When is a job listing too old?
July 25, 2009 3:13 PM   Subscribe

When is a job listing considered too old to apply to?

Like a lot of people, I'm on the job search right now. However it's pretty tough keeping track of every applicable job listing that comes up. I'm also taking online classes these days and have other miscellaneous errands to deal with. There will be times where I won't look at job listings for a period of a week or two, only to catch up on them later on.

Because of that, I'm wondering when a job listing is considered "too old" to apply to. There will be times where I tailor a cover letter/resume for a job that I am easily qualified for, only not to get a response. Of course it may be because there are other qualified people out there applying, but it also might be that I'm just sending out the resumes too late (about 2 weeks after its posting). Or, that companies are just too lazy to take down a listing after it is filled (if you do this, I want to punch your face in).

So, when is a job listing too old? I used to think four weeks was too old to apply for, yet nowadays I feel like two weeks is too old. But I have no clue. Any HR people wanna chime in?
posted by NeoLeo to Work & Money (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you want the job, apply for it. You never know how long the window of opportunity is for any given job, and your resume might pique the interest of a hiring person even if the particular job is closed.

Good luck!
posted by xingcat at 3:18 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Never, but I'd concentrate on newer posts. If there is contact info listed, see if you can call or email someone and ask if the position is still open.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 3:19 PM on July 25, 2009

As my dad would say, "Let them tell you no." In other words, don't decide for yourself that something is unavailable - if a position isn't open, then HR will tell you (or just never get back to you). Many posts take a long while to fill, even in this economy.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 3:24 PM on July 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: (Ha, Conrad, my dad used to say that too. They must teach it in Dad School.)

NeoLeo--you have absolutely no way of knowing. It's a total crapshoot, given the state of the economy. If they get 1,000 resumes for every vacancy announcement, you can bet they're not going to do the losers the courtesy of informing them of such. Just apply. It's a waste of time until you get a job, and you can't get a job unless you apply. That said, I generally don't bother applying to ads that are over a month old, unless it's blindingly obvious that an ad has been reposted.

full disclosure: I just sent a politely nasty, nastily polite email to an HR drone who won't return my calls even after a "promising" interview.
posted by scratch at 3:31 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Does this apply for part-time, entry level jobs as well? I gree with previous posters that for a skilled job, it is never too late to get your resume in, but what about little fish jobs on craigslist? Is there a time limit on those?
posted by Night_owl at 3:37 PM on July 25, 2009

Best answer: I would say any job, no matter what it is -- be it a regional manager or part-time waitress -- it's never too late. There are numerous scenarios where, even months after it was posted, you still have a shot: the current hire isn't living up to expectations, or you're just plain better than them, for instance. (Or, a few notches down the insidious ladder, they think they can get away with paying you less.) At the very least, your resumé or details are in the hands of someone that sometimes has the power to hire people.
posted by nostrich at 5:05 PM on July 25, 2009

Best answer: I am a recruitment advertising professional, I am not your recruitment advertising professional. Job listings, whether online or in a paper, generally cost money. Sometimes a lot of money. They are left up for as long as there is a suitable balance between what the ad costs to place, the expected reach (i.e. who will see it) and the number of good candidates it can reasonably expect to attract.

Most HR departments won't even start looking at the list of applications until the deadline has come round. I have myself extended a listing because we didn't get any suitable applicants the first time round.

Apply for all your worth, you are only reducing your own chances of an interview and maybe a job by trying to second guess these kind of things.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:24 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, and as for the relative laziness or whatever you think might be going on inside an HR department, you have no idea, seriously. Like any profession, there are good and bad people. But these days, any job ad will usually get dozens, if not hundreds of responses. A really desirable role may get thousands. Concentrate on getting across the best possible perception of yourself in the shortest possible time, and like I said, don't ascribe motives, method or malice to a process you only see the very outer edge of.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:27 PM on July 25, 2009

Just apply. Everyone above has pointed out the logic in this (Let them tell you know, etc.), but I can't tell you the number of times where a couple of weeks (one was even two months) later, I've had a potential employer call me to ask for an interview.
posted by mittenedsex at 5:54 PM on July 25, 2009

Response by poster: Seems general consensus is that it is never too late to apply.

Thanks for your replies.
posted by NeoLeo at 5:57 PM on July 25, 2009

Lots of good advice above. I just went through nearly a year of unemployment. Developing some kind of system for keeping track of the jobs that you intend to apply for is very useful. A calendar, a file, whatever works for you. I copied down or printed out every job I found and stapled (and re-stapled) them in order of deadline.

I applied for one last September, was a finalist, but it got cut from the budget. In late December they emailed me to ask if I was still interested since someone had resigned. I started in April, after they convinced the state to let them bypass the hiring freeze. Yay!

Good luck
posted by mareli at 6:10 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Unless there's an application closing date listed in the job ad, they'll generally stop accepting further applications when they've got "enough" applications to have a reasonable sized candidate pool. This could be within hours of the job being listed, or it may be longer. Recruitment agents will generally pull a listing and at least acknowledge applications with a "sorry" auto-response. Private advertisers will often let the ad continue to run even if the position has already been filled.

If in doubt, ring the company/recruiter and ask whether the position is still open. For ads without a specified closing date for applications, I generally advise my training groups to look at ads posted within the last 3 days and to consider anything more than 7 days old as "stale".

Some recruiters do keep your resume in their database, but remember that they are receiving thousands of new resumes every day - it's better to apply for any new position that interests you directly than to hope that your resume will have the right keywords to come up in a database search.

For many jobs the quality of the candidate pool is exceptional at the moment. If you're well qualified for the position, chances are that at least 20 of the other candidates are at least equally well qualified or better qualified. For entry level jobs, there may well be hundreds of qualified candidates. You're definitely not doing yourself any favours by not sending in your application at the earliest possible opportunity - many recruiters will have already conducted phone interviews and online assessments within days of the job first being posted and will be at the final interview stage of recruitment within two weeks.

One other thing to remember is that just because you think you're qualified for a position doesn't mean that your resume is conveying that to a recruiter or potential employer. If you're not getting call-backs, either you need to rework your resume to highlight what employers are seeking (rather than what you regard as important) or you need to look at whether you're as qualified as you believe you are for the positions you're seeking.

Realistically, if your job searching is only intermittent you are definitely decreasing the likelihood of finding employment in the near future. You are competing against people for whom finding a job is their major priority and who send out several top quality applications every single day. Don't under-estimate the quality of your competition.
posted by Lolie at 7:36 PM on July 25, 2009

Nthing if it's posted, apply. jobs can be hard to fill. someone could accept, then take another job. don't assume that early is always best. i would highly disagree with lolie's 7 days is stale, but it could be for some entry level positions. if you're looking for a job that requires specific experience or skills, don't skip a good opportunity because you didn't find the job posting right away. agreeing with lolie, don't underestimate the quality of your competition - do research, write great cover letters that are specific to the job posting, etc.
posted by snofoam at 8:36 PM on July 25, 2009

Response by poster: I must find it odd that the answers to a somewhat similar question posted recently is pretty much the opposite of what's been posted here.

When should I send my resume?
posted by NeoLeo at 12:25 PM on July 27, 2009

Never. At my old company, we ended up hiring two applicants for the same job and creating a new job for the second one. If you are awesome, many companies will find a spot for you.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:34 PM on July 27, 2009

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