Jul 22, 2015 — TrackFive

The Grey Area: Why the Hiring Process Is No Cakewalk

My parents, both proud baby boomers, always made the job hiring process seem so black and white. You go to college, get a degree, make a resume, build a cover letter, apply for a job, nail the interview, get the job, begin a career and start earning a 401(k).

Why the Hiring Process Is No Cakewalk

But as many of us know, everything isn’t always black and white—there is a static grey area where cookie-cutter interview skills just don’t cut it in today’s job market. That follow up phone call, your hand-written thank you a letter, that Bachelor’s degree you just earned—these are all wonderful things, but guess what? They are gradually becoming less prevalent when determining who gets hired and who doesn’t.

According to a report from Glassdoor Economic Research, the average interview process is now 23 days, about a week and a half longer than the average of 13 days four years ago. So why is it that with nearly 5.4 million jobs available in the United States and openings on the rise, hiring is taking longer than ever?

Similar to individuals holding out for Mr. and Mrs. Right, companies are convinced that if they hold out, the perfect suitor will come alone. Adding in job-search tools such as Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn, the ease of scrolling through candidates with the swipe of a finger or click of a mouse makes this skewed idea of perfection momentarily feasible. Businesses are hesitant to hire unless they are certain they have found the perfect match; however, the problem with perfection is that the ideal person may not exist, and who’s to say that a candidate isn’t able to grow into that perfect match?

What’s been stalling hiring time?

  • Location

More populated areas may have a broader ranger of candidates, but quantity doesn’t always entail quality. Larger cities are guilty of the “Mr./Mrs. Right” mentality. However; on the contrary, a small town in Kansas may only have a handful of candidates, so unless that company outsources, their options are limited and it’s in everyone’s best interest to get the ball rolling.

  • Type of Job

This sounds obvious, but it makes sense that jobs in fields such as government, medical and law enforcement require lengthier training and more thorough background checks.

For example, Washington D.C. has an average hiring time of nearly 35 days while Miami’s average time is almost 17 days. So what factors impact this hiring gap of nearly 20 days? For one, Washington D.C. has primarily government organizations, while Florida hugely relies on the hospitality industry. Industries such as food service and tourism are often lower-skilled, routine jobs that need to be filled quickly due to high demand, however, this may result in a greater turnover rate.

  • Dollars and Size

Essentially, it breaks down to which companies can afford to drag out the hiring process to ensure the perfect candidate and which companies just need a position filled quickly. The size of the company also acts in correspondence to how long it takes to hire new employees. Companies with under 250 employees have an average hiring time of 20 days or less, while companies with over 1,000 employees average 26 days or longer to hire a new employee.

  • Screening Tests

It may seem like employers today are making their candidates jump through hoops to land a job. While some skill tests are essential for certain positions, it is an increasing trend that interviews are becoming lengthier and more comprehensive.

Between 2010 and 2014:

  1. Background checks increased from 25% to 42%
  2. Skills tests rose from 16% to 23%
  3. Drug tests went from 13% to 23%
  4. Personality tests from 12% to 18%

Why dragging isn’t good

Slowing down the hiring process doesn’t necessarily hail the best candidate. Just as easily as you can search for candidates, potential candidates can search for another job. Although stalling provides a company with more time to analyze feedback, if you don’t act quickly, the top candidates who know their worth will drop out or seek out other employers, leaving you with a pool of mediocre candidates to choose from. Not to mention, having the reputation of being a slow decision-maker could result in a loss of future prospects.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this trend is going to change any time soon. And while the jobs are certainly out there, finding one in amiable time may not be in the cards for everyone.

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