In the ideal job search process, you'd be able to find the job you want, craft the perfect résumé, land an interview (and nail it), and get hired in under a week. Just long enough to keep you on your toes, but not so long that you start to feel a little hopeless. Unfortunately, getting hired just isn't that simple.
Even after all of the "pre-work" that some hirers are asking for (amounting to hours of homework for a job that isn't yet in the bag), the interview process itself can drag out for weeks. In fact, a new report from Glassdoor shows that average interview times around the world is around three weeks.
Glassdoor analyzed nearly 84,000 anonymous reviews from job seekers in 25 countries for 2017. There are many reason certain positions take longer to fill, from the season and time of year, to job titles and employee characteristics, to basic differences among the roles and companies. Previous research from Glassdoor has shown, though, that when all of these factors are controlled for, interview times have much more to do with labor market trends than individual differences.
"Put simply, the more difficult it is to hire and fire employees — and the more institutional and regulatory hurdles faced by hiring companies — the longer interview processes will generally be," writes Andrew Chamberlain, the chief economist at Glassdoor.
It might come as little surprise then, that the longest interview times were clustered in fields that are more regulated. In the U.S., the industry with the longest average interview process by far is government, at 53.8 days. Jobs in aerospace & defense, energy & utilities, and biotech & pharmaceuticals are also near the top at around 30 days. The shortest wait times by industry are: restaurants & bars (10.2 days), private security (11.6 days), supermarkets (12.3 days), and automotive (12.7 days).
As a result, locations in the United States that with a preponderance of jobs in certain industries boast the longest interview times. Plus, jobs in the service industry (which is less regulated), resulted in turnarounds under two weeks.
"Among U.S. cities, the slowest hiring processes are found in Washington, D.C. (33.2 days), home of many federal government agencies," Chamberlain writes. "The fastest hiring processes are found in Kansas City, Kansas (16.9 days), a hub for rail transportation, manufacturing and distribution."
If you work in the service sector full- or part-time, this may be reason to cheer. (As long as you're not let go of just as quickly...) For others, the findings might seem more grave, since how long an interview process takes is largely out of the job seeker's control.
The takeaway of these numbers may be that instead of stressing about the callbacks, do your best in the areas you actually have a say in when you are granted an interview.
"Don't rush the process and understand that all good things take time. Recruiters and hiring managers are trying to find the best person for the open role, so take advantage of that time to let them really get to know who you are, how you would deliver on business objectives and fit in with the company culture," advises MaryJo Fitzgerald, Glassdoor's community expert.
"Also, make sure you are paying attention to all instructions, and [that] you deliver resumes, references, writing samples or anything else they ask for on time."
After all, you don't want any hold-ups to be on your end, knocking you out of the running for any reason. She says that if a week has passed since your interview took place, and you still haven't heard back from HR or the hiring manager on the status of your application, you should feel free to send a light, professional email asking about next steps, or if the role has been filled.
Aside from that, keep looking, and keep your head up.