How Long Does It Take To Find a Job?

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How long does it take to get hired for a new job? The answer varies. Job seekers understandably would love to know how long it will take to find a position and resolve any uncertainty about their future employment.

The truth, though, is that it could take as little as a few days or, unfortunately, quite a bit longer. It depends on numerous factors, including the economy, the job market, whether you’re in a field in which there is high demand for workers, where you live, your qualifications, and the quality of your application.

Here’s information on how long it typically takes to get hired, factors that impact the process, and tips for speeding up a job search.

Key Takeaways

  • The average time to get hired for a new job depends on the economy, the job market, the geographic location, the job seeker’s qualifications, and the type of job they are seeking.
  • Reviewing survey data on the time it takes to get hired can give you an idea of how long it may take to find a new job, but everyone’s experience is different.
  • There are steps you can take to optimize your job search and speed up the hiring process.

The Average Time It Takes To Find a Job

Reports on how long it can take to get hired vary based on how the data is measured and reported. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report is based on unemployment, while Glassdoor’s data is based on the length of the interview process. Other reports are based on surveys of job seekers and employers. 

While each report measures something different, they can all give a sense of how long it may take you to secure your next position. 

It’s important not to expect to find a job within the time frames reported in survey data because getting hired is very much an individual endeavor, and many of the determining factors aren’t in your control. However, looking at the average time it takes to get hired can give you a better idea of what to expect when you begin a job search.

Unemployment Data

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gathers information on the length of time that workers are unemployed. For example, the data for July 2022 (seasonally adjusted) indicates that the median duration of unemployment at that time was 8.5 weeks, while 36.9% of workers were unemployed for less than 5 weeks, 31.7% were unemployed for over 15 weeks, and 18.9% of the unemployed were out of work for 27 weeks or longer.

Job Seeker Survey Data

A Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey published in January 2022 reports that 39% of respondents had been out of work for over a year, 27% had been unemployed for one to three months, and 10% had been unemployed for seven to nine months.

The majority (almost 80%) believed it would take between one and six months to find work, 43% believed it would take four to six months, and 8% thought it would take seven to 12 months to find another position.

Industry and Job Title

Glassdoor reports an average time frame of 23.8 days, from interview to job offer, based on interview review data. However, this varies by industry and job title, as the following examples illustrate:

Hiring Time Frame by Industry

  • Restaurants & Bars (10.2 days)
  • Private Security (11.6 days)
  • Supermarkets (12.3 days)
  • Government (53.8 days)
  • Aerospace & Defense (32.6 days) 
  • Energy & Utilities (28.8 days)

Hiring Time Frame by Job

  • Waiter (8.0 days)
  • Retail Representative (8.5 days)
  • Communications Specialist (42.5 days)
  • Business Systems Analyst (44.8 days)
  • Professor (60.3 days)

New College Graduates

The National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE) Recruiting Benchmarks Survey reports that in 2021, on average, the time span between a new college graduate's interviewing and receiving a notification of an offer was 24.5 days. For 2022, the hiring process was expected to take about 40 days.

Factors That Impact the Length of a Job Search

There are many factors that could speed up or slow down your job search. These include:

  • The overall state of the economy and the job market
  • Economic conditions and the availability of jobs in the job applicant's preferred location 
  • The job seeker's geographic flexibility 
  • The job seeker's flexibility in terms of job preferences (those exclusively seeking a type of job that is hard to land will likely have a longer job search)
  • The credentials of the job seeker and the level of demand for their skills
  • The amount of time and energy spent job searching
  • The quality of the applicant's job search materials, including resume and cover letters
  • The applicant's job search strategy, including their level of networking activity

Because there are so many variables that impact the length of time it takes to find work, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get hired as quickly as you might expect. 

Tips for Speeding Up the Job Search Process

The state of the economy and the job market, for example, are beyond your control, but some factors involved in a successful job search can be impacted by your choices. There are things you can do to try to speed up your job search process.

Job search regularly. The frequency with which you search for newly posted positions will affect how long your search lasts. Try hunting on a daily, or at least regular, basis. It will help you stay on top of the latest job postings.

Expand your network. Increase your level of networking activity through networking events, informational interviews, online networking, and more. You never know which new contact might get you the job.

Enhance key skills. You can also improve your chances of finding a job quickly by working to develop the skills that are most important for your industry. Try signing up for coursework, training, internships, or volunteer work to enhance your skills.

Be flexible in terms of job preferences. Similarly, if you are looking for a very specific type of job, it will likely take a while to find. Consider looking at related jobs or jobs that require a similar skill set.

Be open to different locations. If you live in an area that does not have many jobs in your industry (or if you live in an area where the job market is generally not great), your job search may take a while. If you are at all flexible in terms of where you work, try expanding your job search geographically. If you can look for jobs where your industry is booming, you’ll increase your chances of finding a position.

Seek assistance.​ Get advice about improving your marketability. You might also consider visiting a career counselor for more specific advice on speeding up your job search.

Try To Be Patient and Positive

You can be doing everything right and still have a time-consuming and lengthy job search. It may not be about you. Factors out of your control might still make your job search process a long one.

Even though it’s challenging, continue to search for jobs, and try to be patient. The right job for you will come along, and it will have been worth the wait.

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