The job market is super competitive right now, which means that employers can take their time and be really selective among the most qualified and experienced candidates. In fact, the average interview process is lasting more than three weeks—a stressful time for those job seekers. Meanwhile, positions are sitting open while other employees are overworked, and top candidates are accepting offers from competing companies. Here are six steps to shorten your job search so you can find a position that’s a perfect match for you.

Research the employer’s hiring process

Check out the company’s website and soak up everything you can from their career page. You might even log onto Glassdoor.com or Indeed.com to read reviews and speak at length with anyone you know who works there.

Ask about “next steps” after each step

Find out how many interviews there will be, how soon and in what format—panel, phone, individual. Ask if there’s any additional information they need from you, such as references or drug testing, and follow through as soon as possible. Don’t let them skip over you because of something you neglected to do.

Be agreeable and helpful

Do what you can to speed up the process in your favor. Send thank-you notes to each person who interviews you. Instead of just saying ‘thank you,’ use the note to reiterate your experience and qualifications and your perfect fit for the job. If you know someone who already works there, ask them to put in a good word for you. If they ask you to fill out additional paperwork, do it as soon as you can.

Adjust your expectations

Employers may say you can expect to hear from them by Friday. Or they expect to make a final decision sometime next week. But keep in mind there a lot of moving parts to make that decision happen. Someone will go out of town. Or an important project will pop up that demands their attention. Focus on your job search and don’t dwell on promises from potential employers.

Cast a wide net

There’s a lot you can’t control in this process, but you can control how many opportunities you open yourself up to. If one doesn’t work out, have a few backups ready. Keep your momentum up by continuing to network and apply for new positions. Don’t get frustrated by one setback. Instead, celebrate even the smallest of successes and keep making progress.

Get a great offer

Sometimes you look more appealing to potential employers when you already have an offer. It’s proof of what a qualified, experienced candidate you are! If you get an offer, let the other companies know in a timely, professional manner. As soon as one offer comes in, the other companies may rush to top it.

Ready to take the next step?

For more tips on how to keep making progress in your job search, connect with one of our manufacturing recruiting specialists today!

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