What Worked for 3,000+ Job Seekers in 2023? (+ How to Job Search Better in 2024)

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December 18, 2023
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19
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3 key takeaways

  • The number of job applications necessary to secure an interview in 2023
  • How many interviews it took to receive an offer this past year
  • Strategies for job searching successfully in 2024

It takes at least seven strategic and targeted applications to land one interview.

As you navigate the complexities of the job market, understanding current and future job trends like the one above can help you gauge where you stand and prepare you for what lies ahead.

The data below looks at 3,000+ Teal members who actively engaged in their job search in 2023. While not segmented by industry, title, or more specific external factors (like years of experience or location), it offers a window into what a successful job search in 2023 actually looked like for some.

Highlighting key patterns—like the length of time from application to job offer and the success rate of applications to interviews—this research aims to shed light on the process that traditionally seems like a black box: complicated, isolating, and unpredictable.

By understanding these insights based on those who've had success, you can better tailor your job search strategy, focus on the best times of year to apply, and implement the most effective application techniques—ultimately getting you closer to landing a job you're excited about in 2024.

Evolving dynamics of job searching in 2023

It's no secret that the labor market has grown more competitive and complex over the past year.

With advancements in tech and an unpredictable economy fueling layoffs, an influx of highly qualified candidates entered the job market—strengthening competition.

These factors, coupled with a shift toward "Return-To-Work" (RTO) policies, made finding a position and landing a role more challenging and prolonged than in previous years.

But, like in most difficult situations, there can be two truths: The 2023 job market was hard to search in, and there was (and is!) hope for employment and finding opportunities to thrive and grow in your career path.

Unpacking a successful job search timeline in 2023

The data below is based on over 3,000 people who actively used Teal for a successful job search.

It's also important to note that the numbers below don't represent the state of the labor market overall but instead offer a look at a specific member group and subgroups within that segment—focusing on those who tracked their job search progress between January 1, 2023, and December 12, 2023. This data is part of an ongoing effort to analyze and provide a clear picture of job search trends, and we plan to iterate on the approach and release more comprehensive numbers periodically.

And finally, if you're in a field or industry hit hard by mass layoffs or other factors, the outlook and numbers might be different for your experience. Of course, this doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong. But at the same time, understanding these timelines and data is still important because they offer a snapshot of what's working for others. Even in a challenging or fluctuating market, this knowledge can guide your strategy for the better.

How long does the job search take?

The question on the minds of most people entering the job market (by choice or by circumstance) is often, "How long will this actually take?"

Well, Teal data shows a steady increase in the time it took to get a job offer in 2023 compared to previous years. Most members experienced job searches lasting between 21 and 89 days.

In 2023, the median duration from the first application to the first offer was approximately 44 days.

A graphic showing the median time from first application to first offer as 44 days

How long does it take to hear back after applying for a job?

Knowing the standard response time for job applications can help you decide when to follow up, when to expect a response, and when to move on to the next opportunity. Think of this as a way to manage your expectations—not getting too fixated on one prospect.

The majority of Teal members who got interviews in 2023 heard back within 4 to 15 days after applying.

A graphic showing it takes 4 to 15 days to hear back about an interview

But these numbers don't mean you shouldn't advocate for yourself. An all-around guideline for following up on any application is to reach out to recruiters or hiring managers once a week for three weeks before closing the loop on a specific application.

How many applications does it take to get one interview?

Not getting immediate application feedback can be frustrating, but it's also an inevitable part of the job search process. The truth is, there's no one-size-fits-all answer, as things like industry, job level, and personal experience play a big role. But every application is a step in the right direction.

In 2023, it took at least 7 strategic and targeted applications to land one interview.

A graphic showing it takes 7 strategic and targeted applications to land one interview

Understanding this can help you create a job search plan, organize your day-to-day, and realistically manage your expectations. This knowledge also enables you to allocate your time and resources effectively, preventing burnout and keeping you motivated. It's about striking a balance between being persistent in your applications and giving yourself the space to breathe.

How many applications does it take to get a job offer?

