The Lighter Side

The Lighter Side takes a sociological approach to employment and economics, providing data as seen through the lenses of pop culture and current events.

Applying for a Job? Check the Calendar: Is It Monday?

Monday, good to me. And, it turns out, good for people applying for jobs, too. Bright analyzed more than 15,000,000 job views and 500,000 job applications during 2012-2013, determining that 30% of people who apply for a job on a Monday make it to the next step in the hiring process. That’s the highest percentage of any day of the week.

With apologies to The Mamas and the Papas, any other day of the week is not necessarily fine when it comes to job applications. On Saturdays, for example, a mere 14% of applicants advance, making it the least successful day (and making the R.E.M. song A Month of Saturdays a rather grim tale for anyone looking for a job). Saturdays are also the day when the lowest number of applications are submitted overall. Tuesdays bring in the most job applications during the week — 37% of job applications are submitted on a Tuesday (versus only about 5% each on Saturdays and Sundays). However, only 20% of Tuesday applicants advance to the next round. We determined application success rate with the formula 100*(apply successes per day/total applies per day) (the values total more than 100).

We don’t know what underlies these numbers. It could be that applying to a job on a Monday gives the hiring manager time to take a longer look at an application and discuss it with colleagues, whereas submitting an application towards the end of the week makes it more likely to get lost in the end-of-the-week rush and subsequently fall through the cracks. Or, it could be that the kind of person who applies for a job on a Monday is, generally speaking, more hireable than those who apply on other days. We don’t know.

What we do know is, if you’re looking for a new job, try switching some of your focus from fantasy football analysis or weekend reminiscing to submitting applications. There’s no guarantee, but you have a higher likelihood of getting a shot at the job.

Kicking off: Jobs in Fantasy Football

The NFL season is officially underway, and so is the season in which rabid Fantasy Football (FFL) fans begin to ferociously check their smartphones for player statistics and the latest injury reports. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) 2012 media kit, there are roughly 34 million fantasy sports players from the US and Canada. Estimates vary, but the Fantasy Football industry generates annual profits in excess of $2 billion through cable deals, advertisements, draft guides, buy-in fees and various endorsements. Some even term the industry recession-proof. Perhaps the boldest or even the casual FFL fan might consider a career in the industry. But what does that take?

Let's take a look at some information on the average FFL fan. The prototypical FFL competitor is a 37 year old male, married with kids, owns their own home, has earned a bachelors or graduate degree, and has an average household income of $94,000 with considerable disposable income (and thus has money to spend on recreational activities). More than 40% enjoy sports on more than two screens every Sunday. Despite this prototype, league participation by women is on the rise. In 2012, nearly 10% of all FFL participants will be female.

The impact of FFL participation on workplace productivity has been a frequently debated topic in recent years. Some estimate that the total cost of productivity lost to FFL participation exceeds $1 billion annually, while others suggest that workplace leagues have a more substantial positive impact on office morale -- of course, morale is impossible to quantify, so this remains up for debate. But what about the possibility of a job in making fantasy football a reality?

In 2012, there have been over 1000 jobs posted on that included a reference to fantasy football or one of its acronyms. A closer look revealed that 26.9% mention FFL as a company perquisite or an aspect of office culture (recreational), and the remainder are jobs with FFL as the focus (professional). Recreational-level job titles were focused on sales and management, while professional job titles centered around web development. Looking at our example table of titles and skills, it's easy to see the breakdown between the two types of positions. Other notable skills for the professionals included Perl, C++, jQuery, CSS, XML, and technical support. Estimated salaries for these two sets of positions were $40,468 for recreational FFL jobs and $85,840 for the professional FFL jobs, more than a two-fold increase, and nearly the entire household income of the average fantasy football competitor.

Fantasy football is a technology-driven pastime, and it makes sense that most of the people employed to make it a reality are web and software developers. But amusingly enough, it appears from our job description data that the kind of job candidate who would be employed by the fantasy football industry doesn't often see the game itself listed as a perk in job descriptions -- and the candidates being enticed by office leagues aren't the ones actually building the infrastructure of the game. So, as you check your stats and injury reports, remember to consider the workers behind the scenes, and consider if you might be qualified to be a professional fantasy footballer.

