I love a good job hunt, but I’ll admit: it’s an arduous process.
You can spend hours scrolling through job posts and researching companies before even landing an interview with a hiring manager. Then, the real games begin. You prepare and execute. You highlight your strengths, explain your weaknesses, ask the right questions and do your best to leave a good impression.
And most of the time, it’s all for naught. According to a 2018 survey done from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobseekers with at least one interview in the last two months have only a 37% chance of receiving a job offer. Of the people that do escape the tunnel of cover letters and phone interviews with a job offer in hand, some will leave learning the salary is too low, the commute too long or the hours too rigid... And so, the process begins again.
If the job hunt isn’t a series of trials and errors, then I don’t know what is. Interviews don’t pan out, emails go unanswered, and the ego takes some punches along the way.
But I can tell you this: get through the yuckiness of it all and things can turn out great. The best job hunts take you through a few obstacles. As a career coach, I’ve just about seen them all. The good news is there are ways you can get around them.
The job hunt takes you down a two-way street. You want to show a company that your skills match their needs, but you also want to determine whether they can meet yours. As you gather more information about what the position entails, you’ll develop a better idea of whether it fits your requirements. The sooner you determine this, the better, but sometimes you won’t know until after you’re offered an interview or, in some cases, during the interview.
Hiring managers appreciate honesty, especially when it saves them time. If you’re certain you don’t want the position, politely decline the interview. Keep your message vague and leave room for future opportunities by thanking the company for their time and consideration. If you like the company but don’t like the role, consider asking if they have any other positions available in an area that matches your core skill set – the company might latch onto your enthusiasm and find a spot for you in a different department.
If things go a little too well, you may find yourself with a job offer from one company while waiting on a response from another. This puts you in a tough position. Companies looking to fill a role as soon as possible may not give you extra time to make a decision. On the other hand, if you’re waiting to hear back from a company you love, cutting the job hunt early for a previous offer may hold you back from the position you really want.
It's important to remember that companies tend to want to hire new candidates as quickly as possible. Filling an open position costs employers an average of $4,129 and takes 42 days – time and money they could save by shortening their hiring process. If a company has already expressed their interest by offering you a job interview, explain the situation and communicate your interest to work for them over your other options. You can’t expect them to upend their entire hiring just to accommodate your situation, but if you’re a favored candidate, they may be willing to make some changes. At the very least, reach out with an email or phone call and ask if there’s a typical time frame when you can expect to hear back.
Whether it comes from a Tinder date or a hiring manager, getting ghosted leaves you in an ambiguous and awkward situation. As hard as it can be to determine the next right step, don’t waste your energy ruminating. If the hiring manager didn’t give you a timeline for a response, consider following up with an email or phone call a week later.
That being said, it’s normal to not receive a response for a couple weeks after an interview. On average, a company takes 24 business days to respond, though this varies by industry. Companies in tech and manufacturing may give candidates a job offer in as few as 16 business days, while companies in the hospitality and recreational industry generally take around 40 days before giving a response.
If you still don’t get a response after a month, consider other ways to approach the company. Express your interest to employees by asking to set up informational interviews. Ask what their company looks for in a new hire, as this may lead to conversations and connections that get your foot in the door. In particular, try to network with people you find who have associations with you, such as the same college alma mater; this increases the likelihood that your cold networking will get a response.
If the company seems unresponsive from multiple angles, then it’s time to move on. Think about it. Do you really want to work at a company with leadership or human resources that don’t have the time or consideration to respond to your inquiries?
Finally, there’s a growing demand in the workforce for more salary transparency. According to a study by Adzuna, 28% of people cite a lack of salary transparency as their biggest frustration while searching for jobs. It’s not difficult to understand why. According to the same study, 54% of job seekers declined a job-offer when they found out the salary.
No one wants to spend hours applying for jobs that don’t even fall within their needed range of compensation. But with just 3% of companies transparent about their salaries, odds are you’ll have to go into a few interviews without much information on the compensation range. Limit your frustration in advance by researching the typical pay range for that particular position. Websites like Glassdoor and Salary.com give estimates for jobs based on position, location, and company and can provide a ballpark range of an expected salary.
Every job hunt has its obstacles. The key is to pivot — and then keep going.