Developing Your Career

Developing Your Career

Job Search Intensity and Job Search Work Teams

By Orville Pierson on February 18, 2014

University research on job hunting often focuses on “job search intensity.” That research has repeatedly shown that maintaining a reasonably high level of job search activity (“intensity”) over an extended period of time is essential to success in job search.

Unfortunately, the research also shows that most job hunters fail to do that. Studies show that the average amount of time devoted to job search is as low as 41 minutes per day.

This isn’t because job hunters are lazy. There are a number of reasons why it happens: lack of the task supports found in organizational work, limited experience in job hunting and lack of job search skills, for example.

But the central reason is undoubtedly the incessant rejections. Job hunting has very little intrinsic, ongoing encouragement. The single big success of accepting a great new job often happens at the end of a long series of failed efforts, false hopes, non-responses, and rejections.

So it’s entirely understandable that job hunters have difficulty embracing the necessary search activities every day, day after day. And it’s not surprising that they sometimes take a break or slack off.

But of course, too much slacking off could lengthen a job search to the point that it exceeded the length of severance pay.

So Lee Hecht Harrison uses Job Search Work Teams to support job hunters in combatting the tendency to do too little. Team members use numerical progress measurements to measure their progress each week. And they report that progress to the team at each weekly meeting, as a way of holding themselves accountable for maintaining a reasonable level of search intensity.

Team leaders do not attempt to enforce any particular activity level. And team members are strongly discouraged from competing with each other or using the numerical measures to criticize each other, since it’s important that the teams maintain a highly supportive culture.

But LHH candidates come from top employers, and they are generally achievement-oriented individuals. They know how numerical measures work. They sometimes complain about “those damned numbers.” But they use the numbers to hold themselves accountable for reasonable performance.

And what do they say about it after they find a great new job?

Comments often include something like this: “It’s a great process. The team and the progress measurements kept me going, even when things were tough.”

This is the first in a four-part series on how to find a better job faster with a job search work team.  


Orville Pierson is a top expert in job search assistance and is the author of Team Up! Find a Better Job Faster with a Job Search Work Team. For complete information on Mr. Pierson’s experience, please see his LinkedIn profile or visit his website,

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