If you've ever changed jobs before, you know that applying for a new one is a full-time gig in and of itself. But if you're firing off applications after work, you could be sabotaging your efforts.

According to an analysis of over 1,600 job applications from TalentWorks, applications received at 7:30 p.m. were the least likely to result in an interview — a slim 3 percent chance. In fact, applications sent anytime after 4 p.m. had a 5 percent or less likelihood of leading to a call-back.

But it's not all bad news — adjusting your timing can also improve your chances. The analysis found that the best time to apply for a job was between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Doing so could make you five times more likely to score an interview. So here are our tips to help you be the early bird that gets the worm — and the interview call-back.


Be the first thing in their inbox. Anyone with a working internet connection knows email overload is a struggle. Avoid the competition by sending your application early in the day so it's one of the first things in the hiring manager's inbox; other studies have confirmed emails sent in the early hours yield higher response rates. If you write up your email in the evening, save it as a draft or use an email scheduler (like Boomerang for Gmail) to send it before you head into the office the next morning.

You can also aim for their lunch break. The TalentWorks analysis found the likelihood of an interview decreased for applications sent after the 10 a.m. cutoff — except for a slight bump at 12:30 p.m. This coincides with other findings that lunchtime messages also get a higher response rate, likely because people dedicate some time after their break to catch up on email that's piled up from the morning.

Get in the zone. The "early morning" and "lunchtime" success windows only work if you're sending them in the right time zone for the hiring manager, so make sure to double-check that detail if you're applying to a role in a new city or state.

Craft a good subject line. Your attention to detail shouldn't stop after you're done proofreading your resume and cover letter. To up the chances of your email getting read, include a clear and concise subject line. Make sure it's easily searchable and includes keywords (like the position you're applying for) to help the hiring manager find it later — you know, like when they're pulling up your info for your job interview.

Recommended Reading