What to Ex­pect: The Re­cruit­ment Process Timeline

The Washington Post Sunday - - JOBS -


Wait­ing. It’s one of the worst words to any job can­di­date, the con­cept of sit­ting there in an­tic­i­pa­tion of what’s go­ing to hap­pen. How long will it take to hear back from a re­sume sub­mis­sion? How much time should you give the process be­fore fol­low­ing up with a re­cruiter or hir­ing man­ager? What hap­pens af­ter the in­ter­view? The con­cept of wait­ing with all of those things un­known can be mad­den­ing to any­one for whom the out­come — gain­ful em­ploy­ment — can mean ev­ery­thing.

With that in mind, here are a few sim­ple guide­lines to fol­low when it comes to the tim­ing of the re­cruit­ment process. Please bear in mind that ev­ery com­pany is dif­fer­ent, so the amount of ef­fort and time for each could be en­tirely dif­fer­ent. But let this serve as a gen­eral rule of thumb for your re­cruit­ment process and how to make the most of the time you’re in­vest­ing in find­ing a new role:


What’s hap­pened: You’ve found a great role, and you’ve sub­mit­ted your cre­den­tials and cover let­ter in hopes of be­ing con­sid­ered.

Tim­ing: 2 weeks

Be­hind the scenes: Most of the time, there will be hun­dreds of ap­pli­cants ap­ply­ing via job boards and var­i­ous re­cruit­ing sources. Even if you’ve man­aged to send your re­sume di­rectly to the re­cruiter or hir­ing man­ager, it takes a while to sort through those sub­mis­sions. Many job boards have key­word searches that help bub­ble those re­sumes which closely match the cri­te­ria needed, so

be­fore sub­mit­ting make sure to cap­ture the key words in the job post in your re­sume for a higher chance of be­ing se­lected.

What to do: Con­tinue to look for other po­si­tions. If you have the re­cruiter’s e-mail, fol­low up no more than once about seven days af­ter sub­mis­sion.


What’s hap­pened: Con­grat­u­la­tions! You’ve been se­lected for an in­ter­view! Whether by phone or in per­son, this is a step in the right di­rec­tion. You’re on your way. Tim­ing: 1 week - 1 month

Be­hind the scenes: Re­cruiters have a lot of co­or­di­na­tion to do when set­ting up in­ter­views. Even if it’s a phone in­ter­view with them, there are a lot of mov­ing cal­en­dar items that have to be man­aged. If it’s an ac­tual in­ter­view with the staff in­ter­nally, all those cal­en­dars have to be se­cured, and that can be tricky with high-level ex­ec­u­tives and busy staff.

What to do: Con­tinue to seek other po­si­tions, but also get pre­pared to put your best face for­ward. Do your home­work on the com­pany, re­cent news, your own re­sume and job ex­pe­ri­ences, and fa­mil­iar­ize your­self with the job de­scrip­tion and how your ex­pe­ri­ence makes you a top can­di­date for the role.


What’s hap­pened: You’ve in­ter­viewed for the po­si­tion, and you’re wait­ing to hear back about next steps.

Tim­ing: 1-3 weeks

Be­hind the scenes: In­ter­view feed­back gath­er­ing can also be a slow process when work­ing with lots of in­ter­view­ers, and there may be a re­quest for you to in­ter­view a few more times with other mem­bers of the team. Although the pas­sion to fill the po­si­tion is there, the due dili­gence that it takes to make the right se­lec­tion some­times takes longer than most com­pa­nies would like.

What to do: Send thank you e-mails or letters to the re­cruiter and ev­ery­one you meet within 24 hours of ev­ery in­ter­view, ex­press­ing in­ter­est (if you are in­deed in­ter­ested.) You should only fol­low up with the re­cruiter weekly if you’ve not heard any­thing. If three weeks pass, and you’ve not heard any­thing, it’s safe to as­sume that there’s a longer de­lay with the hir­ing process, or you may not be se­lected. Con­tinue your search while you wait.


What’s hap­pened: You’ve been told you’re not a fit for the po­si­tion.

Tim­ing: 1-3 weeks

Be­hind the scenes: The in­ter­viewer(s) have de­ter­mined that you’re not a fit for the role.

What to do: Be gra­cious and take the news with pos­i­tiv­ity. If you’re in­ter­ested in work­ing for this em­ployer, em­pha­size your de­sire to be con­sid­ered for other roles. If you’re dis­in­ter­ested, be kind and thank them for their time, and con­tinue your job search.


What’s hap­pened: Con­grat­u­la­tions! You’ve been ex­tended an of­fer!

Tim­ing: 1-3 weeks

Be­hind the scenes: Even af­ter you’ve been made the of­fer, there will be a lot of mov­ing parts. If you counter the of­fer, ap­provals have to be gained to amend the orig­i­nal of­fer. If and when you ac­cept, all your pa­per­work has to be gen­er­ated, your start date has to be se­cured, and any num­ber of op­er­a­tional de­tails will need to be man­aged.

What to do: Cease your job search once the of­fer has been ac­cepted, and pre­pare to start your first day with your new em­ployer. Be sure to sign and re­turn all pa­per­work prop­erly and com­plete on­board­ing as­sign­ments in an ex­pe­di­ent man­ner.

Whether you’re just start­ing your job search, or you’ve been at this for a while, rest as­sured that while the hir­ing process does take time, it’s well worth it in the end. With a lit­tle pa­tience and per­se­ver­ance, you’ll be in your next role in no time at all. Best of luck! Rita Tre­han is a free­lance writer who cov­ers global HR lead­er­ship and busi­ness growth. @Ri­ta_Tre­han

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