|  October 30, 2014

Should I apply to an old job posting?

For this week’s Q&A (a bit delayed, sorry!) I’m excited to answer a very common question when it comes to the job search:


I often notice job seekers browsing online (whether it’s on LinkedIn, Indeed, or other industry specific sites) and dismissing roles because they’ve been posted for 10, 20, or 30+ days. Here are some thoughts on this topic.

old job posting

On one hand, I do believe there is a first mover advantage when it comes to the job search.

If you’re in the first batch of candidates that apply to a job, you do have a better chance of being seen and called in.

In my past experience recruiting, when I first posted a job I was incredibly eager to find people as quickly as possible and bring them in for interviews. As an example, let’s say I called 3 out of the first 100 candidates and scheduled them for interviews and one of the three candidates ended up being perfect for the job.

In this case, I wouldn’t need to look through other resumes since we already found our person. However, I would leave the job posting up in case the person didn’t end up making it through final rounds or decided to decline the offer. Basically, it’s not over til it’s over and you don’t want to miss out on having other qualified candidates apply.

If you want to learn a super easy way to be one of the first candidates to apply for a job, read this post on job alerts.

That being said, things do not usually pan out that way (but wouldn’t it be nice!)

Hiring is generally much more complicated than that. Being a recruiter would be a pretty easy job if you had to simply post a job, look through a few candidates, and poof, your perfect candidate was there right away!

What’s more typical is not finding the perfect person right away. In my experience it is not uncommon to still be looking 2 or 3 or even 4 weeks later. It’s frustrating but it happens all the time, especially with competitive or picky companies.

So yes, you SHOULD apply to old job postings!

You’re not going to know if there is a great candidate already in final rounds or if the recruiter is still desperately searching for someone who is the right person for the job. Your chances may be lower than if the job was posted a day ago… but it’s still worth applying.

However, don’t just apply! Leverage your network like crazy. If you can get someone to refer you to the job, that will be the most helpful. Otherwise, write a cold email to someone on the recruiting team or the team you are hoping to join. In my experience, I would generally talk to an additional candidate even if I was far along in the process if their background was a really good match for the role. I’d be even more likely to schedule an interview if their background was great and they were referred by someone.

Moral of the story: it’s not over til it’s over

While it’s definitely better to be an early applicant, if you see a job posted, it’s still fair game and worth going for.

PS – have a question about your job search? Submit it here and I’ll answer it in a future Q&A post!


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