The Waiting Is the Hardest Part – Patience
Updated: Aug 18
“Be patient. Everything is coming together.” - Anonymous
Patience has always been my Achilles heel. I have prayed for it, wished for it and actively cultivated it for as long as I can remember. It is the one thing I am ALWAYS working on. I am certain that more patience would make me a better mother, spouse, friend, social activist…you name it.
Looking for work can be a long, slow and painful process. According to a Motley Fool article from late November 2019, the average job hunt lasts 5 months. While this may not sound like a long time, it feels like forever when it is happening to you.
Almost all of my clients share one thing: Impatience with the process.
This is totally understandable because looking for a job can be slow and difficult. It is often terribly frustrating (read demeaning) and frequently shrouded in mystery. My clients tell me about unreturned calls to hiring managers or recruiters who go dark for weeks at a time.
When clients finally speak to managers, they provide vague and inconclusive feedback. To add to the stress, most people need to work to live. Finding work feels like a race against a ticking clock.
Let’s look at all the steps in a job search:
Deciding what type of work to pursue.
Creating a Linked In profile, basic resume, and cover letter.
Creating an elevator pitch.
Researching companies and finding jobs that are a good fit.
Connecting/networking with people who can help you get a foot in the door at various companies and conducting informational interviews.
Creating and composing customized resumes and cover letters for each job.
Interviewing multiple times for each positing.
Negotiating an offer.
Behind the scenes
With each step, things can and will happen that slow the process down. In the ideal world, we would call a few friends who would connect us to great jobs, have a few interviews, receive 3 offers and then pick the best fit.
Even in this economy, with the tightest labor market since 1969, it doesn’t work this way. Highly qualified individuals can send hundreds of resumes without receiving a single nibble. They endure interview after interview and, despite their best effort, they get no offers.
They begin to feel as if very little is in their control. And they wonder what it takes to get the offer and get hired.
Having been a recruiter for many years, I can tell you a little bit about what is going on behind the scenes.
1. You Send A Resume and…Nothing
You apply for a job you are certain is your PERFECT match. The job description feels like it was written just for you. You craft a thoughtful cover letter and a customized resume and hit “send”. Then… nothing.
It isn’t uncommon for a job poster to receive HUNDREDS of resumes for one position. Most recruiters or hiring managers are recruiting for many positions simultaneously. We are deluged with resumes all the time.
Don’t give up on the position. Just be patient. If you are truly a great match, you will be contacted.
2. Radio silence after an interview
You thought the interview went great. You were able to answer every question and provided great examples to back up your claims. You felt a real connection to the hiring manager. You sent a well-crafted thank you note right after the interview.
A day goes by. A week goes by. Nothing. What the heck is going on?
There could be a few things happening.
Your interview didn’t go as well as you think it did.
The hiring manager got busy with other projects and hasn’t had time to think about hiring anyone.
The company is interviewing other people, but you are still a contender for the position.
Feel free to check in with the hiring manager. Once. A friendly message saying, “Hey, I’m just calling/writing to follow up and see if you have any information” will do the trick.
Once you’ve done that... you guessed it, be patient.
3. Verbal Offer but no Written Offer
You have been told you are going to be hired but don’t receive anything in writing for a week or more.
The most likely scenario here is that your prospective employer is checking your references and background and has hit a stumbling block. This could be due to difficulty reaching one of your references. It could also be that something has come up in your criminal background check that is causing your future employer to question your suitability for the position.
The other possibility is that someone within the organization needs to sign your hiring letter and they are swamped. No need to panic.
It’s absolutely fine to check in after 3-5 days if you haven’t received a written offer. Make sure the company was able to reach your references and that everything is on track.
After that, you must step back and, yep… be patient.
Good things come to those who wait
Searching for a job requires a lot of work coupled with patience. If you keep at it, you will find a great new position. Most of these issues have absolutely nothing to do with you. As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.”
What do you do to increase your patience?
What questions do you have about the job search process?
Talk to me in the comments, below.