The goal of every job application you submit is clear: to get an interview. And in 2023 patience and perseverance were an important part of the process.

For a typical member, of those who got offers, it took 21 curated, intentional applications to receive 1 offer.

A graphic showing the number of curated intentional applications to receive 1 offer is 21

Using 21 applications as a benchmark is a realistic gauge for your efforts. It suggests that while the job hunt is seldom a quick process—consistent and targeted applications increase your chances of success. This number also helps in pacing your search, reminding you that it's a more sustained effort than a rapid burst.

How many interviews does it take to get a job offer?

If the goal of every application is to get an interview, then the goal of every interview is to get a job offer. But, success in these interviews hinges on preparation, adaptability, and a clear understanding of both the role and the company.

In 2023, it took up to 6 first-round interviews for a job seeker to receive an offer.

A graphic showing it takes up to 6 first round interviews for a job seeker to receive an offer

So what does that mean?

It means that getting a job usually isn't a one-interview deal. You might need to go through several first rounds before you land an offer. This doesn't necessarily reflect your skills or suitability; it's just how the market operates.

Is there seasonality to the job search?

Job search durations and success rates vary across different quarters and months of the year.

For example, job searches started in certain quarters (like Q4) typically take longer, potentially due to holiday seasons affecting hiring processes.

Do specific job search behaviors impact success?

The number of jobs that Teal members bookmarked and applied to shows a trend of increasing applications over time. That’s not necessarily saying you need more applications to get an offer, but data showed that members who received offers were applying to more jobs.

Those same members typically saved around 50 jobs from various online job boards or other locations and applied to a smaller subset of 26 jobs, indicating a strategic and more targeted approach.

5 strategies for how to job search in 2024

If you haven't seen the level of efficacy above in your job search, that doesn't mean you're doing things wrong (especially considering unavoidable external factors), but there are also ways to navigate your 2024 job search with a data-driven approach to career empowerment.

How?

By looking at the patterns and trends from successful job seekers and understanding what strategies have resulted in offers, you can better position yourself to get hired.

Strategy 1: Understand the job search timeline

Whether you're looking for your next job while employed, navigating unemployment, or considering a move in the new year, understanding the job search timeline can prepare you for what to expect.

That said, this might look different based on your industry or profession. If you're a teacher, it might be easy to find a job in education. If you're a recruiter in tech, this may take longer.

The median duration of 46 days from the first bookmarked job to receiving a first offer suggests that you should be prepared for a process that spans more than a month. It's important to manage expectations and plan accordingly.

Strategy 2: Take advantage of seasonality

The best time to apply for jobs is as soon they become available (as long as your skillset aligns with what a prospective employer is looking for).

That said, Teal data indicates that starting a job search during certain months  (like June, October, and November) can lead to longer search durations (likely due to holidays and seasonal factors).

Conversely, starting at other times of the year might lead to quicker results. Understanding these seasonal trends can help in planning the timing of your job search if you're doing so from a place of preparedness.

Think of yourself (and your skills and qualifications) as a business. If you can take advantage of seasonality, spend time creating a plan, considering specific targets and qualifiers for your dream job, deciding how to market yourself, and sharpening your personal brand.

Strategy 3: Cast a wide research net, but apply strategically

A strategic approach to job applications is to apply to a variety of positions while ensuring they're well-aligned with your skills and experience. It's a numbers game to some extent, but the quality and relevance of your applications matter.

The trend of bookmarking around 50 jobs, then narrowing that number, and applying to 26 suggests a tightening of options and application to jobs with a higher probability of success. This targeted approach is more efficient than hitting “Easy-Apply” hundreds of times and hoping to hear back from a company you’re minimally interested in.

To apply strategically:

  1. Make sure your skills and experience align: Before applying, carefully read the job requirements to determine whether or not your skills and experiences align closely with what the hiring manager is looking for.
  2. Research the company: Research the company to understand its culture and values. Ask yourself, "Does what they represent align with my professional goals and what’s important to me?
  3. Tailor your resume for every application: Rather than submitting the same resume for every role, customize it to highlight the skills and experiences most relevant to each job using keywords and language from the job description.
  4. Write persuasive cover letters: If the application specifies a cover letter, don't skip this step. Use cover letter examples as inspiration to write a customized document addressing how your background makes you a good candidate for this specific role and company.

