Few would deny that the job market operates with a lot of friction. For the right jobseeker and employer to find one another, each must expend substantial amounts of time, money, and effort. All these resources add up to what economists call the cost of search, and it is to both parties’ advantage to reduce it as much as possible.
Yet all too often searches are inefficient, protracted, and exasperating, leaving both the jobseeker and employer wondering, “there’s got to be a better way.” Most of us can relate, and so it is not surprising that people want to find hacks, and reasons to justify them and believe in them.
One of the most common hacks draws on the idea that the job market is much like a bazaar, wherein there are going to be better days than others to post jobs just as there’s a best time to open up shop and display the choicest merchandise.
This line of thinking is typically based on job posting volume (and subsequent competition) and on the premise of time decay, a notion that supposes that job posts lose their freshness after only a few days on display. Consequently, they get moved to less conspicuous locations, gradually losing their appeal and ultimately their visibility and their traffic.
No doubt both traffic and competition are critical elements to consider when posting a job, but does day of the week affects these touch points – and are they really true indicators of success anyway?
The quick but incomplete answer is there are busier times of the week, relatively speaking. But busier doesn’t necessarily mean better.
FACT #1: The bazaar is for the most part uniformly busy throughout the workweek
While it’s been asserted that some days are better than others for job posting due to the amount of postings and therefore the amount of competition, the truth of the matter is that job posting volume is actually nearly uniformly distributed across the five days of the workweek (see chart below).
Even when factoring out weekends, the difference in job posting between consecutive days ranges between 2.5 and 8 percent, and by no more than 10 percent between any two days. Such differences are unlikely to be of any practical significance to an individual company or hiring organization, especially considering that quality candidates are also likely to be uniformly distributed throughout any slice of the week’s traffic.
FACT #2: Jobseekers tend to apply for jobs toward the beginning of the workweek
In contrast to the uniform distribution of job postings throughout the workweek, jobseekers tend to apply for jobs earlier in the workweek (see chart below). Many recruiters also point out that while weekends are low times for hiring organizations to post jobs, jobseekers typically use their weekends to prepare their resumes and applications so they can submit at the start of the week.
Yet a lot of “best day to post a job” advice seems to assume that jobseekers search and apply for the same job during the same sitting. In the case of a platform solution such as LinkedIn, that assumption might hold. But for many earnest jobseekers, several days often elapse between search and apply sessions, thereby interfering with the right timing that job posters hope to seize.
FACT #3: Real jobseekers visit the bazaar every day
Recruiters are pretty much unanimous in the sentiment that if someone is seriously on the job hunt they will be looking every day. That is, their searches will also be uniformly distributed throughout the workweek, and they won’t be putting artificial constraints on their search activities.
So what do all these facts add up to?
Timing is everything, and every good recruiter or hiring manager must always be alert to indications that tell them the timing is right. But as the facts demonstrate, any time of the week can be the right time, and no time is substantially better than another.
Perhaps more importantly, for the timing to be right, there is almost always something else happening that is also right.
Often that right thing consists of a job post that connects with candidates authentically, enough so to merit their attention over several days, remain fresh in their minds, justify precious time completing the application, and leave them excited about the thought of engaging further.
Attention is the scarcest resource in any organization, and the facts suggest the same is true of the candidates you really want to hire. Being seen at the right time is not enough. For the timing to really be right you also have to justify candidates’ investment of their time. And to do that, you need a strong employer brand and an engaging job posting.