When, and How, Your Students Apply for Jobs

Timing is everything, especially in college recruiting. Is August too early or just the right time to connect with college students for internships? In addition to campus visits, what is the best way to reach out to students? When to connect with college students for job opportunities, and how, are two of the most difficult questions that campus recruiters have to answer, and these decisions can make or break a recruiting program. Until now.

WayUp can help with data-backed answers to these crucial questions.

What days of the week are students applying? When are employers posting jobs?
Students start their week off right – searching for jobs! Our WayUp metrics show that students are most active in the job hunt on Tuesdays, then Mondays and Wednesdays, particularly in the latter half of the day. This time is spent both researching companies and actually applying for jobs. This trend holds true for employers too, who post listings and extend the most offers on Tuesdays.

At WayUp, we’ve used this data as part of our student outreach strategy. We promote opportunities to students Sunday evening/Monday morning to both remind and prepare them for the most active time in the job hunt each week.

What time of day are students job searching?
I was talking to a university partner last week, and we were speculating about the time of day students apply for jobs. Now that applying anywhere and anytime is feasible, we both assumed there’d be a trend towards late-night applications. We’ve found that students respond in the latter half of the day, peaking at about 8pm local time, with a small dip between 5-7pm.

Most applicants apply quickly when they see a posting of interest – the vast majority of applicants on WayUp apply within the first week. This is great for hiring managers as it allows them to plan their candidate pipeline appropriately.

What months are students busiest applying for jobs?
I am perpetually surprised to see how early recruitment starts, and it just creeps earlier and earlier. In fact, multiple companies are hosting corporate presentations for 2017 intern hiring in March of 2016! Given these shifting timelines, it is crucial for students to prepare for the job search as early as freshman year – especially those interested in highly structured career paths like finance, consulting and technology.

We’re seeing this trend at WayUp as well, with a spike in both intern and full-time recruitment in August/September. That said, we see another spike in March, when much of the “just in time” hiring takes place. We currently have listings with Fox News, Greenhouse and NERA Consulting (and hundreds more), so you can help put your students at ease that many wonderful companies are still hiring, and it’s never too late to find a meaningful job or internship.

What’s the best way to communicate with students?
It can be daunting to keep up with all of the new social and communications technologies coming out each day, and even harder to know which ones students are actually using in their job hunt. We recently set out to get answers with a student survey. We found that while students are very active over social networks, 75% of them still prefer to learn about job opportunities via email!

Source: WayUp 2016 Student Survey

Source: WayUp 2016 Student Survey

While social media usage continues to increase, 80.5% of recruiters use social media (NACE), and the industry continues to innovate, don’t forget the power of a simple email alert that reaches students exactly how they want to be reached.

I hope this post will be helpful to my colleagues in both career services and recruiting. Stay tuned for more data-backed learnings and myth busters around campus recruiting!

Liane Hajduch, Head of University Partnerships

Liane has over 5 years of campus recruitment management experience - she hired, trained, mentored and developed hundreds of top candidates in both technology (Venmo/PayPal) and financial services (RBC Capital Markets, Moelis & Company). At WayUp, she partners with career services professionals across the nation to work together to help students find meaningful jobs and internships.