Posted Online: Oct. 05, 2011, 4:57 pm

Into Extra Innings

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Bob Lankard © CTW Features

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There are several reasons why a job hunt can last a long time.

“Why is this taking so long? I was thinking several weeks…” Jobseekers I have counseled through the years often expressed frustration with the time it takes to find a new job. Here are some answers to the perennial question for the more recently minted unemployed:

It’s the economy The Great Recession ended in June 2009, not that many long-time unemployed workers noticed. The unemployment rate still hovers around 9 percent. The bulk of new jobs created in the recovery are low-age positions paying less than $13.52 an hour, according to a July report from the National Employment Law Project. The Department of Labor reports more than four job seekers apply for every opening. The average length of a job search is 40.4 weeks. Employers take their time to hire.

It’s employers “My interview was two weeks ago! Can’t he make a decision?” my unemployed charges would ask me. As an employment counselor, I learned that interviewers are often not those who make hiring decisions. Employers take time to check references. “I know the cost of a bad hire,” one employer told me. Employers would rather spread the work among the other staff than hurry hiring in economically uncertain times.

It’s jobseekers Lack of focus can hold back the unemployed. So can panic. The “I’ll take anything” jobseeker actually lengthens a job search by not taking the time to determine their preferences and strengths.

It may be you. Losing one’s job is a traumatic experience. Fear, anger and confusion are common emotions. Unresolved, these concerns hinder the job search. It’s like wearing a backpack in a sprint. I advise dislocated workers to get counseling or join a support group.
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