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How Long Should It Take to Get A Job?

How long should it take for unemployed workers to find a job?

Isaac Klein is the CEO of Home Office Careers and NGM Media LLC. As an internet entrepreneur, Isaac is always creating innovative ways to better help people and businesses. In his spare time he enjoys; being with family, playing sports and helping several charitable organizations.

Finding a job takes longer than most job seekers think. With millions of Americans unemployed and millions more under-employed, one of the most common concerns job seekers have is how long it will take for them to become employed. The duration of unemployment and the time it takes to search jobs, go through the hiring process and then start working can be quite lengthy. A job search can take more time depending on many factors such as the jobs industry, the state of the economy (is job growth contracting or increasing), the type of job and the amount of income you require. The reality is, there is no exact amount of days it will take to find a job because there are too many factors involved, but what I have done in this report is review some recent research and opinions from top online publications, to give you are a general idea of what you, the job seeker should expect for the amount of time it should take you to find a job.

Duration of Unemployment varies greatly especially during times of economic recession where searching jobs becomes much more difficult. But in general, based on data from the US labor department and several other top sources, a job seeker can expect to take 3 to 6 months to get a job. Unfortunately, almost a third of unemployed workers will stay without a job for more than a year. To avoid the dreaded long-term unemployment, which is to be without a job for more than 27 weeks, it’s essential that job seekers follow what I call the 3 “P’s”; Proactive, Perseverant & Patient. Following this strategy will help keep job seekers on track to finding a job sooner than later.


Unemployed vs Under-employed

This article is about the duration of unemployment and the expected time it could take to get a job, therefore it’s important to recognize there is a lot of under-employment which is not being measured the way unemployment is. Under-employment is where a person goes from the unemployed list, to either off that list because of the length of their unemployment duration, or because they have off-the-books, freelance employment. The government wants to show job growth and a reduction in the unemployment statistics, so they have a clever way of not counting unemployed people after a certain point of time. Unemployment benefits only last so long, and once a worker ceases to receive these benefits they may not appear to be unemployed any further. Plus many unemployed people might have only re-gained partial employment and this does not make them fully employed the way that government data might reflect. So, as you go through this article, keep in mind, that the unemployment numbers herein are only a reflection of the countable unemployed persons and does not fully reflect the state of under-employment in our economy.


State of the Economy

Economic conditions are perhaps the most important indication for how long you will be unemployed. The state of the economy plays a critical factor for duration of unemployment. If the US economy is contracting and employers are laying off a lot of people across many industries – it can be a good indication that your unemployment is economy based and not particular to you or your employer. As an article from said; “It isn’t how many hours they worked at their old job, or what industry they came from, or even their level of education. It’s bad timing.” made a strong correlation between the unemployment rate and the amount of time it will take to get hired. They found that as the national unemployment rate increases the amount of time you can expect to be unemployed dramatically increases as well. In fact, only a 1% increase in the unemployment rate leads to 35% increase in the chances that job seekers will remain unemployed for more than 1 year! The report found that workers who lost their jobs during the 2009 economic downturn were 4 times more likely to be unemployed for more than a year than workers who lost their jobs in 2007, only two years prior during a more stable economy.


How long should it take for unemployed workers to find a job?


It will take longer than you think

How long will it take for the typical unemployed worker to find a job? According to a Workopolis report, it will take an average of 16 weeks to get a job. That’s four months on average, assuming it’s a typical average person’s job, not a niche position or a job that might require a huge salary. Keep in mind, this does not factor in economic conditions such as recessions or geo political activity that could be putting downward pressure on the job market or other extraneous factors.

Time Magazine’s Money published an article about How long it really takes to get a job, and they start the article by saying, “For a job applicant, the path to getting an offer can seem endless.” I thought this kind of summed it up, at, we hear things like this all the time form job seekers, and that’s normal. Finding a job, can become a job of if you’re not looking in the right places or following a sensible strategy to gain employment. Even when doing all the right things when it comes to trying to get hired, you should expect the process to find, apply, interview and then start a new position, to be a multi-month ordeal.

