Man sitting on building steps

It takes 16 weeks to get a new job

Written by Elizabeth Bromstein
Posted on April 21, 2014

Is it taking a while for you to find a job? Don’t get frustrated.

Getting work takes time. Job searches can last anywhere from two days to over a year, but for most people the quest lasts roughly four months. According to our latest Thinkopolis report, Thinkopolis IV: Time to Work, The largest group, 50 per cent of people surveyed, said that it took approximately 16 weeks to secure their most recent job. (This is slightly shorter than the Canadian average duration of unemployment-period reported by Statistics Canada as being 20.6 weeks as of January 2014.)

Getting work also takes work. The majority of Canadians (65 per cent) say that they applied to more than 10 opportunities before being hired for their most recent job. Most people (80 per cent) say that they apply for at least five jobs just in order to secure one job interview.

Once you land the interview, however, things start looking up. Just over half (56 per cent) of candidates said that they only had to conduct one or two job interviews in order to be hired. A further 30 per cent of people said that they needed to perform five or more job interviews before being hired for their most recent job.

How many jobs did you interview for before being hired for your most recent job?

    Just the one – 43%
    Two – 13%
    Three or four – 14%
    Five or more job interviews – 30%

Meanwhile, the most irritating part of this entire report is the number of employers who don’t bother to follow up with a candidate after an interview to let them know whether they got the job or not. While nearly a quarter of employers (24 per cent) get back to candidates within a week of the job interview, a surprising 44 per cent never respond at all.

How long did it take the employer to respond after your last interview?

    24 hours to a week – 24%
    One to two weeks – 18%
    Over two weeks – 14%
    I never heard back at all – 44%

Advice for Candidates:

While candidates should send a thank you note after every job interview, if you haven’t heard from the employer in the time specified (or in a reasonable amount of time), it is okay to write in a second time. Use this follow-up to restate your enthusiasm for the job and to highlight how you are the right fit for it. Refer to the interview specifically, demonstrating that you pay attention to detail and recall key information.

Advice for employers:

It is important to respond to each candidate who is interviewed. Every interested candidate who applies for a job should have a positive experience with your company. Any time you can interact with a candidate is an opportunity to enhance your company’s employment brand. The candidate may be disappointed if they are not hired, but if they feel they’ve been poorly treated they can become vocal detractors of your company.
If the candidate is not going to be hired, let them know as soon as possible out of courtesy.
(Read more about this here.)

These findings are from our recent labour report, Thinkopolis IV: Time to Work. You can read the full report and view the infographic at

See also:

Employers view resumes for fewer than 11 seconds.
Job hopping is the new normal.