Navigating the Maze of Job Offers: Why It Takes Time was originally published on Ivy Exec.
In the world of job hunting, patience is indeed a virtue.
You’ve submitted your meticulously crafted application materials or aced that crucial interview, and now you’re eagerly awaiting the response from the hiring manager. We all wish for a swift reply, but the reality is often more complex than our aspirations.
According to data from Indeed, the reality is that only a fortunate four percent of job candidates receive that coveted response within a mere day. For most, a week-long waiting period is the norm (37 percent), while 44 percent find themselves in the extended waiting lounge, enduring weeks of anticipation.
Post-interview, the clock keeps ticking, and the waiting game continues. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), recent graduates can expect to receive a job offer on average 24 days after the interview. Glassdoor, meanwhile, shaves off a mere 0.2 days from that statistic, clocking in at an average of 23.8 days.
It’s perplexing. In a world of advanced hiring technologies and streamlined processes, why does it seem like we’re stuck in a perpetual job candidate limbo?
Let’s explore what the contemporary hiring process in 2023 entails.
☑ Holding Out for the “Perfect” Candidate
The job market dynamics have shifted significantly, with employers now holding the upper hand.
A staggering 72 percent of senior managers report receiving more job applications post-COVID-19 in 2020. In the quest for perfection, some employers are waiting patiently until they find applicants who tick all, or at least most, of the skill and qualification boxes.
However, this trend can sometimes lead to less respectful treatment of candidates. When there’s an abundance of job seekers, companies may resort to ghosting or “breadcrumbing” applicants. Breadcrumbing involves providing occasional updates about a position without a clear timeframe, leaving candidates hanging in suspense.
☑ The Unseen Length of the Process
If you’re among the initial candidates to be interviewed, brace yourself for a potentially lengthy journey.
You might be one of the early contenders in a long lineup of interviews, and coordinating these sessions with the hiring manager and key personnel can take several weeks.
To add to the wait, some organizations are introducing second interviews to differentiate the cream of the crop further. Meanwhile, rigorous reference checks are underway, a time-consuming process that can be exacerbated during holiday breaks or vacation seasons.
Additionally, crafting the perfect job offer takes its own sweet time. Determining the compensation package and benefits often requires approval from multiple decision-makers. It’s also worth noting that the hiring manager may be simultaneously screening candidates for several open positions, which could affect the priority of your role.
☑ Screening Beyond the Surface
The lengthening of hiring timelines is partly due to companies deploying an array of tools to ensure the right fit for the position.
In an era where recruitment is increasingly about compatibility, organizations are investing time in thorough background checks, skills assessments, and personality tests as part of their vetting process.
Michael Smets, a management professor, explains, “Recruitment is expensive. Companies want to ensure they are not only getting the right people but also that they are the right company for those people. Recruiting individuals who leave shortly after due to dissatisfaction is a waste of time and money for all parties involved.”
☑ Estimates, Not Guarantees
It’s common practice for companies to provide estimated timelines to candidates.
However, these estimates are just that—estimates. Ideally, organizations aim to adhere to these timelines, but deviations can occur. In such cases, it’s prudent to consider whether you want to join an organization that doesn’t respect its deadlines.
Employers may miss their self-imposed deadlines for various reasons. They might have extended an offer to another candidate and are waiting for their response before concluding with other finalists. Internal changes or unexpected shifts within the company can also disrupt the original timeline.
The Silver Lining
A lengthy hiring timeline, when communicated respectfully, can be a positive sign.
Thoughtful decision-making benefits both the eventual hire and the organization. As Brent Smith, a professor of management and psychology, aptly puts it, “The more thoughtful the organization is in making decisions, the better the long-term outcome is going to be for both the applicant who gets hired and the organization.”
In the interim, while you await that awaited call, don’t sit idle. It’s entirely appropriate to reach out to your contact at the company ten days to two weeks after an interview. Furthermore, continue exploring other opportunities. After all, you can never be sure of a job until you have that formal offer in hand.
In the world of job hunting, where time seems to slow down, patience and proactivity are your greatest allies.
Keep your optimism alive, and you’ll find your way through the labyrinth of job offers.