Marc Miller of Career Pivot, wrote a great article in LinkedIn about how long it takes to get a new job. As a professional recruiter Marc is frequently asked, “How long will my job search take?” He says, his answer is always the same; “It depends, but probably longer than you think”. Marc works with very experienced professionals, so the positions his clients are searching for are more niche, higher salary and highly competitive. Three months is considered very fast to get hired and Marc honestly advises his clients that in reality, they should expect the job search process to take 6 months to 2 years. Obviously there are many factors which affect this from one job seeker to the next, but it gives a good sense of the time expectation a worker should have when pursuing a new job as an experienced professional.

There is no exact amount of time it should take to get a job, there are simply too many variables that factor into employment. But, on average, a job seeker should expect it to take between 3 and 6 months for a typical position. Knowing this fact, should make it easier to understand why it might feel like ‘forever’ when day after day your time is spent searching jobs and filling out applications.


You have a lot of Competition

Job seekers can have a hard time understanding why it takes months to get a job and years in almost one out of three people. The biggest reason that it takes so long to get hired, is because there are a lot of other people who also want the job. Competition is fierce for good jobs and employers have thousands of applicants to choose from frequently. According to Time’s Money article, the average employer receives 59 applications for a single job opening. This is a just an overall average across all industries; it does not even begin to show how in-demand some positions are, especially good work from home jobs. Here at, when we recently posted a job opening for a customer service agent, we received over 200 applications in the first week. While we painstakingly reviewed every last resume, I assume most employers would not and that can be very frustrating for applicants that invest a lot of time and energy into each position they apply to.


The Hiring Process Can be Lengthy

Kimmel & Associates wrote a great article about how long the hiring process takes after you have applied to a job. The article provides ten stages that employers go through before they finally hire a candidate. This is useful for job seekers that may not fully understand or appreciate what a hiring manager needs to go through before being able to offer the job to a candidate. It’s always useful to see the other perspective or what it’s like for the hiring managers to pick their best candidate amidst so much competition and so many applications for employment. Probably the best lesson that can be learned here was that too many employers take too much time to hire, and this is inefficient for all parties, so it’s best for job seekers to keep looking and applying to positions until they are officially hired. Understanding the ten stages of hiring also makes one think, how could a person get hired in less than 3 months? It makes 6 months seem more reasonable.


Do work from home jobs take longer to get?

How long does it take to get a work from home job? Does it take longer than an onsite job? The responses to these questions are also dependent on many factors and cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. The responses to these questions will also change over time, but based on all the data I have to date, I can say that on average it will take more time to get a work from home job. The reason for this, is because of the 2015 Employment Report that we did here at Home Office Careers last November. In the research report we found that two-thirds of hiring managers have a more difficult time hiring work from home candidates. The main cause is because most work from home interviews are done over the phone. Virtual hiring is more difficult than traditional onsite hiring. We all know you can learn a lot more about a candidate when meeting face to face than you can over the phone.

Work from home jobs are more sought after than traditional jobs, so logically where there is more demand there will be higher competition for the existing positions and that would make the finding job process take longer. However, two thirds of work from home offers are for part time employment. Part time jobs without benefits are easier to hire than full time with full benefits jobs.   An employer is less stringent or worried when hiring a freelancer or part time employee because the company’s financial risk is substantially less and the employer can more easily terminate a part time remote worker than an onsite employee in most cases. Ultimately, the only way to really know, is to start searching and find out, because it will be different for everyone.


Don’t get frustrated, think long run – big picture

In 2010, 4.5 million Americans had been unemployed for more than a year. In 2014 this number dropped to about 2.5 million workers unemployed for more than full year. Needless to say, the frustration for these job seekers must have been unbearable. I know what it’s like to be unemployed; I am fortunate enough today to be self-employed, but I have had many months in my life without work, when I was trying very hard to gain employment. Fortunately, I was never without work for a year, even going a few months without work, when you’re trying to get a job is a true life challenge. But, the best advice I can give from my own experiences in life, from my knowledge as CEO of and from the data I have researched – and my advice is follows: You have to be patient and try to see the big picture.

