Best time to submit a job application when given a specific window?
October 24, 2010 11:03 AM   Subscribe

HR filter - if an internet job positing provides a 3 week window in which I can submit an application via e-mail, is there any strategic advantage or disadvantage to applying sooner than later, or vice versa? Also, if I live in a city other than the location in which the job is situated, should I play this down or up?

I am curious about whether my application is any more likely to go to to the top or bottom of the pile based on when I submit it - for example, is it considered keen to submit it early, or if I submit it later, will my application be remembered simply because someone might be more inclined to recall a more recent submission? Re: the location discrepancy - the job is 6 hours away from where I currently live, but in an area where I'd very much like to move. Should I do something like emphasize a 'fresh blood' angle or play down my currently distant locale? If it helps, the job is in social services/healthcare, which is why the location issue has me a bit worried (they'll likely want someone who is familiar with local resources). Furthermore, the role is new, so no one has been in it before (it's a brand new service with all new staff). Thanks everyone!
posted by analog to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have yet to hear of a compelling reason or disadvantage to not apply as early soon as possible, especially if it is a new position. You want your resume in that "maybe" pile ASAP, so that others are considered against it. For those handling the resumes, there is definitely an exhausted, "oh fuck it" point in reading the damn things where the later ones become a blurry, indistinguishable mess whereas the early ones are remembered better and clearer. You want that distinction and clarity when you are being thought about by the hiring manager, especially if it a position no on has ever held.
posted by griphus at 11:11 AM on October 24, 2010

The answer to your question really depends on trivial things you can't know. In what order do the application materials reach the people who review them? Do people just get them in their inbox in chronological order, as applicants send them in? Or is there an online system and a timeline, when everybody who reviews applications gets them all at once?

I'm on a committee reviewing 15 resumes for a specialized position right now. It is really tedious. We have an online HR thing that lets us sort candidates in various ways. I'm reading through applications in the order they arrived, but that's absolutely not a given for anyone else on the committee.

So, yes, applying early could give you an edge — with people who sort by date. Or maybe you should apply last, you know, to be more memorable. It could help to have a name that starts with A.

Ultimately, it's useless to worry about these factors, because you have no way to control them.
posted by Nomyte at 11:23 AM on October 24, 2010

Submit early - can help, won't hurt. Don't stress need to relocate: can't help; might hurt.
posted by MattD at 12:19 PM on October 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

As others have said, depends on how it is done where you are applying. Where I work, we started interviewing as soon as the first batch of resumes hit us, and only drew from the pool again after we determined we didn't like anybody from the first batch. As soon as we found someone we liked, we tossed the remaining resumes.
posted by pravit at 2:25 PM on October 24, 2010

Submit the resume/application now, rather than waiting. That way, you're in no danger of accidentally forgetting to send it in, or in any danger of finding out too late that they closed the application window early.
posted by AMSBoethius at 2:33 PM on October 24, 2010

I've found that I get more response if instead of rushing off my application I take an extra day or two to mull it over and put the time into tailoring a resume and especially the cover letter for that specific opportunity, highlighting relevant skills that apply to that particular position, and doing a little bit of research into the company to include a tidbit referencing something you like about the company that shows you've done your homework. At the least I usually get a response back from those showing they thought enough of it to take the time themselves.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 4:49 PM on October 24, 2010

It mostly depends on how your resume is going to be reviewed. At my company getting your resume in early was better because we would start with those and work our way through until we got a bunch we liked and then start calling/interviewing. So if we got 200 resumes (which did happen) for the position we would really only even look at the first 75 or so. Yes there might be gold in the last 125 but quite frankly most of the resumes were about the same and we did not have the manpower to review that many resumes.

If they have a computer program that does the basic review first then it probably doesn't matter because there isn't really any downside to reviewing all the available resumes.

So yeah, what other people said: I can't think of any reason why sending it in at the first available moment is going to hurt you and it might even help, depending on the company.
posted by magnetsphere at 8:44 AM on October 25, 2010

Message received, sounds like sooner is generally better than later. Thank you everyone!
posted by analog at 7:57 PM on October 28, 2010

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