I’ve spent most of my career helping other people plan and land work.

Whether you are seeking to pivot, make a vertical or a lateral move to a new opportunity — a common thread runs across many job searches that rarely gets discussed: Timing is everything.

While on some occasions, time is more readily available than others, time is also a great equalizer. We all (technically) get exactly the same number of hours, minutes and second per day. How we choose to spend them is partially up to us as individuals and equally dependent on the commitments that we make.

My mother and my late grandmother shared a common view of time which I have inherited: Time is precious. Your time — no matter how you choose to spend it — is your own “precious time.”

This brings me to one of the most important but overlooked questions in any search for work: What’s your hiring timeframe?

Fail to ask the question and lose your precious time.

A student who graduates in June will never land an immediate opening with a February start date.

An applicant who applies three weeks after a job has been posted often faces equally slim prospects. (In a StartWire analysis of 6600 jobs across 10 industries, approximately 50% of successful applicants applied within one week of the posting. The early bird often gets the job — if the hiring is being done early.)

In any relationship — be it work or personal relationships — asking questions about timing can feel intimidating and potentially game-changing. But it’s worth it. You are worth it.