Seeing the big picture or having a long term outlook, is essential for a job seeker. Every worker should know what they want to do, what they can do and then pursue their best opportunities with these two directives. The reason having a long run approach to finding a job is so important is because it will set you on the path to career success. While you may not have the prefect or dream job your first time at it, you will want to work your way towards that dream job through the jobs you take getting there. In other words, build your career, work your way up a field or an industry, and don’t just take gig after gig, simply to earn a paycheck. If you want to have a fulfilling career with meaning that you enjoy, then you need to start by directing your life towards your career goals.

Stay the course and don’t give up so easily is another necessity for being a long run career success. Knowing where you are going is essential, but getting there, or getting the job is challenging and that’s why you need to have separate and realistic goals for how you are going to get your chosen career. All to often, as CEO of, do I see will intended job seekers give up applying for jobs in an industry because after less than 1 month, they didn’t get hired. Having a reasonable expectation and understanding the statistics is critical, otherwise, like many of these uniformed job seekers I see, they quit before they even had the chance to get hired.


Duration of Unemployment

If you ever feel frustrated by the length of your job search and feel like there is no hope, think again, you need to realize that it takes time to get a job and if you really want one, you need to keep trying. While you may feel like arguing my opinion, which you are welcome to at the bottom of this article, you cannot argue the statistics. Here is the data regarding persons by duration of unemployment, by the absolute authority; The US Bureau of Labor Statistics. See the chart below where I have yellow highlighted 3 areas. What these 3 highlighted areas mean is that in January 2016, 25.9% of unemployed people have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks. In other words, about a quarter of unemployed people have been unemployed for more than 6 months’ time. The data also show that the approaching half of unemployed workers, roughly 40%, are unemployed for three to four months on average. Some lucky job seekers, or roughly 30%, are fortunate enough to get hired in less than five weeks.


How long should it take for unemployed workers to find a job?


Long Term Unemployment

When the unemployment rate in America is in a healthy 4%-6% range, the chances of an unemployed worker to fall into the dreaded “long term unemployment” category are at about 2%-3%. However, increase the unemployment rate by 50% to around, 6% – 9% range, and your chances of being long term unemployed leap to about 7%-8%. So a 50% increase in the unemployment rate leads to a tripling or about a 300% increase in the chances of being long-term unemployed.

Economic conditions are not the only reasons behind long-term unemployment. Some people are just unlucky and fall into the unfortunate 30% of unemployed workers that go beyond a year without work. Some of these people are willingly or somewhat happy to be receiving unemployment benefits and are in no hurry to find a job. But, some people who very much want to work, are unable to find a job. Common causes for this are a lack of experience or the applicant is not targeting the right types of jobs based on their qualifications and skills.


Speeding up the job search

The majority of job seekers will apply to over 10 jobs before they get hired. This is a broad indication of applicants and will vary greatly by industry. Some industries, like healthcare or retail and food services industries have a shorter hiring process and that enables workers in these industries to get hired faster and have a shorter duration of unemployment. One the reasons for this is because these industries have fewer applicants than other common fields of employment. For example, a restaurant might have twenty applicants for a waiter position, which can be filled within a week or two. Whereas a work from home data manager’s position that pays around the same as the waiter, might receive 400 applications and take a few months to complete the hiring process. Some job seekers that are having no luck getting interviews in a particular field might be advised to look into similar but other fields where there is less competition for a position. As the job seeker you will not know if the jobs you have applied to have few or many other applicants, but if it’s an online job with broad appeal, you can just about bet there will be hundreds of other people interested in the job.

To speed up the job search, at we recommend to our job seekers to apply to as many positions as you can that meet your qualifications and interests. The more jobs you apply to, the more likely you are to get an interview and take that next step towards gaining employment. Remember to follow up on your applications after one to two weeks to help yourself stand out as a top applicant and at a minimum stand out among the hundreds of other applicants.


Not hearing back from employers

We all know how bad employers can be at not responding to job applications, not even to give an affirmation of receipt so you can at least know if the employer received your application to begin with. But what can be even more surprising, is that 44% of employers don’t even have the courtesy to respond to candidates they have interviewed. A report from Workopolis shows that only about a quarter of employers reply to candidates within a week of their interview. Needless to say, don’t expect employers to be polite and thoughtful when it comes to your application or even after you have interviewed. The best way to approach these reclusive or overworked employers is to follow up with them.

