Is There Such a Thing as ‘The Best Time to Look for a Job’?

We all know that building up the courage to look for a job is hard enough in itself, let alone actually looking for the job, which can be time-consuming and extensive. It can become disheartening if you spend weeks, or even months, looking for a new role without the slightest success. This can cause you to lose hope and become deflated, which if you are already in a bad place in your current role, is far from ideal. However, you are probably not the issue (so lose that mindset!), it’s more likely to be a problem with the time that you are searching for a role.

The time of year affecting the job hunt is not a new concept especially to those who work within this industry (like recruiters and HR), who will tell you there are definitely better periods to start looking, applying and interviewing. This optimal timing can be broken into three main groupings (which aren’t to say these are the only optimal times of year to begin your change, but that they can kick-start your search a little more positively):

–    Best Time of Year

–    Best Day of the Week

–    Best Time of Day

Best Time of Year

The best time of year to begin your job hunt is variable due to the seasonal nature of hiring. Having said this, Late November through December is a good time to begin ‘putting your feelers out’ for a new role, as there is plenty of time off to hone your CV, search for roles and even potentially begin initial interview stages. This allows you to get one step ahead of your competition, who may not be looking as it is a known fact that processes slow down over Christmas, but remember they do not stop completely.

The Christmas period tends to increase joviality which combined with more networking opportunities can make discussions around opportunities much more approachable. Furthermore, by December many departments are aware of how much budget they have left to be used by the end of the year, which can increase their hiring activity.

If you put the groundwork in in December, then you will be ready to hit the ground running when everyone returns to work in January and organisations begin to look at their vacancies in a more dedicated manner. In addition, this early preparation allows you to ‘get your foot in the door’ before those who list ‘New Job’ on their new year’s resolutions, then you have an advantage over the “New Year, New Me” crowd.

Best Day of Week

The weekend seems like the best time to begin applications due to the amount of free time available. However, if you thought this you would be wrong. Although the weekend allows you time to apply for roles that have come out throughout the week, you may also miss a number of opportunities.

Somewhat surprisingly, most companies (even recruiters) do not work on the weekends, so job adverts are limited and screening calls/interviews and highly unlikely. This can put you behind the applicants that have been made during the week.

Taking this into account, research by SmartRecruiters in 2015 has shown that the beginning of the week (Monday through Wednesday) sees 58% of the job posts for a week, with our site traffic showing that Monday and Tuesday are considerably more active than the rest of the week. Research has unveiled that the quicker you are at applying to the roles you want, the more likely you are to make an impression and get into the first wave of interviews. Similarly, the later you apply to the role, the more competition you will face in your application process.

Best Time of Day

So far we have established that this time of year (late November/early December) is a good time to get started on your search if you’re not happy in your current role and that the beginning of the week is the best time to apply and get noticed. Now for the nitty-gritty…

According to SmartRecruiters survey, the best time to apply to roles is between 11 am – 2 pm, ideally you want to be in the pre-lunch grouping to get noticed. Over lunch and the evening, more people are applying because they’re on their own time, not company time, making it a lot easier for you CV to drown in the floods of applications. In the case of job applications, slow and steady doesn’t always win the recruitment race, speed is essential to standing apart from the crowd. SmartRecruiter identified that 60% of applications for a new role is within the first week of posting…don’t miss the ‘early access’ opportunity to be noticed.

When it comes to your job hunt, it appears that the old proverb really is true…

‘The early bird catches the worm’.

Concluding this, research shows Tuesday to be the best day for the volume of job adverts published, with Monday applicants having a better chance of getting to the next stage, but job offers tend to occur on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Therefore, it is advisable to use the weekend to sort your CV and make sure it is fully up-to-date (if it isn’t already prepared) and to consider what role you would like to move into, to ensure you’re ready for a flying start on Monday.

Begin looking for a role when you feel you need one, however, the summer months are the worst time to start looking, with winter months being more prosperous for applications. Despite this, it is advisable that job seekers who are actively looking, maintain their hunt (even on ‘down seasons’) as you can still find success at any time of year. Also, don’t forget, perseverance is key. The right role probably won’t ‘jump out’ at you straight away.


SmartRecruiters, 2015.




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