The post-lunch slump is the best time to apply for a new job

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It always helps to beat the rush hour, and applying for a new job is no exception. With most recruiters taking just seconds to review each CV, it’s important to send your application when it’s likely to get the most attention.

Based on average global application numbers to jobs advertised on eFinancialCareers per hour, the most active time of day for both candidates and recruiters is 10am. The largest proportion (7.5%) of total applications take place between 10-11am, while 12% of searches on our CV database occur during this hour.

While recruiters and candidates may be in sync at this point in the day, the post-lunch period is where job-seekers appear to be missing a trick. Just over 11% of CV searches take place between 2-3pm, compared to 6% of job applications. If you want a recruiter or hiring manager to have a greater chance of seeing your application, apply during the middle of the afternoon when most people start to slow down.

“Mid-afternoon is when most recruiters will be back at their desks, after a lunchtime spent interviewing, and mid-morning is when they would have cleared their e-mails and have a little more time to give new applications more time for consideration,” said Andrew Pullman, managing director of People Risk Solutions and a long-standing investment banking human resources professional.

“The post-lunch period is when most recruiters actively go on the trail of new candidates and give applications a little more attention,” added Ben Cowan, director of recruiters Astbury Marsden.

Recruiters understandably clock off after 6pm, but job-seekers continue to be active into the night, with 15% of total applications taking place between 8-11pm. This works well for candidates trying to fit a job-hunt around a full-time role, but is unlikely to be the best way of catching a recruiter’s attention.

Recruiters’ inboxes are usually bulging first thing in the morning, said Fiona Makres, manager of operations recruitment at Robert Walters: “People typically go home in the evening after a bad day, start looking for new jobs and send their applications through. So, if you want to avoid the rush, it’s best to wait until late morning or early afternoon.”

Applying at the right point in the day, much like firing your CV off on the best day of the week, will only give you a small advantage over the competition. Pullman says that recruiters will “move heaven and earth” to uncover the right candidate and if a stellar CV lands on their lap, they will react swiftly regardless of the time of day.

“We can get anything from five to 300 applications per role,” said Cowan. “While the amount of time given to each application is limited, we’ll call back a candidate straight away if we feel they’re right for the role, whenever that application comes in.”

“Most employers have very specific requirements when they’re hiring so it is your suitability for the role that will most make you stand out,” added Makres.