Tag Archives: Time to Hire

32 days in the life of a job seeker

The waiting is killing you. It’s been 29 days since you sent your résumé to Mack, the recruiter, for a job that’s perfect for you. You are finally going to have your interview with the VP of Engineering. But not before a lot of time and anguish. Welcome to the world of a job seeker.

Stressed young businessman

On the 4th of the month, Mack called asking what your salary requirement is, to which you said $85,000. Fine, Mack said. Wait, you thought, that was too easy. Mack asked you questions about your ability to perform the tasks of a Project Manager. He seemed convinced you can do the job.

He set you up to have a telephone interview with the Manager of Project Managers the following week on the 11th. You hit it off great. She said you could be a very strong fit, but other members of the team (Accounting, Sales, and Marketing) will have to talk with you via Zoom. It’s scheduled for the 16th.

In the meantime, you’d have to take a personality assessment that would take half an hour, an hour at most. It took you 45 minutes. Your were questioned on integrity, honesty, dealing with conflict and other traits you can’t remember.

On the 14th, Mack called to tell you that one of the team members is out of the office on “emergency” business. The Zoom interview will have to be pushed to the 16th at 10:00 am, the day you were supposed to attend your kid’s pre-school pageant. It killed you to miss it.

The Zoom interview went extremely well. You were definitely in the running. There were three other candidates they had to interview via Zoom. Once they conducted those interviews, you would be brought in for a face-to-face. They all waved bye as they ended the session.

You called Mack on 18th to ask if he heard anything. No, he hadn’t, but he said he’d call you as soon as he does.

You started thinking about looking for other jobs, as your networking buddies had suggested since the outset. There were a ton of Project Management positions, but they all seemed wrong for one reason or another. You didn’t apply to any.

The weekend came and went. Still nothing.

You called Mack on the  21st. He didn’t answer. You sent him an email on the 23rd.

He called the next day, on the 24th. They love you, he said. It’s down to you and another person. Internal, you asked. He wasn’t sure. That’s above his pay grade.

On the 25th, Mack called to say you would be contacted by the Manager of Project Managers to schedule an interview. It should be the following Monday. They want you to meet with her boss, the VP of engineering.

The present

It’s Monday the 28th. You wait with your phone on all day and throughout dinner.

Finally the phone call comes on the 30th from the Manager of Project Managers. She apologizes for not getting back to you. They were waiting for the VP to return from Europe, who was vacationing in Italy.

They want you to come in tomorrow, the 31st, at 2:00 pm. You’re supposed to pick up your daughter at the bus stop, but you’ll make it work. Your retired neighbor gladly agrees to pick her up.

It’s been 29 days after the recruiter has received your résumé.

You’ve had a phone interview with Mack; another phone interview with the Manager of Project Management; and a Zoom interview with her, Accounting, Sales, and Marketing. Hopefully this will be the last one.

The interview goes well with the VP; you address the pain points that were previously discussed with the team in great detail. You talk about how both of you traveled to Europe. You hit it off.

The VP offers you the job, much to your excitement. There are some hoops you’ll have to jump through, though. They’ll have to do a background check and contact your former bosses. Other than that, you should start in a week’s time. He hopes you understand. They want to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts.

On the 5th of the following month Mack notifies you that all is clear. Your former  supervisors gave you glowing recommendations and your background check came back fine. You can start in two days after they’ve set up your computer. You are amenable to that.


Your situation, although grueling, was not  uncommon. You were extremely lucky in that you didn’t look for other work and put all your energy and faith in one company…and got away with it. Smarter job seekers would have continued looking for other jobs.


According to a study by Jobvite (2019 Recruiting Benchmark Report) this example is not extreme. Their most recent statistics cover 2016-2018. The average time to hire was 38 days in 2018, depending on variables, such as logistics, level of occupation, and geographic location, etc.

What have you learned through this whole process? You’ve learned that it takes time to land a job. You thought it would be quick. You were always good at what you did. But the landscape of the job search has changed. Employers are moving slower for a number of reasons like above.

 

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9 major job-search changes for older workers

One question I ask during my introductory workshops is, “When did you last have to look for work?” Invariably I’ll get answers like “25 years,” “35,” 40,” and so on. On the other hand, others haven’t had to look for work in the past five or ten years, some in the past two years or less. The disparity is great between my customers who have been long-tenured workers and those who are veterans to the job search.

older worker2

The folks new to the job search didn’t have to write a résumé that fits today’s standards, if write one at all. Nor did they have to go through five to 10 rounds of interviews. They might also be new to networking, never used LinkedIn, haven’t engaged in informational meetings, and used other job-search methods. Some tell me, “Companies came to me. I didn’t have to do anything.”

These people have a lost look on their face. It’s as if they have to learn to walk all over again.

Needless to say, there have been changes in the job search in the past decade or two, changes that represent challenges to people who aren’t used to a different job search. Here are eight components of the job search that are new to older workers.

1. The most obvious change, being out of work. This comes as a complete shock, especially for those who worked at their last company for 20 or more years. Gone is their routine, the camaraderie they shared with their colleagues, the income they came to rely on. Also gone, for some, is their self-esteem and confidence.

