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I've been visiting the website of certain company for a couple months, they have a "web developer" opening that seems to be permanently open.

Is right now a bad time to send my application, taking into account that Christmas holidays and new year are nearby? Or should I wait till January?

The company is fairly small and I believe they give a couple weeks off.

I don't want them to receive my application, just to forget about it in the vacations.

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... if the company is small, why not call them and ask directly? –  enderland Dec 20 '12 at 21:28
    
yeah they don't seem to have a phone number on the website, but I could mail them... –  beugisma Dec 20 '12 at 21:35
    
I would flip the question. Would you be happier or more at peace if you send it now or later? –  oschrenk Dec 21 '12 at 0:22
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There's less competition. Managers need to spend money to make sure they fill their budget for the year. So December is good. Source article –  JoshWillik Dec 21 '12 at 2:06
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8 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I think there's a good solution to this. Just submit your application now, and if you don't hear back for a while, just send them a follow up email (or phone call, etc.) a couple of weeks or months from now, as appropriate.

You can tell them you submitted an application, and ask them if you're still in the running, or what kind of time frame they have for filling the position. If they're busy or out of office, and your application does happen to get lost in the backlog, this will almost always get it unlost.

If you wait, you run the risk that it's not actually a position that's always open, and it gets filled while you're waiting out the holidays.

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If they're there, they'll process your application. If they're not, it'll be in the queue when they get back (so they won't forget about it). We interviewed somebody just yesterday, so it does happen. Unless the company is so small that the hiring manager (or whoever's filling that role) just uses his personal email address for everything, there's no harm in sending it now.

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I recommend taking action and sending it in.

The small business owners I know do not tend to let things pile up, and don't tend to go on vacation for 1-2 weeks at the end of the year and be disconnected from the office. That would be a legitimate concern at a large company like mine where most of the management will be gone for the last 1-2 weeks of the year and applications are all screened/warehoused by HR.

The only reason I would not send it in is if you have reason to believe that now is a particularly busy time of year for this company/industry. In a large company, this can vary widely by function/department.

Otherwise, I recommend applying as soon as possible. In my experience, employers hire the first person they believe can do the job who they also like. There is no advantage to waiting and letting someone else potentially beat you to the punch.

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If the positions are available you'll get the gig. However, timing definitely plays a role even if the positions are there and there is no money to fill it. I won't expect you to get hired IN December. But January? Most likely. Common(er)'s sense might indicate that it's actually a good time To do this for budget reasons. Depending on how an organization's fiscal year is cut, you may find submitting an application on the cusp of a new year beneficial.

For a business that has a calendar year = fiscal year, a department's budget will be fresh in January, giving your application a solid shot at a quick response and a department flush with cash is more receptive to negotiation.

For a business with it's fiscal year starting June and ending the following July, you may find yourself on their scroogier side. They're midway thru the business year, so their budget is likely to be more than 60% blown. They might be waaay more cautious and spend thrifty than they were at the beginning of the year.

None of all this should stop you from sending in your resume anyway. They'll either call you or not.

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Good note -- that company's fiscal years are different, and therefore not all hiring cycles are the same! –  jcmeloni Dec 21 '12 at 13:14
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Send it now. This gives you a perfect opportunity/excuse to follow-up after the New Year with an email or phone call. This is something you should always do, but why not take advantage of the fact many people are gone for the holidays.

The Perpetual Job Openning This may be the "we're always looking for good web developers" but they don't really have an immediate need. You'll appreciate working for a company that knows the importance of good developers and takes pride in hiring quality people.

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In my experience, I'd submit the application and let the chips fall where they may. My first job out of university had the job interview 2 days before Christmas in the CEO's parents' house. So, it can work out just fine in some cases. I'd apply and see what happens.

Something to consider about on-line applications though is that you may be in a wave of other applications at times which could make it challenging to stand out from the rest. In another situation, I had applied to a company more than a handful of times before I finally found them at a career fair and physically handed my resume to get an interview and position at that company.

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... this is interesting but I'm not sure interviewing the CEO at their personal residence 2 days before Christmas is even remotely likely for 99.9% of people applying for jobs. –  enderland Dec 23 '12 at 4:24
    
Ever consider what .1% of the Earth's population is right now? It's about 7,000,000 people which is still a rather large group of people to my mind. –  JB King Dec 23 '12 at 4:48
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If the job is only open for a short period of time, then waiting until after the holiday/New Year risks that the window will have closed, and you won't get the job.

If the job is posted as a way to snare applications, then applying without knowing if the need is real is just the luck of the draw. They might just evaluate the applications submitted in the last 30 days whenever they need to find a web developer. They would assume that any older than 30 days are from people that have found jobs. (Don't get hung up on 30 days, it could be 60, 90...)

If they never update their page, then applying might be a waste of time because that job closed years ago.

See if you can contact somebody in the company via phone, email, or through LinkedIn. Do this to determine who does the hiring. It is also possible that they use an outside firm to gather resumes for some positions. The outside company does the initial screening. It is luck of the draw that this company will find you and pass it on to the small company.

Sending in an application that risks getting lost in the pile, wastes little time, but it does waste the opportunity. Focus on selling yourself to them, research them and find a way to contact them, so you know when and how to apply for the real jobs.

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The fact that it seems to be a "permanently open" position could indicate that the company just doesn't update their web site, or uses it as a way of getting perpetual applications.

I know companies who have had the same job listings for years, simply because they are always looking for those types of positions.

If that's the case, there's a good possibility your application could get overlooked, holidays or not. They may just put responses to that position in a big pile or database "just in case" they need someone later.

If you are seriously interested I would at least call, and if it's within driving distance you might even consider stopping by. It's easy to ignore or forget a letter or email, less so a phone call or personal visit.

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It could also be that they have enough openings to in that position to fill as many as they can. My company is like that we have positions open for month that are not being filled because we are not getting quality applicants. It could also be a recruiter... There are always web developer positions open somewhere. –  Chad Dec 21 '12 at 16:21
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