Following up with employers after 1-2 weeks of your application or within a few days of an interview is highly recommended. The exact amount of time to follow up will depend, but in general it’s a good idea. Not all employers will be receptive to these follow ups. While this is not the norm, do take note that if the employer specifically asks applicants not to contact them directly for follow ups, then don’t do it. Failure to follow basic instructions from the employer is a surefire way annoy the very busy hiring manager and to lose consideration for employment with that organization.


How long should it take for unemployed workers to find a job?


Common Job Seeker Mistakes

The most common mistakes we see job seekers make here are; giving up too soon, not having a plan, not seeing the big picture, having a quick buck mentality, not being career oriented and without sense of continuity or the long term. Perhaps a better way of summing that up would be to say short-sightedness is the most common mistake.

We have seen job seekers, and I am not exaggerating, start and quit the job search process the same day when pursuing careers. We have repeatedly seen unemployed people get frustrated and throw in the towel, not days, but hours into their search. We know that it takes the average person somewhere between 3 and 6 months to get a job, and yet some people are so confused or misled when it comes to finding a job that they give up too easily. While these examples are of the most extreme cases of impatience, it’s much more common that we see job seekers give in after applying to just a few jobs. Again, same problem – we know that on average a person needs to apply to over 10 jobs before they get hired, then why a person would give up after applying to 2 or 3 jobs, it just doesn’t make sense, but that’s what some people do.


Demographic & Discrimination Factors

Your age, your experience level and your background have been found to have an influence on how long you may be searching for a job. It should come as no surprise that younger and less experienced workers have a more difficult time gaining employment. But also older workers are having an even tougher time finding a job and this is likely due to age discrimination. Unfortunately, minorities, woman and immigrants will tend to have longer periods of unemployment than white, middle aged males on average. While I could discuss the many variable and factors that lead to these inequities which lead to discrimination, I will skip this subject, because it is with my deepest sincere hope that America will soon be a place where there is zero employment discrimination and the duration of a person’s unemployment will only be a factor unrelated to one’s age, gender or racial background. If you feel that you are at risk of some form of discrimination that could lessen your chances of employment then we highly urge you to look for a work from home job where you are much less likely to have any issues.


You Need to be ‘In It To Win It’

You can’t get a job without applying to positions, just like the lottery expression, “you need to be in it to win it.” In other words, you can’t win the lottery without buying a ticket and you can’t get a job without being proactive to get one. It is essential that job seekers stay persistent and proactive until they have work. But, it does not end there for workers, if you want to get your dream job, or be available when a better opportunities comes up, you’ll need to make yourself, visible and able to apply to these offers whenever they might be available. You don’t know when your better opportunity is around the corner – that’s impossible to know. So all you, the job seeker, need to do, is continuously have your resume available for recruiters and hiring managers to find, and for you to regularly check online once or twice per week while employed. This technique and strategy for employment will ensure you stay ahead of your competition and avoid that dreaded long-term unemployment possibility.

The Huffington Post had an interesting article about How Long Does it Take to Get a Job. But, this article was not your typical data report on the matter, rather a cute anecdote about a lady named Ashley who found a job in 4 days, or was it really 20 years? Ashley was a member of a community for 20 years in her industry, she found a job after only 4 days, but this was due to her being visible and proactive in her community for the 20 preceding years. So, the point of the story is, you need to put in your time and be available, visible for good things to happen for you when you need them, like they did for Ashley in this story.

Employers are hiring more Home Office Workers on a steady and continual basis. While many traditional industries have slow-to-stagnant growth, the work from home industry which includes all categories of work that can be performed remotely from a home computer. Also, unemployed workers should consider finding Part Time Employment while they continue to search for a new job. About two thirds of work from home positions are for part-time employment and they are a great way to start or supplement income around a flexible schedule.


