As I mentioned in my SABA post, when you apply for a job can be almost as important as your application itself. The numbers obviously vary from company to company, but every posting gets on average around 250 applications. The first application comes through roughly 200 seconds – a little more than three minutes – after the job is posted. So, if you apply for a job a week or two after it is posted, you may be too late.
In thinking about this recently, I can recall two instances where the first applicant ended up getting the job. It was for the same job – a Teller Operations Specialist at a bank. I was looking for someone with recent, high volume teller experience to work on the back office side of the bank. I posted the job to Monster, then was about to go to lunch when the first application came in, so I sat back down to take a look. She was perfect. She had worked as a bank teller for the last few years at a busy branch and her resume spoke to her 10 key experience (the numbers/symbols on the right side of most keyboards) and the number of customers she assisted daily. I called her, she came in for an interview (she was an excellent interviewee), I checked her references, and she started a couple of days later after her background check was complete. So, I ended up closing the posting after just a few hours.
It turned out that I had to recruit the job again shortly thereafter after the first candidate I placed (discussed above) ended up finding a full time job at another bank. After reposting the position, the first application came in less than one minute later, and she was perfect. Once again, her resume spoke to her experience at a busy branch, high customer volume, cash reconciliation, and 10 key. I probably looked at it for 10 seconds. Rinse and repeat – a great interview, reference check, and she started a couple of days later.
So the first applicant got the job twice in just over a week, each for the same job. In the few months before and the 11 years since it has never happened again. So is timing everything? Yes and no. Those Teller Operations Specialists had the great resume and equally good interviews, and they happened to also apply at the perfect time.