former brother receptionist is overthinking it. Just put the alternative business name on the resume; list relevant skills as if it were any other legal industry (“answer phones; coordinate client bookings”), and, well, if anyone asks, just tell them. A few interviewers will get cranky, but most will either not ask or will not care – especially if you are remaining in state. I’m sure they’ve worked with people who did all sorts of normal jobs at brothels – taxes, HR, cooking food, cleaning, what-have-you.

    2. Michaela Westen

      I’m in awe of anyone who thrives in the sex industry, especially the prostitutes. It took me years to learn average people/social skills. Someone who can deal with people on that extremely personal and intimate level and even *enjoys* it, is a superhero!

  1. mark132

    Like the chinese proverb. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

    So the best day to apply for a job was years ago, the second best day is today!

    1. Trout 'Waver

      Totally agree. For many jobs, managers read resumes every couple days as they come in. The earlier your resume comes in, the less likely they are to have already proceeded with other candidates.

      In other jobs, the manager doesn’t even look at resumes until the posting is closed. In that case, it doesn’t matter.

      There’s never really a time when it hurts to get your resume in earlier.

  2. Amber T

    That stock picture reminded me of that article about using Facebook to apply for jobs. Is that still a thing? I sincerely hope not.

    1. Tongue Cluckin' Grammarian

      Some businesses do post jobs on Facebook! There’s a whole section for it even.
      I cannot speak to how great the system is though.

  3. Workfromhome

    #2- I’ve dealt with this before abusive /profane clients and I have my own personal policy around it. Its simply not acceptable. I’ve always presented it as “this is how I handle this/handled it is there anything else I need to add” but have always been firm that I will not accept it. No one has every remotely suggested I need to accept it or be fired . The important thing is to 1.Be professional in how you deal with it,2.Be crystal clear in what you are saying and 3.document the heck out any interactions like this. I think many people let the occasional bit of foul language slip out when agitated and if its isolated and not directed at me or derogatory then its common sense to let it slide. But Unless I accepted a job where one of the duties listed was ‘be abused by clients” its just not happening.
    If someone uses excessive profanity no matter who (and I’ve said this to VPs) I tell them that can’t continue if it doesn’t stop. If it doesn’t stop I tell them that I’m ending the conversation and document it. If they are abusive towards me I inform them my job is to assist them but not to be abused and end the call.
    If you are combative about it you risk having the client complain you were unprofessional with them. If you don’t document it you risk forcing your company to pick a side of “he said/she said” where you can lose out.
    You absolutely should stand up for yourself. If your boss is unsupportive you can make the decision if your situation warrants accepting something you know is wrong.

    1. henrietta

      I have found that people in the company whose jobs aren’t public-facing are WAY more likely to suggest ‘oh, it’s not so bad, you can ignore [whatever the abuse is]. People who have worked in the client/customer service trenches will more likely support pushing back.

    2. Safetykats

      It’s worth noting that the courts have ruled that treatment by a client can constitute harassment or hostile workplace, and they have found the actual employer liable in cases where the situation was reported but not dealt with. Management has the same responsibility to ensure appropriate treatment of employees by clients that they have to what’re appropriate treatment by other employees. So definitely you should raise this issue with management, and if necessary, point out their potential legal liability.

      1. Gazebo Slayer

        True! (But only in cases where the client behavior constitutes sexual, racial, or other harassment related to a protected class. You don’t have any such legal recourse regarding equal-opportunity bullies.)

    3. Ama

      I do think it can be helpful (where possible) to actually write out a policy of what is and isn’t acceptable and how to handle it. I thankfully haven’t had to deal with very many bad clients but the few times it has happened it is really hard to come up with a response once my emotions are engaged.

      We had a a major website update recently and our communications team put out a cheat sheet with suggestions of how to respond to various types of complaints — including when it was appropriate to escalate to a senior staffer, which I really appreciated. People can get so emotional about website changes!

  4. Lynca

    #5- I think it’s a data point for the company but not the only one. And I agree it’s really industry specific as to how much weight it would have.

    In my field (not software) engineering, it’s not as much a red flag if the site is dated. It generally speaks more to the size of the company. Generally the smaller the company the more dated the site- which isn’t necessarily bad. It’s just another data point to evaluate when considering the job.

    1. Almost Violet Miller

      I agree.
      In my field, some of the industry leaders have really basic websites. They are not very important in this line of business and you also don’t want to share much, or anything really, with competitors. So websites are simple, old-fashioned, sometimes not even updated with product news.
      I’d only draw conclusions if you are applying for a job in digital marketing (and the main task isn’t coming up with a new concept for the website).

      1. Breda

        Yeah, sometimes it’s just an indication that they are more focused on other priorities, which is fine if their business is not related to websites.

    2. SFL

      Totally agree. I’m in a creative industry so I actually put a significant amount of weight on the website because it says a lot about the company’s design philosophy. But I could easily think of several industries where the website would be an afterthought and not an accurate representation of the company.

