A reader writes:
How long is the “window” open for a job advertisement? I just started my job search, so when I see a position that the company lists on their website as “open,” but it’s been “open” since January, I’m not sure I should apply to it because it’s been such a long time.
What do you think? As I search for jobs, what is a good time frame to keep in mind? Just apply to jobs advertised for two weeks? Three weeks? A month?
I just want to make sure I’m not wasting my time!
It really depends, and it’s very hard to know from the outside.
Sure, it’s possible that they’ve already filled the position and have just neglected to take the ad down. But it’s just as possible that they’re still actively hiring, and you have as much of a chance today as you did the day the ad went up. It’s also possible that it’s somewhere in between, i.e., that they’re in the later portion of the hiring process and are interviewing finalist candidates, but would consider new candidates if they were extremely strong. It’s not something you can tell from the outside.
Hiring takes a long time. Some companies don’t even begin reviewing resumes until a month after an ad goes up, or they intend to do it earlier but then the process stalls — someone goes on vacation or is out sick, or a budget question comes up that needs to be resolved before hiring work can move forward, or something higher priority comes up that needs to be worked on before attention can be turned back to hiring, or they thought they had a candidate to hire but it fell through and now they’re starting from scratch, or all kinds of other things.
It takes even longer if it’s a hard-to-fill role.
You can’t know from the outside what’s going on. You can certainly call and ask if the position is still open if you’re really concerned, but in general, you’re better off assuming that something is still open than assuming that it’s not.
If you’re concerned about wasting your time … well, you can’t really avoid that possibility in most job searches. You can never know if your application is going to be looked at or not, or whether the role closed five minutes before you applied, or whether it’s a post intended for someone internal and they’re just going through the motions in posting it publicly. You’re better off making your peace with that and not worrying about it too much.