What does email domain say about job-seeker politics?

With the days left until the election rapidly decreasing, campaigns are increasingly desperate to reach out to voters -- but one indicator of party affiliation that has been largely ignored is a prospective voter's email domain name. Here at Bright, our team of data scientists is analyzing resume data in order to better understand job seekers, and have found an interesting relationship between a job seeker's email domain and their voting preferences.

Email-domain partisanship among job seekers

We examined the relationship between the email domains of close to one million job seekers and the results from recent elections. Hover over the plot to examine the results of this analysis.

This analysis revealed that certain email domains strongly predict voting preferences. Interestingly, (democratic by 2.62%) and (republican by 1.07%) were on opposite sides of the partisanship spectrum, despite both being offered by America Online. A possible explanation for this result is the widely varying use of instant messaging across age groups. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project report, within the Gen Y (18-27 years) age group, 46% report using IM more frequently than email. In contrast, only 18% of Gen X-ers (28-39 years) instant message more often than emailing. In older generations the percentage is even smaller. 21% of IM users in each of the Gen Y and Gen X age groups log onto IM several times a day, followed by 17% of Trailing Boomers (40-49), 15% of Leading Boomers (50- 59), 10% of Matures (60-68), and a mere 9% of the After Work (69 and older) age group. This data coincides well with the partisanship of these age groups. Let’s look at the 2011 Gallop polls. Among Americans 65 and older, 49 percent identify as conservative, and 16 percent identify as liberal. For Americans between 18 and 29 years old, only 28 percent identify as conservative, and the same number as liberal.

With the exception of Bright's data science team, domain-based voting preferences in job seekers is often overlooked. Considering the state of the economy, employment numbers, that job seekers are likely to care about these numbers, and that email domains are often publicly available, will this change? Here at Bright we are conducting analyses to inform and reform, and bring employment and the needs of the job seekers across the nation to the forefront of American politics.

What is the relationship between job histories on Facebook and in resumes?

While it may not attract many users interested strictly in professional networking, Facebook is increasingly an important platform for people to present their resume and past career information. More job seekers are finding job leads through their Facebook networks, and are increasingly maintaining their Facebook accounts as a piece of their professional online persona.

But since Facebook has such a broad appeal, and the use of Facebook for professional networking is relatively new, we were interested to see what trends we could identify in the top listed job positions and employers on Facebook versus those on the professional resumes we see from job seekers on Bright.

Top job titles and employers on Facebook versus in Resumes

Interestingly, there are many commonalities between these two types of resume. The most common job titles shared between Facebook and Bright resumes include cashier, receptionist/administrative assistant, owner, self employed, sales associate, intern, and assistant manager. However, people are more likely to present themselves on Facebook as a CEO, president, boss, or supervisor. Perhaps small business owners prefer Facebook as a platform to advertise their businesses...or perhaps people tend to exaggerate their importance in the relatively safe Facebook environment, rather than providing false information on a resume. Other titles such as hair stylist, model, bartender, and cook may represent the increased frequency of these professions on Facebook as well as the relatively low importance of having a traditional resume for these positions.

In addition, the most popular employers for both Facebook and resumes are nearly all military, retail or food service, with the exception of a few...'aspirational' outliers (we're pretty sure no one really works for the Krusty Krab). These include United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, Walmart, McDonald's, Macy's, Taco Bell, Burger King, and Walgreens. The prevalence of sales associate/cashier type job titles fits with the average Facebook user or online job seeker as a younger employee working lower-level retail positions.

According to this analysis, people are surprisingly honest about their career histories on their Facebook profiles. It is possible that this is due to the increased presence of Facebook in general, as well as the increased likelihood that a potential employer will review a candidate's social media profiles prior to hiring. It is unlikely that a person's Facebook profile will completely supplant their resume when applying for a job. But it's certain that the exponential growth of social media and its emergence in the mainstream has influenced the online behavior of job seekers.