Why Is Your Job Search Going Nowhere?

Confused Image You decided to start looking for a new job.  Friends tell you the market is great and you will have something in days.  Your colleague is leaving and she wasn’t even job hunting.  Why isn’t your phone ringing off the hook? First, let’s consider the facts.  One source, Workable, indicates the average time to hire for Technology roles in the US and Canada is currently 51 days.  That’s almost 2 months from posting to offer!  Studies from LinkedIn and Glassdoor also indicate time to hire is on the rise. Given falling unemployment, this makes sense.  There are fewer qualified workers looking for jobs.  Employers have to wait longer for top candidates to apply.  But, you say, I’m a qualified candidate.  If I apply shouldn’t I get an immediate offer from an employer desperate to hire? Not so fast.  Again, let’s consider the facts.  According to an August 2017 study from Glassdoor, on average, the interview process is taking nearly 24 days in the US and only slightly less in Canada.  That’s almost a month of screening and paperwork, before an offer might be issued.  I’ll leave the reasons behind these high numbers for a future blog topic.  The important thing is to understand the data and have a realistic expectation.  In today’s job market, an IT worker can expect to spend at least a month searching for a new job. Expectations reset, you’ve applied to a role but still aren’t getting interviewed after waiting a month.  The entire screening process only takes 3-4 weeks.  So why are you not getting a call? As a result of the economic downturn in 2008, many employers are cautious with big expenditures.  Uncertainty about sustainable economic growth persists, adding even more hesitancy.  This translates into employers being highly selective in their hiring practices, especially in costly IT functions.  Often, a role will now go unfilled rather than hiring a less than perfect candidate to save money. So ask yourself, do you really meet ALL of the job requirements?  Or did you just hit the highlights and assume you’d pick up the rest along the way? The challenge here is that not every employer is only hiring perfect candidates.  Some roles are critical, costing a company money for every day the role goes unfilled.  Other employers are more insulated financially.  Still others are just more aggressive with their hiring.  Instead of worrying about employer practices outside of your control, focus on what you can do to improve your odds of success. Make sure you are applying to more than one role at a time, and that you meet all of the requirements.  Working only one application at a time means your search is likely to drag on for months.  It’s important to do your homework before applying though.  Don’t waste time applying to random jobs.  You should genuinely be interested in the opportunity.  Also remember that employers hire based on past experience.  Training and certifications are nice, but they don’t demonstrate your ability to do the job by themselves. Now you have it all figured out.  You are applying to multiple roles, nailed the qualifications, and have a realistic timeline but you are still not interviewing.  What gives? There’s one last piece of the puzzle.  It’s your network.  Employers are more likely to hire someone when they come with a personal recommendation from an employee they know and trust.  Your resume might be lost in the tracking system, screened out by AI, or filed away by a low level employee that doesn’t understand the role.  If you follow the process, chances are, the busy hiring manager will never see your application. Not keeping connected with friends and colleagues?Discussion Image Don’t worry.  This too can be fixed.  But it takes still more of your precious time.  Reach out today.  Show genuine interest.  Engage in meaningful dialog.  Go out for a coffee or meet for lunch.  Don’t expect people to vouch for you with their employer unless they really know you and your work. If you can’t wait to rebuild those relationships, there is another option.  Connect with recruiters.  Recruiters, the good ones at least, typically have a direct line to hiring managers.  If you are qualified for a specific role, they can fast track your resume.  It’s still up to you to navigate the screening process.  But a good recruiter can help you quickly get through the front door and in front of a hiring manager. The bottom line is that finding a new job takes time.  It’s not a trivial process and there will be setbacks.  Establish realistic expectations, then position yourself to minimize delays and capitalize on opportunities.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or experts.  And most importantly, don’t get discouraged.  With a little patience and a lot of persistence, you will find the right role!