    3. Ama

      We did a wholesale revision of our website in March (I’m in nonprofit). I was just telling a new coworker who arrived after the relaunch (but who interviewed while the old site was still up), that I had some concerns myself about the dated nature of the website when I interviewed but they promised me they were already interviewing design firms and exploring their options for an update.

      I interviewed five years ago — it was the same website new coworker initially saw.

      This has been one of the best places I’ve ever worked so I think both myself and my coworker are glad we didn’t rule the place out based on our first impressions of the website (although to be fair, with nonprofits it isn’t as much of a surprise when tech is a little outdated).

  5. Bookworm

    I would honestly be less concerned about the day of the week vs. getting the application ASAP. There have been times when I didn’t know about a job until too late (and from conversations with the hiring organization I could have been a good fit) or when I saved the job posting for later only to find that I applied past the stated deadline or the link no longer works, etc.

    I think unless you have an “in” (networking, know someone in the org, happen to know HR to let them know you’re applying, etc.) it probably doesn’t matter what day of the week. Rather, it’s more important to submit your materials ASAP. Some interviewers have told me they get hundreds of applications for a job posting and have to close off the flow or are still sorting through the pile or seem genuinely overwhelmed by the interest.

    1. alana

      One big misconception I had about hiring before I started doing it myself was that candidates always moved along in batches, and that everyone had to complete one step before you could start the next. So first you read all the applications and pick the phone screen candidates. After all the phone screens are done, you can pick who you send work samples to. Then once you’ve read all the work samples, you can schedule final interviews.

      I did one hiring process like that and it took forever. Now if I see a cover letter/resume I like, I get them on the phone right away and start advancing them through the process. We don’t really need to compare people head-to-head until the final interview, since every step before that is really comparing them to baseline expectations for the job.

      Sometimes this means I have so many plausible candidates in the pipeline already that applications close to the deadline don’t even make it out of the slush pile unless all our earlier candidates fall through. As a last-minute person myself, I feel bad about this, but I don’t believe in The One — if I’ve found someone who can do the job well and is a good choice for the organization, then the hiring process is a success.

      1. Safetykats

        I think it really depends on the length of the posting. If we left a posting open for weeks or months I would expect HR to be forwarding applications as they screened them, but a lot of out postings in this job market are a week to 10 days, tops. For a short posting it doesn’t make as much sense to be reviewing continuously as applications come in.

        To address the initial question, for any company using an electronic posting system, your application can’t get “lost” over the weekend. If you’re submitting by email that could maybe happen, but the electronic system should be giving HR everything that came in over the weekend when they ask on Monday morning. Whether they review that batch of applications in order or not is not predictable. As the hiring manager, they give me applications thatbpass the screening criteria in order of most to least qualified, in their opinion, if there are many – and in no particular order if there are only a few. We work in a pretty specialized field, so even if there are several hundred applications total it’s rare for me to get more than a dozen (max) that don’t screen out.

      2. Ro

        Thanks for this! This info. is probably one of the most helpful things I’ve read on this site (which is saying something- I’ve learned sooo much from reading this blog every day!)

        I had always thought hiring managers/recruiters did things in batches. And while I’ve never delayed submitting my resume, I probably haven’t had the right amount of urgency when I’ve worked on polishing my application materials prior to submittal- thinking that they’d wait to get a good batch of candidates and then compare them.

        Thank you!!! I’m hoping this is the game-changer for me as I continue to search for a new job.

  6. Hanna

    I left my last job because my boss was unwilling to take a stand against unreasonable and/or abusive clients. I would show him the awful things they would email, and he never did anything more than sheepishly shrug and say, “Well, they’re the client.”

    Good riddance.

    1. Magenta Sky

      There comes a point where the client isn’t the problem any more, the boss is.

  7. voluptuousfire

    I tend to take a look at the website and also judge if it looks viable or not. Years ago I applied for an office manager role at a financial software company. The website looked very dated for a software company (red flag) and when I went for the interview, it ended up being a group interview. (Which I wrote to Alison about, actually!)

    It’s definitely dependent on the type of company and industry. For tech, if the website looks old, its a very, very bad sign.

    1. ElspethGC

      Which group interview question was it, if it was one that got posted? (Please say it was the one where they had to cook a meal for the interviewer, I found that one via the random page generator and…wow.)

      1. voluptuousfire

        oh I forget. It was well over 5 years ago. :) It definitely wasn’t the cooking the meal for the interviewer!

        I think it was asking Alison’s opinion on group interviews. It was the only time I was ever interviewed en masse outside of retail.

  8. Anontech

    For tech I would say that a snazy website, depending on product, can indicate a big effort on marketing said product, which may or may be a good thing depending on your role.

  9. Observer

    Generally speaking, the state of a company’s website tells you very little about what kind of company or workplace they are. The content is a different story.

    Look at the language and images used. If they mention accomplishments, what do they highlight? Is there any solid information there – who they are, location, contact information, what their services / products are?

    Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. So, for example, a digital content company with a dated site is going to worry me. Or a design firm with a hard to read site. etc. But outside of these types of issues, I really wouldn’t worry about it.

  10. Ros

    #1: speaking as a hiring manager who spent the past month trying to schedule interviews, can I just say that emailing EARLY is more important than which day of the week. Frankly, if I come in on Monday and find 10 CVs, I’m going to skim through them all, review qualifications, remove any emails that have glaring spelling and grammar mistakes, prioritize the ones that have decent cover letters, and then start doing phone interviews – the order of the emails is absolutely irrelevant. And I’m going to do that daily or every 2 days until I get a pool of candidates I’m happy with and interview a person I think is a good fit for the job, at which point I’ll hire someone and take the job ads down.

    So, y’know. I could be interviewing for a week or for a month and a half, depending on how long it takes to find someone who would be a good fit. A lot of websites make a ‘deadline for application’ field a requirement, so it’s in the ad by default, but if you want until the night before to apply chances are decent I’ll have hired someone before then and the ad will have been taken down.

  11. T3k

    As a former person in a design related field, I do judge by how a company’s website is because 1) it tells me how up-to-date they are with the current trends and 2) gives insight into their priorities. If you’re a mostly online based company but have a site that looks like it’s from the early 2000s, I’m going to think you’re either behind the times or have outdated programs for work (or both). Plus, it really isn’t that difficult with all of today’s tools to make at least a simple, clean website nowadays.

    1. Observer

      it tells me how up-to-date they are with the current trends

      Well, it only tells you how up to date they are with on line (design) trends. And that’s often not really a good indicator of how good of a prospect the employer is.

      gives insight into their priorities

      Maybe. But, that really depends on what you’re getting out of it. If what your looking for are things like corporate culture etc. then the content may or may not be useful. On the other hand, if what you get out of it is that they do / don’t prioritize the look of their web site, then most of the time that’s not useful information.

      If you’re a mostly online based company but have a site that looks like it’s from the early 2000s

      Yeah. This is one of the exceptions. If you’re primarily an on-line company and your site is ugly, dated and / or hard to use, that’s going to be a major red flag.

      Plus, it really isn’t that difficult with all of today’s tools to make at least a simple, clean website nowadays. That’s actually not true. I’m actually surprised that a design pro would say that. Because no matter how simple the tools, getting the site right is still about the right content, visuals, organization and flow. And nothing in most tools helps you much with that.

      1. T3k

        Sorry, should have clarified on that: by priorities I meant software tools. Unfortunately the companies I’ve worked for whose websites really sucked, they tended to have outdated software and not even the full set of tools (not like Paint vs. Photoshop, but similar) making my job more difficult to the point I ended up doing some of it from home on my own computer, defeating the purpose of wanting me on-site.

        As for the last bullet, I’m not saying web tools like Wix and SquareSpace can replace a web designer, but they can greatly help with at least a basic layout and keep logos lined up. Let’s just say one past company I was at, a designer after me changed everything for the worse, and now there’s literally a huge blank space to the point you have to scroll through it to get to the footer, and the logos are, quite literally, overlapping in some areas and off-centered. I mean, really, even if one’s not an art or design person they could at least fix that with some basic website builders.

  12. Erin

    I applied for a job (that I have since been offered and accepted) the Thursday before Easter and Passover weekend and got contacted about a phone screen the next day. But I’m not sure whether that says something about me or the recruiter wanting to get a move on.

  13. animaniactoo

    I kinda disagree on #5. Unless it’s a small company and the webpage is basically there as a place to look up contact details, I think it is a flag if their website looks *that* dated.

    But it’s only a flag. One piece of information, not enough on its own to rule the place out.

  14. BenAdminGeek

    #5 reminds me of a funny 2017 Babylon Bee (church satire site) article: “Man Visiting Church Website Really Looking Forward To Upcoming 2009 Picnic”.

    1. Ama

      There’s a great xkcd comic about university websites: https://xkcd.com/773/

      It was originally published when I was working for a grad school that was redesigning their website and our dean thought it was so funny that he printed it and put it on the department bulletin board. And then proceeded to approve a design that required three clicks to get to any useful information.

  15. Mephyle

    Should #3 talk to Jane and Rupert before proposing to their manager that they join Jane and Rupert’s team?

  16. hbc

    OP5: Of course you should judge a company by its website. But what kind of judgment you should draw is pretty complicated, and is not nearly as simple as Good/Bad To Work For. Maybe a dated website is all the customer base needs and wants–they might have stodgier clientele who don’t like changes or the website isn’t really visited by potential customers. Maybe they’re a small business with tons of customers and making sure they appeal to new customers through the site isn’t on the radar as a concern. Maybe the owner fancies himself a web design guru and insists on retaining control but is cool about everything else.

    File away that bit of info and see how it fits in the bigger picture. Heck, straight up ask about their web presence if you get an interview. But I’ve worked with some pretty awesome companies with ridiculous websites, so I wouldn’t put too much weight on it in isolation unless you’re doing marketing or IT.

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