What to Expect When Applying for Jobs
Admittedly, the job search process is frustrating, especially if you feel like you are navigating the steps alone, or if you don't know what to expect. Ultimately, the type of job you are seeking can set the basic framework for what the hiring process will look like.
Companies that are on the forefront of hiring practices will utilize technology to make quick hiring decisions, so you can expect interviews on Google Hangouts, Skype, or Webex. These interviews are usually with companies that are using cutting-edge technology and have flexible work environments. However, most companies still believe in face-to-face interviews, with the all-inclusive package featuring a firm handshake, full eye contact, group interviews, and a tour of the work facility. If you are actively in the market for a new role, I recommend blocking off specific times on your calendar for interviewing. This includes times that you can take a phone call in a quiet place and also times to go onsite. Plan in advance so that when you're asked about your availability, you know exactly when you can interview.
Contract Roles (Small to mid-size companies)
Contract opportunities for small to mid-sized companies usually start with a recruiter who conducts a phone screen, reviews your experience, and submits your most recent resume from their organization directly to the client's hiring team. Usually, these submittals won't require you to provide any identifying information (like partial SSN or Birthday). You should expect to receive feedback in 48-72 hours. The hiring process usually takes 1-2 weeks to navigate. You can anticipate 2-3 rounds of interviews and should be prepared to take a technical assessment, which may be requested at any stage of the interview. Contract roles are perfect if you need to start work quickly, want to maximize cash flow, are looking to gain experience, or having hiring challenges.
Contract Roles (Large companies)
If your recruiter asks you for identifying information, such as the last 4 digits of your social or your date of birth, this usually means you are being submitted to a position for a company that has Managed Staffing in place. That means they have one company that manages all of the recruiting agencies submitting resumes to that large corporation. Your information is requested as a way to track your submittal and employment history with that organization. They use this information because it does not change like phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses do, and they avoid duplicate submittals this way. Despite the effort to reduce duplicate submittals, the hiring process takes much longer when routed through Managed Staffing, as there are many more layers of screening and a higher volume of candidates. You can expect it to take 2-4 weeks to navigate the hiring process, and usually 5-7 days before you hear feedback on your submittal. (There are, of course, exceptions to that rule). Usually, these are great roles for long-term contracts and contract-to-hire opportunities with some of the largest corporations in the business. Navigating this process successfully can lead to huge career growth, as they are usually recognizable names that add merit to your resume after extended tenure.
If you are being considered for a permanent role with a company, expect to be in the interview process for 3-4 weeks. Companies are usually more thorough in their hiring process and will have multiple rounds of interviews that involve numerous decision makers. They are looking for someone who will be with their organization long-term and will be a great technical and cultural fit for their team. Essentially, they are extending an offer to become a part of their family, and they want to make sure they make a wise decision. Permanent opportunities are great for career growth and benefits. They are best for candidates who are currently working and have excellent job tenure (3-5 years on average).
Having a game plan for your job search will help minimize frustrations and let you know when to reach out to your recruiter. While recruiters should reach out as soon as they have an update on your submittal, it's a great practice to follow up to keep your resume on the hiring team's radar. Don't hesitate to ask questions like, "how soon are they looking to make a decision" and "do you have direct hiring manager access" to help you set your expectations for potential feedback.