I finished my PhD (math) a few weeks ago and I would like to find a career in consulting or with a bank. My current contract at the university lasts for another 6 months (I don't want to leave this contract early).

My question now is: should I start applying right away, although the earliest starting date for a new job for me is in April? Will it hurt my chances if I apply now and get rejected because the companies I'm interested in don't want to plan that far ahead? If you think it actually is too early, how long should I wait?


  • I concur, however would it be prudent to send this to chat?
    – Bluebird
    Sep 14, 2016 at 13:43
  • Where in the world are you, what are normal notice periods there?
    – nvoigt
    Sep 14, 2016 at 14:39

2 Answers 2


TL;DR: Start job hunting, as the process takes time. You can always negotiate the start date if needed.

According to this page citing a GlassDoor study on the duration of the hiring process:

It takes 22.9 days for a candidate to progress through the hiring process in the United States

Additionally the article provides higher durations for larger businesses hiring for more specialised roles, e.g.:

The length of the hiring process also differs by position. Jobs with the longest process were typically government, academic or senior-executive positions. In the United States, police officers report the longest process, at 127.6 days, followed by patent examiners, at 87.6 days; assistant professors, at 58.7 days; senior vice presidents, at 55.5 days; and program analysts, at 51.8 days.

Lets say that the hiring process takes 60 days seeing as you are interested in working at larger, more bureaucratic companies in presumably a specialist role.

Moreover, we have to factor in the time it takes to job hunt and apply. According to this page:

Recruiting software company Jobvite crunched the numbers to find out exactly how long you can expect to be in job-hunting limbo. Overall, the average job-search process takes just over six weeks— 43 days, to be exact— but that varies considerably by industry.

So it could take about 100 days to land the job, i.e. just over 3 months. Given we are talking about averages, then your mileage may vary.

One final point is that when you land your new job, the start date is negotiable. If you foresee that starting early clashes with your academic responsibilities, then explain this to your new employer and negotiate the start date.


Good answer from the applicant perspective from @WorkerWithoutACause above, here is something from the company's side.

If a company posts a job, it means they have work to get done. While they know that process may take a while, they still want to get a good candidate soon. Unless they specifically are hiring new graduates (where they know they need to wait for the academic calendar), they are going to expect you to start within a reasonable time of the job offer, not months from that time. While start dates are negotiable, many times they won't be interested in waiting months for you to start, especially if there are other qualified candidates.

So, go ahead and start applying and interviewing, it's good experience and you don't know how long it will take. But, be prepared for some tough decisions if the job search goes well and you find something quickly. If you get an offer in October/November for an open position, I'm not sure how willing the company will be to wait until April.

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