In this society you live in, when you have been unemployed for quite some time, you are treated like an outcast. You are the person nobody wants to be with. You become a loner. You are hurt. A lot. The question “How long have you been searching for a job?” feels like the toughest challenge you have ever faced in your whole life. Your mind will think it’s a trap. You try your best to not fall for it, yet, you seem to fail. But, don’t worry, there are various ways to handle this depressing situation.
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Generally, if you don’t have any job for a long time, you become really self-conscious about it and hence, it’s obvious that an interview question about the time you’ve been spending on hunting for a job can disturb you and throw you off guard.
When you are in an interview for a job you had applied to, if they ask you how long you have been searching for a job, do not panic. You might not say you have been searching for a job for a few months, but in the end you might just get afraid and start to think that it might make your search sound like you are completely desperate, like there is something wrong with you and that no one will ever want to hire you for some unknown reason. Thus, in the end, you just tell them you started your search for a job few weeks ago.
Personally, you will feel that a lot of people are in search for job for more than a year or sometimes, even more before getting an offer, so this shouldn’t be held against you. And then, you will realize that you don’t know the answer. That, if this question is a trap in which you are caught in. You are afraid that the answer you give might turn out to be a harsh truth. You might feel it is like how you answer a question like why you want to leave your current company. You are never going to badmouth your insane boss even if he has driven you crazy.
But, it is not. When an interviewer asks you how long you’ve been searching job, what are they wondering? What exactly are they trying to do they want as an answer? Does your answer matter? Honestly, it depends a lot on the interviewer because it is a really weird question, and most of them don’t even think of asking it because it matters very less to them.
Those who do are generally asking about your job hunting as they are only wondering about your behaviour. Your behaviour as in, if you have just started to explore different options and if you are going to spend some more time searching for a job or if you do your research very well and the search has been fruitful and you might be getting a competing offer soon. And hence, they will know if they have to move quickly if they are interested in bringing you on board. There are any other possibilities too. They might be asking you if you have been out of a job for a long time, because they might just be thinking if there is completely something else. For example, if you have really been job hunting the whole time or if you were tired and then decided to take a long or a short break for some amount of time, on your own.
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These are the possible reasons for the question to come up in an interview even though it is very rare. What you have to remember is that in any one of these situations you are not supposed to give out an answer that makes the interviewer remotely or even just subconsciously wonder that if you have been doing this tedious process of job hunting for a long time that it feels like an eternity and hence no one is interested in giving you job and thus just making you continue the job hunting. You have to be calm. You have to be confident. You have to make sure that this is just another tricky question you have to answer. There can be various ways to answer this question, you can always go with your instincts. But, if you just tell them you just started to look for a job seriously recently, and you are being choosy about what you want to do or that you are just making sure that you find the right place or, if you were really not working for a while, just tell them honestly that you had the chance to take some time off and now you just want to get back, that would be great.