Finding your next senior role can take longer than you might think…

How long will your executive job search take? How long does it take to find a job? The truth is, it depends on so many different factors:

  • Time of year
  • Geographical demand for your skills
  • Whether you encounter ageism
  • Your experience and salary requirements
  • Your professional network
  • Your job search skills

A well-prepared candidate is likely to be seeking a new role for a minimum of 4 months. In reality, a job search can take over a year! However, many candidates seeking new senior roles have unrealistic expectations of finding a new role quickly, according to research:

  • 51% of candidates had been looking for their new role for four months or longer, with 1 in 10 still looking after 12 months;
  • For 42%, they had been looking for longer than expected

What’s more, senior level candidates are unprepared for frequently experienced challenges. Candidates themselves cite significant obstacles faced in securing a new position, most commonly:

  • Communicating what they have to offer
  • Lack of an existing network or their ability to network successfully
  • Perceived lack of suitable vacancies
  • Roles being too specific in their requirements
  • Being out of touch through long unemployment or out of their home country for too long
  • A sense of age discrimination
  • Being over qualified or experienced
  • Issues working successfully with recruitment agencies

From a recruiters’ perspective, they see too many candidates dependent upon advertised jobs -expecting jobs to come to them rather than going out to find them. 43% of candidates believed their next role would come from an advertised position and 37% thought it would come from an unadvertised hidden jobs market.

Yet, an astonishing 70% of senior executive roles are never advertised.

A key point that many recruiters highlighted was a distinct lack of awareness amongst candidates. It seems candidates are simply unaware of the opportunities available to them and also how they present themselves.

Many candidates do not realise that their CV is not up to the high standards expected from executive level recruiters and hiring managers now; and that they are not good at communicating their achievements or clear enough on where they want to go next. This is what we convey in our executive career coaching & outplacement services

Nevertheless, candidates remain largely confident, believing they will find a new role within just a few months, and many executives feel they can be choosy with opportunities that come their way. In fact, third of candidates had been offered a position but had elected not to accept it, because:

o The role was not what they had thought it was (35%)

o The role just didn’t feel right (35%)

o The salary/package was not sufficient (26%)

o They were not willing to travel/relocate (15%)

When it comes to salary/package, recruiters have seen candidates adjusting their expectations downwards, the longer they are looking for a position:

“If they are out of work now and have found a role in 2 months, all is good. If they are still out of work the following month you will see how it changes what they expect in a company car or package. All depending on how long they have been looking for.” – recruiter

What does this mean for you?

The whole process of finding your next role can take longer than you may think at the start, so we suggest not waiting – start to engage with recruiters, companies, and peer networks as soon as your employment status changes and, importantly, continue to nurture and grow your network whilst in a role too.

Ensure your expectations are realistic and think twice before you turn down that job offer because the salary isn’t sufficient – your actions might just result in many more months of job searching only to settle for a role with a lesser salary/package six months down the line. Remember, it is often necessary to relocate to progress. It’s important to weigh this up.

This is also where professional career development support comes into its own – a small investment at the start will help you find a new role more quickly and at a reasonable salary level before your knowledge starts to wain and you become less marketable the longer you’ve been out of the job scene.

For more information on how we can help you to land your next role faster, please contact us on +44 (0) 203 384 4188 or email