9.8 new jobs are added to Indeed every second. Yet, it took me 6 months to get an HR entry position. But how long does it actually take for a person to get a job? Is it easier for employers to fill a role quickly?
The recruiting experience can greatly vary from person to person as well as depending on positions, experience, and business industry.
Let’s look into the data.
Jobvite’s annual recruiting report is based on 10M applications and 50M job seekers, and it gives a clear perspective and hard evidence on the recruiting processes in the U.S. market.
As the data shows, it takes 38 days on average for companies to fill a certain position, which is honestly not so long.
Interestingly, when companies put out an offer to their candidates, they’re accepting it 95% of the time.
Why? I’d say the main reason is that people don’t want to repeatedly go through the long and tiresome recruiting process.
Another interesting insight is the 28 to 34 applicants per open position.
As I work in HR for an international corporation, I know that we have certain popular positions with hundreds of candidates and others that require narrow specialization that remain open for over a year with just a handful of applicants. It could depend on the type of job you’re looking for. Additionally, many of the good positions are distributed internally without any recruitment process.
Bigger companies are also a little more efficient in their hiring process, but not with a huge margin.
If you’re curious to know how the different industries are doing, Retail has the shortest time to fill a position, and Healthcare has the least amount of applicants per position.
The candidate’s perspective can be very different compared to a company’s point of view. If you lack qualifications or professional experience, the time to find a suitable job could greatly increase.
Let’s take a look at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The average duration of unemployment for all the nine months combined is 15 weeks. It took the average person almost 4 months to find employment.
On average, only 32% of the people found a job in less than 5 weeks.
And for around 12%, it’s over 27 weeks (7 months) of unemployment.
It’s tough to be in such a situation for a long time, and it can lead to job search depression. But, having realistic expectations can help you plan accordingly and keep you sane knowing that you’re not the only one waiting for a positive job response for more than a few months.
A study by Indeed reports that 44% hear from employers within a couple of weeks of applying, 37% hear back within a week, and only 4% within a day.
You have to be patient and not feel let down due to the lack of responses while applying. It happens to everyone; wait months for a reply, only to receive a rejection in the end.
According to talent.works, people in HR, Sales, and administrative positions need to submit 150–200+ applications to get a job offer.
Even if you take this source with a grain of salt, this is likely the case if you’re applying for highly competitive job roles.
When I moved to my current entry position in HR, it took me around 6 months and 40–50 applications to land a successful offer. This is in Bratislava, a city with a 2.65% unemployment rate and an abundance of corporate jobs.
After graduation, I spent 4 months and again near 50 applications to get an internship. Even for these entry-level positions in countries with low unemployment rates, it was never easy to receive a job offer.
Recently, a friend of mine wanted to relocate and was applying to various jobs in several European countries. It took him 142 applications (he counted it) until getting his first interview. In more than 50% of the cases, he didn’t even get a response back.
The crazy part is that he has seven years of experience in the finance industry and was applying to a wide range of positions, mid and senior level, with no luck at all.
It wasn’t via a job board, career site, or LinkedIn posting, but by writing a comment in a Facebook group asking about possible job opportunities, which was seen by somebody’s wife whose company was searching for a person with similar experience. She contacted my friend, and after an informal talk, he sent his resume and eventually got the first interview.
These are just anecdotal stories, but you can find thousands of similar stories in online forums and social media groups.
If you take the personal stories with the data shown above, you can conclude that finding a job could be a daunting process.
It can easily take several months and hundreds of applications to secure a good job position that advances your career.
You have to be persistent and not take it personally regardless of the number of companies that reject you and the time you invest in applying.
But, to increase your chances of success, there are a few tips that you can implement today.
You’re not limited to applying for jobs only via one place. Use sites, forums, FB groups, LinkedIn posts, ask friends, attend career events, anything you can think of.
Be creative and try the things other candidates don’t dare to do.
If you’re really in need of a job, go from door to door to small businesses, retail, restaurants, and ask if they’re offering any positions. It’s the quickest way to find something. Dress appropriately, print your resume and hand it out to the manager. Then go to the next place.
Reach directly on social media rather than only applying to job posts
Do you use LinkedIn? You can apply to job posts, but you can also connect to hiring managers or job hunters and ask them directly. It can be as simple of a message as “Hey John, I noticed you’re a hiring manager for “X” company, do you have any available positions in IT. I’m a software developer with 5 years of experience in Java.”
That’s it, a short, simple message, and then you move on to the next possible recruiter. If they respond positively, great. You can continue the conversation, give your resume, ask for more information, etc. If a negative answer, it’s not a big deal.
My friend asked for a job in a FB group. 99% of the comments were of no help, but then one person noticed him, and that’s all he needed. He landed a good job because some random person took a chance and opened a conversation with him.
Tell your friends and acquaintances that you’re searching for a job.
Some might hear about an opportunity or could also ask around in their companies for open positions — bonus points when you have friends in HR or a recruiting agency.
Are you part of any online community? When I was playing World of Warcraft, someone was searching for a job in our guild, and we were discussing it during a raid. A few days later, one of our guildmates asked in his company if they could interview him and they agreed to. Even though he wasn’t successful in the end, he had a job interview and a chance to take the position.
You never know when an opportunity will present itself.
If you’re flexible and open to different opportunities, you can expand your job search to other cities, states, or even countries. By expanding the search to new horizons, you can pick and apply to the most suitable positions in each market.
When I graduated, I was applying to seven different European countries. I wanted to travel and gain work experience, so it didn’t matter too much in which country I’d eventually get a job. When you’re young and don’t have great responsibilities or people to take care of, you can afford to explore these exciting options. Even when you fail or don’t like the new place, you can move to another one and learn from the experience.
Having international experience and willingness to relocate are also seen as a great asset by employers.
Many international companies like to send their employees for short trips, training, or longer rotations in other locations. If you’re seen as more flexible in terms of traveling compared to other candidates, this could win you the position.
Traveling and moving to new places also expand your business network. You can make friends on the way that could, later on, bring other unexpected job opportunities.
I’ve now worked in three countries, which has taught me valuable professional lessons that I could always bring to my next role.
With that being said, the most important thing in uncertain times and career moves is to stay positive, keep applying, and not let the rejections affect you that much. It’ll eventually work out for you.