NEW YORK — Landing the right job is a marathon, not a sprint, according to new research by recruitment agency Randstad. It is going to take most applicants quite a bit more time than a few days or weeks to find employment, a survey analyzing the job-hunting experiences of 2,000 Americans finds.
From the moment an individual decides to move on from their current position, or explore other employment options, it will take an average of five months before their first day at a new job, the survey shows.
During those five months, the average job seeker will create four different edited versions of their resume, submit seven applications, attend five in-person job interviews, and write four cover letters.
More than four in five (82%) of the study’s participants said looking for a job is a stressful experience.
The survey also reveals that many job hunters make a vital mistake after being interviewed. Two in five (39%) didn’t take the often crucial action of following up after a job interview in some way. Another 12% said they “rarely” follow up.
The survey’s results indicate an astounding level of apathy and ignorance to detail among applicants: 38% admitted they’ve applied to jobs without reading the description and requirements of the position. Furthermore, respondents admitted that they would probably only enjoy working at less than half (42%) of the jobs they’ve applied for. When those surveyed did apply, they felt they were only 54% qualified for their would-be role on average.
Past the application stage, job interviews also seem to be giving many job hunters problems. Half of all respondents reported attending a job interview that they were unprepared for, and 57% reported attending a job interview that went poorly.
When asked about difficult interview questions, respondents reported “What are your weaknesses?” as the hardest question to answer. Meanwhile, about half (48%) of those surveyed pointed to nervousness as the main reason why an interview may not go well.
“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,” says Jodi Chavez, president of Randstad Professionals and Life Sciences, in a statement. “This will set you up for success in your search, as you can use the list to match keywords in job descriptions.”
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.