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Job Interview Tips

The 3 Best Answers to “How’s the Job Search Going?”

By Joseph Cueto on May 5, 2015

Filipinos can be an inquisitive bunch. Visit a Filipino family dinner and you'll see what the true meaning of the word is. We all have those family members and friends who start the conversation with a question and just never stop. "When are you getting married?" will become "When are you going to visit us?" and turn into "How's the job search going?"

Whatever the question is, it's always going to be a window for conflict, annoyance, and even embarrassment. To avoid some awkwardness for at least one part of the interrogation, the Muse’s Kate Douthwaite suggests three ways you can answer the question about the job search with poise and tact.

1. “What I really need is…”

When someone checks up on your job search, it's better not to make assumptions that the person asking is trying to push your buttons and point out you're a bum. Assume these individuals mean well and that they're there to support you.

Looking at them as people who can help you will make it easy to say something like, “It’s going okay, but for now I'd really like to look into the ins and outs of the job I want. Do you know anyone who can give me some advice? It would be great to have a few more informational interviews.” Saying this opens the window for the curious to provide valuable assistance - which is probably what they wanted to do all along. Ask if they have contacts who can refer you to Company XYZ, or an expert who can help critique your resume. Make them a part of your team.

2. “I’m having a hard time with…”

The truth of the matter is, the process of looking for a job is rife with moments where you'll feel down and clueless. Another way to answer the job search inquiry is by being truthful about it. Be open and zero in on a particular issue.

For example you can say, “I’m having a hard time getting an interview, despite my qualifications. You mentioned it's happened to you before. What can I do?” No man is an island and even if it's just you looking for the job, you need people you can vent to along the way.

3. “I’ll let you know when something changes.”

Consider this as the last resort – and a polite one at that – when you feel you can’t take it anymore or have been struggling to collect good vibes. This reply works for folks you see more than once a week. Some may find the answer a little dismissive, so add a dose of optimism: “It’s going a little slower than I anticipated, but I’m keeping at it. I’ll be sure to let you know when something changes!”

It's a positive way to ask the person for some space.

Can you think of similar ways to answer the question, “How’s your job search going?” Share them in the comments section below. For the meantime, now that you have armed yourself with a slew of helpful responses for the question,  stay upbeat, keep at it, and believe that your job search breakthrough is about to happen.

*Photo by Daniel Johnson, Jr.