How long does it take Canadians to get hired for a new job? On average it takes 16 weeks, an in-depth job market study by the team at Workopolis found. Here’s a look at what goes on during those four months and how you can reduce the time it takes to get hired for your next job.
The job hunt is no easy feat and employers understand that, but you shouldn’t let your high-level candidacy be spoiled by an email sent four hours after your interview.
Thousands of Canadians responded to the survey asking how long it took them to land their most recent job, how many applications they sent out, and how many interviews they conducted. As well, the company analyzed data from more than three million resumés in its database and the tens of thousands of job postings on its website for detailed insights into job market and hiring trends.
How long it takes people to find a new job can vary widely by region and industry, of course, but for most people (50 per cent) the survey found it is roughly four months — slightly less time than reported last year by Statistics Canada. At that time, they found that the Canadian average duration of unemployment was 20.6 weeks.
The majority of respondents to the survey had to submit 10 job applications and conduct two job interviews to secure employment. However, nearly 30 per cent of people said they had to perform five or more interviews before being hired for their most recent job.
On average, only two per cent of applicants for a job are chosen for an interview, primarily because the screening software companies increasingly used to filter applications automatically rejects those that don’t contain the relevant keywords for the position. Of those that make it through the filters, most are only scanned for fewer than 11 seconds before either being shortlisted or passed over. Eighty per cent don’t make that initial cut.
Following are some tips for surviving that 11 second scan:
Be qualified Employers report that upward of 50 per cent of resumés they read are from candidates who do not meet the basic qualifications for the job. Job postings sometimes contain a wish list of skills, so it may not be necessary to have 100 per cent of those. Just make sure you have the skills and abilities to make a significant contribution to the role before applying. Then write a resumé that demonstrates specifically how you can do this.
Have an optimized resumé title A scan of Workopolis’s resumé database turns up many thousands of resumés with generic titles such as Resumé, C.V., or Curriculum Vitae. That’s a waste of valuable real estate. Your resume should be titled the name of the job you are applying for or how you best describe your career.
It’s not about you Don’t open with a wordy objective paragraph describing what you are looking for in your career. Instead, start with a skills summary of what you can offer employers.
Make it easy toscan Use short sentences and bullet-point lists for maximum readability. It’s hard to find information quickly in large blocks of text. If an employer finds it difficult to locate the information they’re looking for, there’s a good chance they’ll move on to the next resumé.
Chronological job history Supply this information with clear start and end dates in a consistent format in reverse chronological order. Employers consistently say the first thing they want to see in a resumé scan is where a candidate has worked, what they did on the job, and how their career has progressed.
Proofread This isn’t new but bears repeating. An obvious spelling mistake or typo will get your resumé rejected in less than 11 seconds.
Your resume has one job to do: convincing employers they want to meet you. Attention to detail and customization go a long way.
If 11 seconds seems like a short time to spend on the resumé you may have spent hours polishing, consider that job interviews can be won or lost in the first four seconds, which is how long it takes us to decide four crucial things about a person: Are you safe? Do I like you? Do I trust you? Who do you remind me of?
If you remind the interviewer of the bully who picked on him in high school, you could be starting off on the wrong foot. However, since the average job interview is 40 minutes long, it leaves you with 39 minutes and 56 seconds to recover from any negative association.
Make eye contact and smile when you greet the interviewer. A professional hand shake should last two to four seconds — just long enough to say, “Hi. Nice to meet you.”
The Workopolis survey found 24 per cent of applicants heard back from the employer within a week of their most recent interview; 42 per cent of those respondents heard back within the first two weeks. However, 44 per cent of respondents said they never heard from the employer.
This is poor strategy on the employer’s part. Any time a company can interact with a candidate is an opportunity to enhance the perception of their brand. People may be disappointed if they are not hired, but if they feel they’ve been slighted or poorly treated by a company, they can become vocal detractors of its brand.
One last tip: The highest volume of job postings go online at about 11:00 am on Tuesdays. The greatest amount of applications come in at around 2:00 pm the same day. So, to get your resumé on top of the pile ahead of the competition be ready to apply between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm on Tuesdays.
Peter Harris is the editor-in-chief at Workopolis.