Average Job Hunt Takes Five Months

by Tyler Schmall
Modern-day job hunters take five months on average to finally land a position, according to new research.
A study into the job-hunting experiences of 2,000 Americans examined exactly what people go through in the often-arduous process of securing employment.
Results showed the best part of half a year is now the average time taken to gain employment for those hunting from the point of first deciding to move or explore options to actually gaining new employment.
The fascinating new statistic emerged from a study by recruitment agency Randstad US discovering the “art of the job hunt” which was able to profile what the average modern job hunt looks like.
Those five months will include, on average, four different edited versions of a resumé, seven applications submitted, five job interviews attended, and four cover letters written. So it’s no surprise that 82 percent of Americans agree searching for a new job is a stressful experience.
The study also found that many Americans may be making some crucial interview and application mistakes.
Just 39 percent of Americans follow up every time after a job interview, with over one in ten (12 percent) saying they “rarely” follow up after a job interview.
It might be worth it to take some time to research the role, too. Thirty-eight percent of Americans, incredibly, said they’ve fully applied to a job without reading the description and requirements.
Not only that, Americans polled said they think they’d only actually enjoy working at less than half (42 percent) of the roles they apply for.
That might explain why the average American polled only felt 54 percent qualified for the last job they applied to, according to new research.
Getting a job interview is half the battle, so it’s important for job seekers to properly prepare for one. Half of Americans say they’ve done a job interview that they felt completely unprepared for, and 57 percent say they’ve had a job interview go poorly.
Nearly half (49 percent) have even gone in for an interview for a job they knew they weren’t qualified for.
Said Jodi Chavez, President, Randstad Professionals and Life Sciences : “Landing your dream job requires some self-reflection. Set aside quiet, uninterrupted time to write down your strengths and passions, as well as the skills you have mastered at this point in your career — both the soft skills, and the technical skills that are specific to your line of work. This will set you up for success in your search, as you can use the list to match keywords in job descriptions.”
Job interview questions was a hot topic of the study as well, with the question “What are your weaknesses?” being voted as the hardest question to answer during an interview.
“Why should I hire you?” came in second place, with the simple, but ironically difficult command “tell me about yourself” rounding out the top three.
Interview mistakes are all too common for potential job prospects, with nearly half (48 percent) pointing to nerves as a reason they screwed up during an interview.
Said Jodi Chavez, President, Randstad Professionals and Life Sciences: “Think of the interview as an opportunity be a salesperson, and only what you’re selling is yourself! And make no mistake, an interview is a performance. But fortunately, practice makes perfect. I always recommend role-playing with your recruiter, or a friend or family member. Prepare for how you would answer those tough questions that candidates tend to stumble on most often.”
One in four (23 percent) said they failed to research the job and company enough beforehand, and 21 percent said they got a key question wrong.
But perhaps a little help could go a long way during the “job hunt.” 78 percent of Americans agreed that they would benefit from help and guidance when looking for a new job.
Nearly half of all respondents (47 percent) also agreed that when it’s time to search for a new job, they have no idea where to even start.
THE AVERAGE “JOB HUNT” OF RESPONDENTS INCLUDED…
4 different edited versions of a resumé
7 seven applications submitted
5 job interviews attended
4 four cover letters written
5 months to find a new job
TOP 20 TOUGHEST JOB INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
What are your weaknesses?                                              31%
Why should I hire you?                                                      24%
Tell me about yourself.                                                       24%
Why do you want to work here?                                        23%
Tell me about the worst boss you ever had.                      21%
What are your strengths?                                                  20%
Describe yourself in three words.                                      19%
If you could turn back time and live your life over, what would you do differently? 18%
Describe a difficult situation or task that you had to deal with and how you did so.18%
What do you know about us?                                            17%
Why did you (or why do you want to) leave your current employer? 16%
How will you contribute to the team?                                 15%
What are your greatest accomplishments so far?             14%
In prior performance reviews, what were your opportunities for improvement? 13%
How do you think your coworkers would describe you?    11%
How do you define success?                                             11%
If you could change one thing about your last (current) job, what would it be? 11%
How do you think your bosses would describe you?        11%
Have you ever been fired?                                                11%
How do you feel about relocating?                                     9%
10 OF THE STRANGEST QUESTIONS PEOPLE WERE ASKED IN A JOB INTERVIEW
“Describe a lemon without using the words sour, yellowing, or fruit.”
“How is your closet organized?”
“How many stacked nickels would it take to reach the height of the Empire State Building?”
“If you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be?”
“If you could be an animal, what animal would you be and why?”
“If you were a cookie, what kind of cookie would you be?”
“They put a rock on the table and asked me to list as many uses for the rock as I could within one minute.”
“What do you want me to remember about you?”
“Why are manholes a circle?”
“If you could go back in time, what would you do and why?”
BIGGEST JOB INTERVIEW MISTAKES
Got too nervous                                  48%
Didn’t research the position/company enough  23%
Got a key question wrong                  21%
Acted too casual or arrogant             16%
Dressed too informally                      15%
Arrived late                                        14%
Dressed too formally                         12%
Used bad language (e.g. swore)        4%