They know they are experienced and valuable workers, but there’s self-doubt and fear that the job search will be long. In the back of their mind they know the longer they’re out of work, the harder it will be to regain it.

Older worker2

2. Longer hiring process. The good news is that employers are hiring. The bad news is that it’s taking them longer to pull the trigger. Depending on the Source, it can take as long as 28-39* days for a company to hire a candidate.

I’m witness to many job seekers who are getting jobs but usually after a longer process than before. It’s not unusual for job candidates to be interviewed multiple times over the telephone and endure additional face-to-face interviews.

One of my customers endured five telephone interviews before being hired. Another was hired after 12 personal interviews—No lie. This goes to show that employers are more cautious than in the past; they don’t want to make hiring mistakes, as it can cost tens of thousand dollars to hire a replacement employee.

3. Résumés have changed in the past decades. Nay, the past five years. Employers want to see accomplishments on résumés, not just duties. I remember applying for positions years ago where I would send résumés that were one-fits-all, didn’t include a Performance Profile, and were written in Currier font.

There are enough articles written on how it’s important to list quantified accomplishment statements. (Read this article that explains 10 important elements of a professional résumé.) But talk has increasingly turned to the importance of appeasing the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Simply put, this software eliminates approximately 75% of résumés, based on the lack of keywords. Approximately 95% of my customers haven’t heard of the ATS.

4. Networking is imperative. During the days when securing a job took less time and all the jobs were listed in the newspapers, networking wasn’t as important as it is now. This is a tough change for many people who haven’t had to look for work for a couple of decades. Networking was necessary as part of their job. But to find a job? Not so important back then.

Now your business is called Me Inc.; meaning you are your own business and therefore networking is absolutely necessary. And it can be uncomfortable, even scary. (Read this article on getting outside your comfort zone to network.) Anywhere from 60% to 80% of your success can be attributed to personal networking.

older worker5. LinkedIn arrived on the scene. At least 95% of hiring authorities (recruiters/hiring managers/HR) are using LinkedIn to cull talent. Twelve years ago LinkedIn didn’t exist. My customers who haven’t had to look for work since 1988 feel like a confused child when they hear of LinkedIn’s ability to help them find work. Talking about having to learn to walk again.

Some are even afraid of “being on the Internet.” This is an immediate stopgap to LinkedIn. When I hear some of the long-tenure employees say they’re reluctant to disclose too much information, I’m inclined to tell them not to join LinkedIn. (Read this article on how LinkedIn isn’t for everyone.) One cannot be afraid of the Internet if he wants to benefit from LinkedIn.

6. Most jobs are posted online. Older workers are now faced with the prospect of searching for jobs on job boards like Monster.com, Dice.com, Simplyhired.com, and a plethora of others. Because most jobs—75%-80%—are unadvertised, this is time often wasted. In addition, the applications are difficult to fill out for some older workers who aren’t familiar with the computer.

Twenty years ago I remember picking up the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe which was thick with job ads, and the challenges of the Hidden Job Market weren’t as glaring as they are today. More jobs were obtained by using newspapers to locate them, and then we simply sent a generic résumé to land an interview. This speaks to changes in technology, which some older workers struggle with.

7. Telephone interviews are more challenging. This includes telephone interviews which are making the traditional screening process an oxymoron. Yes, employers want to know your salary requirement, but the questions go way beyond that. Telephone interviews are conducted by most employers. They are similar to face-to-face interviews, save for the fact you’re not at the company.

Now, as one former customer told me, the phone interview can consist of behavioral-based questions only. “They’re tough,” I hear. “I wasn’t prepared.” More than one customer told me they were only asked behavioral-based questions, approximately 12 of them. (Read this article on Preparing for behavioral interviews.)

8. The personal interview is tougher. Many of my customers are taken aback by group interviews. Thirty, or so, years ago, group interviews were not common. Rather, companies would conduct one-on-one interviews to size up the job candidates. Group interviews are commonplace these days; they should be expected.

The group interviews aren’t the only challenge candidates are facing. Tough questions, such as behavioral-based and situational, as well as tests to gauge one’s knowledge. Interviewers are asking questions that get to the core of the applicants. One of my customers told me that after a five-person group interview, he felt like he’d gone three rounds with Mike Tyson. He told me this prior to his next interview with the company, and maybe additional interviews henceforth. When do they end?

9. Age discrimination is the white elephant in the room. This is not a myth nor an excuse. Older workers are experiencing it from not only younger interviewers, but older interviewers as well. The reasons range from the demand for higher salaries than younger workers to inability to keep up.

However, the smart employers understand these reasons aren’t necessarily true. As well, older workers have many fine attributes they bring to the table. (Read this article on the 5 strengths of the older worker.) I suggest that my older job seekers explore companies that are older-worker friendly. AARP can be helpful, or simply looking on LinkedIn for companies whose average age exceeds 40 plus can be a find indicator.


These are a few of the changes that have occurred since older workers have had to look for work. Very talented people, who were at the top of their company, are experiencing changes that are hard for them to grapple. But eventually they get into the groove and learn the proper tenets of the job search. Some of the long-tenured workers even see this as a welcomed challenge.

*Jobvite 2017 Recruiting Funnel Benchmark Report. And based on occupation and industry, this figure (39 days) is less or more.