Related: Speed up the application process by using the best job search apps.

Strategy 4: Prepare for interviews

Teal members who received offers in 2023 went through up to six first-round interviews. This indicates that thoroughly preparing for those conversations is essential for converting your interviews into jobs.

So, how can you prep and sharpen your interview skills?

1. Understand how your resume ties into the company and role

  • Research the company culture, mission, values, and any recent news.
  • Understand the specific role you're applying for, how it fits within the company, and how your resume aligns.
  • Pro Tip: Find the balance between detailed research and information overload. Focus on key aspects that directly relate to your potential role and contributions.

2. Practice common and role-specific questions

  • Prepare for standard questions like, "Tell me about yourself" or, "Why do you want this job?"
  • Anticipate role-specific questions based on the job description. (Try prompting an AI tool like Google Bard or ChatGPT for job application questions based on the job ad).
  • Pro Tip: Don't over-rehearse. This can make your answers sound scripted. Instead, practice sounding natural and sincere.

3. Develop STAR responses

  • Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure responses to interview questions.
  • Prepare examples from your past experiences that demonstrate your skills and achievements.
  • Pro Tip: It can be tough to choose the right examples. Pick a range of scenarios that best showcase relevant skills and positive outcomes.

4. Conduct mock interviews

  • Ask a friend, mentor, or career coach to help you by holding a mock interview.
  • A mock interview simulates the real environment, allowing you to refine your answers, improve your communication skills, and adjust your overall presentation before facing the hiring manager or prospective employer.
  • Pro Tip: Opt for someone willing to provide constructive criticism through honest, helpful feedback.

5. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer

  • Asking insightful questions shows your interest in the role and company.
  • If you can, try incorporating parts of the interview into your questions. It shows you value the conversation and that you’re listening. 
  • Pro Tip: Leave the generic questions for someone else. Prepare unique questions demonstrating your understanding of the role and the company's challenges or goals.

6. Plan logistics

  • For in-person interviews, know the location, route, and travel time.
  • For virtual interviews, check your technology setup in advance.
  • Pro Tip: Technical issues during virtual interviews happen. Test your equipment and always have a backup plan.

Strategy 5: Continuous learning and skill development 

In 2023, the increase in the time it took to find a job highlighted the importance of staying current and competitive. Tech advancements and industry demands change rapidly, so it's crucial to incorporate continuous learning and skill development into your job search strategy for 2024. Here’s how:

  • Identify high-demand skills in your field and continually update them to stay competitive.
  • Regularly engage with online courses on platforms to improve your skill set.
  • Attend industry-specific workshops and webinars for learning (and networking!) opportunities.
  • Stay informed about and pursue relevant certifications or qualifications that increase your marketability.
  • Regularly reflect on and adjust your learning and professional development goals to align with evolving career paths and industry trends.

Your path forward in 2024

As you step into 2024, embracing an informed and strategic approach to job searching is crucial.

The job market, influenced by technological advancements and economic fluctuations, has grown more competitive, and this calls for you to be well-prepared, adaptable, and informed about the nuances of the job search process.

2024 won't be about landing any job but about finding opportunities that excite you and align with your career goals and personal growth.

Use the Teal insights from 2023 as a compass to be proactive, stay informed, and approach each step of your job search with confidence and strategic intent.

Remember, even when you're feeling stuck, every application, every interview, and every day of preparation brings you closer to landing a job you love in 2024.

If you're ready for a more strategic job search in 2024, join Teal for free. Start your journey with tailored guidance and dedicated support, empowering you to navigate your next steps with confidence and success.

Frequenty Asked Questions

Kayte Grady

Kayte, the Senior Copywriter at Teal, creates compelling content that builds connection, trust, and brand loyalty to drive conversions. With a data-driven approach to writing and a love of people, she's found growth and camaraderie in tech—a pleasant surprise given her never-ending devotion to the paper calendar.

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