Referrals and Networking

Networking is an awesome tool that every job seeker should use. Allegedly 80% of hiring is through a referral or the result of some form of networking. While networking and referrals are a great channel for people that are good at networking, the rest of us should be more proactive in searching and applying for jobs. I feel that the percentage of jobs found through referrals and networking is very high, and this is because so many job seekers give up applying online and then come to rely on a referral to find work. In other words, many job seekers start off applying to positions they find online, but after a few don’t work out, as to be expected, they give up and resort to friends and family helping them through referrals. The amount of jobs found through searching would be dramatically higher, if job seekers understood the data and knew to continue and not give up so easily and hence come to rely on the referral for a job.


Proactive, Persistent & Patient

The 3 P’s being Proactive, Persistent and Patient are essential for helping job-seekers gain employment. This strategy I refer to as the 3 P’s is a reminder for those searching for a job, to be mindful of the process and what it takes to land a good job.

Being proactive is the first and most important step for finding work. If you are not proactive, which refers to the searching of jobs, applying for jobs and following up on applications, then it’s very hard to start a job. Proactive is the action of doing when it comes to finding positions and then getting hired. But, being proactive by itself will only help roughly a third of job seekers that get hired in their first 5 weeks of looking, but for everyone else, they will also need persistence and patience.

Persistence is critical for getting a job in a competitive market or in a recession. The average job takes 3 to 6 months to start, having persistence to push you through this long process is key to not giving up and continuing to apply to positions until someone hires you. It goes without saying, job seekers must try to find patience when searching for employment. This can be really hard, when you need a job, it’s stressful and frustrating to not be able to work when you want to be able to. Learning and building patience is a life skill that helps in most channels and aspects of your life, both personal and professionally.


In The End, to answer the question, “How long should it take to get a job?” I would say it’s up to you, the state of economy and your competitors. While the average job takes between 3 and 6 months to start, job seekers should prepare to be proactive and persistent for months if needed to gain employment. Patience is a must for career professionals that understand good things take time to come by and employers can’t rush the hiring process for many industries. Economic conditions like recessions can have an exponential effect on the duration of unemployment and push more than a third of unemployed workers into a dreaded long-term unemployment statistic.

For job seekers to stay ahead of changing economy and avoid periods of lost earnings, I encourage them to always be searching for jobs even after you gain employment. Whether you are searching for supplemental income or a better opportunity, staying involved in the process and keeping yourself visible in your industry is highly recommended. Successful workers have a long run perspective on their careers and understand that it takes weeks to months to start a job, so having the right expectation and plan is very important from the start of your job search.

Please share your job search experiences with me below in the comments, I look forward to reading them.

8 Responses to “How Long Should It Take to Get A Job?”

  1.' Kim says:

    I’ve been a stay at home mom for thirteen years. I have a college degree and I cannot find a job.

    • Isaac Klein says:

      Hi Kim,

      I would recommend you create your free basic profile, and then search through our jobs and when you are ready to apply, you will need to upgrade to premium membership. Also, included in the premium membership is our Job Concierge and Career Guidance Services which are personalized support services.

      To get started, go to our Sign-Up page or home page to learn more.

  2.' Ashley says:


    • Isaac Klein says:

      Hello Ashley,

      We have hundreds of screened work from home positions waiting to be filled by online candidates like you.

      I would recommend you create your free basic profile, and then search through our jobs and when you are ready to apply, you will need to upgrade to premium membership.

      Thanks for commenting

  3.' Denielle says:

    I don’t agree with your 3-6 months. My husband has been looking for a job for a year and has placed over 100 resumes and has received 2 calls for interviews and then never receives a call back from the company. The job market is ridiculous and the methods of applying are very unhelpful to people seeking.

    • Isaac Klein says:

      Hello Denielle,

      I understand how you feel, the job market can be very frustrating and I hope your husband can start work soon.

      Getting hired does depend on a candidate to candidate basis and what we have seen here at Home Office Careers, is that some job seekers find better luck getting a job when trying different opportunities or industries, it’s always good to be flexible when job searching and avoid the major employment websites because they are over saturated with candidates.

      Thanks for commenting

  4. Looking for recruiting position I can do from home.I have 20+ years in recruiting and staffing in management, professional, manufacturing and non-profit.

    • Isaac Klein says:

      Please begin by registering on our sign up page and then start searching for jobs using the category filters on the left margin of the page.

      Good Luck and thank you for commenting

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