You’ve been looking for jobs for weeks. You spend your days painstakingly customizing resumes and crafting cover letters. After each application, you sit by your inbox repeatedly clicking refresh, anxiously waiting for a reply. You wait, and you wait, and you wait… until you finally receive a form rejection letter or give up hope after weeks of not hearing back. You die a little inside each time.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but I think we can all agree getting ghosted for a job (or anything) sucks. So, how can you minimize your risk of getting ghosted on a job application? By applying to jobs during their “Golden Hour” (the first 96 hours after a job gets posted), you can reduce your chance of getting ghosted by up to 8x.

Timing matters. If you submit a job application in the first 96 hours, you’re up to 8x more likely to get an interview. After that, every day you wait reduces your chances by 28%.

We analyzed a sample of 1,600 job applications to determine the interview rate (the probability of getting an interview from one application) vs. when the application was submitted (the number of days between when the job was posted and when the application was submitted).

Here’s what we found. In short, you can think about the timing of your job application in three different stages:

  1. The “Golden Hour”: Applications submitted between 2-4 days after a job is posted have the highest chance of getting an interview. Not only is there a difference, there’s a big difference: you have up to an 8x higher chance of getting an interview during this period, even if you’re submitting the same application.
  2. The Twilight Zone: Things are going from OK to real bad quickly here. Every day you wait after the “Golden Hour” reduces your chances by 28%. The longer you wait, the higher the risk that employers have already checked their inboxes and setup interviews with candidates that met their “good enough” bar.
  3. The Resume Blackhole: Honestly, it’s almost not even worth applying after ~10 days. On average, in the Resume Blackhole, any one job application has a ~1.5% of getting an interview. Put another way, if you send out 50 job applications, you might hear back from one (if you’re lucky).

Why? This is a well-known phenomenon internally that we’ve been seeing for months at TalentWorks, but it fundamentally comes down to the psychology of hiring managers. If you’re an employer posting a job, you need someone for that job. And you probably need that person ASAP.

Logical or not, if you’re that hiring manager, you’re probably going to give it a few days for enough applications to come in and then look to see if there are any good applicants. If there are, hooray! You’ll interview a few folks, give one an offer, and then probably forget all about your job posting. (One reason why resume blackholes exist.) If there isn’t anyone good enough, you’ll probably make a mental note to check back again in a few days (the Twilight Zone).

From your (the job-seeker’s) perspective, it’s no bueno if your job application doesn’t arrive before that employer checks his inbox for the first time. Every hour and every day counts.

To summarize: Timing matters. A lot. You’re up to 8 times more likely to get an interview if you apply in the first 96 hours that a job is posted.

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