Here are some examples of time-consuming tasks in recruiting you don’t expect:
Note: Also don't forget the emotional toll of excitement and inevitable rejection from some companies.
On the whole - if you already have strong connections to companies (likely from your lab or a previous internship), expect the job search to take 2-4 months. If you don’t have connections like these, expect the job search to take closer to 5-6 months.
Plus, you have to play the waiting game
In addition to the time the interview process takes, you also have to factor in waiting – since many companies won’t get back to you immediately and may take weeks (and sometimes months) in between rounds of interviews.
For example - we recently worked with a CS PhD who was told by a Google recruiter that he was getting an offer, but not told the actual compensation numbers for another 3 weeks – and that was already after spending 2 months in the interview process!
Candidates find this particularly frustrating because it’s totally out of their control since, many times, they’re simultaneously trying to navigate graduation timelines, when to begin OPT, and potentially moving to a new city.
The Cost of Having the Wrong Expectations
When your expectations are that a job search should take a month, but ends up taking significantly longer, you can end up in a place of feeling exhausted and desperate to finish the hiring process. This always leads to unnecessary stress, poor decision making, and generally worse performance.
In the worst case scenario, you’re desperate to wrap up the job search so you accept a low or bad offer and then end up regretting your decision.
We saw this happen firsthand with an engineer at DeepMind who - despite being the top performer on her team - learned that she had 40% of the equity of one of her peers who joined at the same time. She accepted quickly because she was busy and ready to be done interviewing, but ultimately came to regret that decision and was forced to eventually leave the company to get paid her market value.
When you are job searching the three biggest obstacles are:
Companies count on these stressors when recruiting you to persuade you to join quickly and/or not negotiate to the top of the pay band.
Job search with the right expectations, a good plan, and plenty of time, and you could even find that you enjoy the process rather than dread it.