Often it can seem like forever between applying for a job and being contacted by the prospective employer. Then, right when you’ve given up hope and assumed that the company is not interested, you get the call for an interview. With spirits lifted, you wait for the follow-up call. And wait, and wait, and WAIT.
So why does the hiring process take so long?
Unfortunately, a long waiting period after applying for a job is very common. In today’s job market, the hiring process can involve many steps. The company may have a lot of applicants and are spending time looking over resumes, calling and reviewing. Often approval is needed from multiple managers. Perhaps they have pursued one candidate, but now need to go back and interview others because the original candidate is no longer available or interested.
Another major stumbling block can be internal juggling of interview times and busy manager/interviewer schedules. Of course, reasons for delays can be different from company to company, but the unfortunate fact of the matter is that hiring today is an often complicated process that takes longer than we’d like it to. The larger the company, the more likely the process will take a long time.
In fact, from the time the company receives your application to the time they start calling candidates could range anywhere from one day to several weeks, or even several months. The entire hiring process from start to finish generally takes well over a month, and if there are multiple candidates and a comprehensive interview process, it could easily be several months before a decision is made.
You can help speed up the process and manage your expectations better when you’re prepared to address any and all issues that might pop up. Here are some tips for making the hiring process more efficient for you and potential employers:
- Ask about timelines and that company’s particular process. This may not speed things up, but at least it will help you understand what’s involved so you know what to expect and when to follow up.
- Prepare your references. Be sure to notify your references that they should be expecting a call and that this job is important to you. This is not only courteous, but will encourage your references to call back if they missed the reference-check call, or make themselves more available to take the call when it does come.
- Fill out the job application accurately and completely. Don’t hold up the process by making the recruiter request information that you should have included in the first place. An incomplete application may even be an automatic disqualifier for some recruiters who don’t want to waste time chasing applicants down for more information.
- Inform the prospective employer that you have other offers and need to make a decision soon. This only works after at least one interview, where you know you are a leading candidate. You also really do need to have other job offers to be able to say “I would really love to work for your company, but I’ve had another offer that I need to respond to by X date. Can you give me an idea of when you will make your decision?” Be careful how you word this to avoid any sign of arrogance on your part. Regardless of whether the answer’s positive or negative, an ultimatum may at least help you get an answer faster.
Regardless of the positions you’re applying for and the size of the prospective employers, be prepared to wait for a hiring decision. Yes, it’s annoying, uncomfortable, and even unnerving, but it’s the reality of applying for a job these days. Take comfort in the knowledge that if you’re prepared, positive, and flexible, you’ll be way ahead of many of the other candidates.