By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer
A former career counsellor once told me that the duration of a job search
was directly proportionate to the desired yearly salary
. He claimed that the average job search would last one month for every $10,000 in desired salary. To wit, a job that paid an annual salary of $50,000 would take, on average, 5 months to find. Now, there is no real basis to this formula nor is there any data to support it; it is merely an anecdotal observation. However, it does provide an important purpose: it gives job seekers a realistic benchmark of what to expect when entering the job market. Finding a job takes time; finding a great job can take even longer
. While this may be disheartening (not to mention frightening), there are some valid reasons behind this. As a long-time hiring manager, I experienced all of the following scenarios over the years.
Much like fruit, the job market is very seasonal and can be quite volatile. Some companies tend to do all of their hiring at the beginning of the calendar year to coincide with their fiscal calendars. Managers
are given their yearly budgets in January and are eager to spend them right away. As such, there tend to be more immediate positions available early in the calendar year. Additionally, many job markets tend to slow down considerably during the summer months due to the simple fact that company resources are away on vacation. Of course, it goes without saying that jobs within industries whose business is seasonal by nature (agriculture, construction etc) fluctuate tremendously based on the time of year.
As a general rule of thumb, the larger the company the slower things tend to move. Companies that have very large public profiles can receive thousands of applicants for every open position. This places a great strain on the recruiting teams and can certainly impact the speed with which they are able to contact qualified candidates. Additionally, in a large corporate environment, internal policies can greatly impact the duration of a hiring cycle; multiple approval levels are required to post an available position and candidates are often required to pursue a lengthy interview process. For anyone who has worked for a very large corporation, it will come as no surprise that decisions can be very slow to arrive.
It is not uncommon for a company to realise that the requirements for an open position have evolved since the original posting. For example, when looking to recruit a vacated position, the initial reaction is to try to find a resource with similar skills to the person who had previously held the position. While this may work in many cases, it is possible that the position itself has evolved and, often, companies only realise this after interviewing a few candidates. A change in the job requirements can certainly extend the hiring process by weeks – if not months.
During times of economic downturn
, the number of open positions is vastly outnumbered by the number of qualified candidates. (It should go without saying that searching for a new job during a time of economic depression will be a difficult and lengthy ordeal). As such, companies can be extremely selective during their recruiting process and can afford to hold out for the perfect candidate. While the recruiting process is costly for a company, hiring an ill-suited resource is even costlier. If you are finding that there is a scarcity of jobs in your industry, you may be in for a long search.
Believe it or not, some companies actually do not know what they are looking for. A hiring manager once told me that he did not know what he was looking for during an interview but was confident that he would know it once he saw it. Of course, this type of approach is impossible to legislate and can be incredibly difficult for all those involved. Without a reasonably tight set of requirements, the recruiting process can be infinite; interviewing dozens of candidates with disparate skill sets takes a great deal of time and effort and can be extremely wasteful.
Despite the fact that there are small armies of dedicated recruiters actively looking for qualified candidates, your job search will only be as successful as the amount of effort you put in. Some people say that searching for a job is a full-time job in and of itself; it requires a certain amount of skill, persistence and time. Don’t expect to be successful if you are not willing to dedicate a certain amount of effort.
If you find yourself looking for a new opportunity, your best approach is to remain calm and to remember that it will take time. The job market is more competitive than ever and there are numerous factors that will impact your eventual success.
Ultimately, you need to stay focused and positive and, like your mum always said, good things come to those who wait. Good luck!