There are few things more nerve-wracking than looking for a new job. Unemployed candidates have to worry about their finances and their futures, and they rarely have the time to wait for the perfect job to come along. Meanwhile, employed job seekers often fear that their current company will find out they are seeking other opportunities and let them go prematurely as punishment. Additionally, working job hunters have to somehow juggle a taxing job search with their existing work responsibilities.
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It falls to recruiters and hiring managers to make this process less stressful for candidates.
"When survey respondents describe the job search process as time-consuming, frustrating, and anxiety-inducing, it's clear that the recruiting industry needs to change the way it approaches candidates," says Mehul Patel, CEO of job marketplace Hired.
In an online survey carried out by Harris Poll and commissioned by Hired, respondents cited "the interview process" and "the thought of starting over in a new role" as the two most stressful parts of finding a new job (47 percent of respondents cited each aspect). Other stressors named by respondents included uncertainty, rejection, and the length of the job search.
"Companies must do a better job eliminating these concerns in order to find the best talent," Patel says.
Eighty-three percent of working adults say looking for a job is at least somewhat stressful, according to the Harris Poll/Hired survey. Respondents also said they'd rather do one of these six stressful activities than have to commence a job search:
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Spend a weekend with the in-laws
Move their place of residence
Plan a wedding
Do their taxes
Get trapped in an elevator
Get a root canal
To Reduce Your Job Search Stress, Start Networking
The job search doesn't have to be so stressful. While recruiters and employers need to pitch in, job hunters can also do their part to reduce their stress levels. For example, knowing how and where to apply can remove a lot of the guesswork and frustration from the process.
According to Patel, the two most common ways that working adults generally land jobs are by applying directly to a company or getting a referral from someone who works at a company. With this in mind, current and future job seekers may want to focus more on building their personal and professional networks.
While some may feel that getting a helping hand from within the company is cheating, the truth is that many competing interviewees will also be able to drop a name or get a reference from someone internally. Failing to do so puts a candidate at a disadvantage. In the business world, it's often all about who you know.
"Referrals are one of the top ways many working adults found their current job, so having a strong network is incredibly beneficial for job seekers," Patel says. "In order to establish or expand your network, consider joining professional organizations, attending industry events, and conducting informational interviews."
Furthermore, you can't expect network contacts to refer you just because they met you for 15 minutes that one time at a luncheon or a conference.
"Follow-up is just as important as the initial introduction," Patel says. "If you have a great conversation with someone at a networking event, exchange business cards, send a follow-up note afterward, and stay in touch by engaging on professional networks or asking how you can help them professionally. The best working relationships are two-sided."
If you have the right network and the right opportunities, job searching won't be as stressful for you as it is for many others. Plan ahead and maintain a healthy network to make your job hunt a breeze.