It’s Taking Longer Than Ever (So What Are You Going to Do About It?)

By Joe Stein

Late in 2015, there was an interesting research study by the MRINetwork (a global executive search organization).  Their study seemed to confirm what many job seekers knew already about the time being taken by employers to fill positions.  Their research found that over 70% of recruiters surveyed, take 3 to 6 weeks after the first interview to make an offer for an open position.  The last time this study was done, around five years ago, revealed an average time of 1 to 4 weeks.
Furthermore, the average time to fill a position is now on average 63 days, which is over 4 weeks longer than the study five years ago.  All of this gives even more reason why a job seeker should not delay one moment in starting his or her job search.  Don’t take the summer or holidays off.  Don’t take a month or two off to “recharge”.  You need to jump into your job search because it may take you a few months to find a new position.
There are probably numerous reasons for why it does seem to be taking longer.  I have a few thoughts regarding what is behind this phenomenon. My Top 3 theories are noted below.
 -  Consensus Interviewing – It seems like, even for an entry level position, a company desires to have a candidate interview with more than one person.  It was not that long ago that the Hiring Manager interviewed and made the decision, oftentimes immediately.  Now, the “boss” needs to interview the person along with their co-workers and perhaps even others.  It seems to be the exception now-a-days, when a person is hired after speaking to just one person.
 -  Difficulty in Making a Decision – It seems that most Hiring Managers want to speak to a person more than once before deciding to hire.  Not sure the reason.  It could be that there are so many strong candidates, but it is probably that the person wants to be very sure of the decision.  This causes the Hiring Manager to want to review every resume and speak to as many people as possible in an attempt to find the perfect match.
 -  Cost of a Bad Hire Is High – You have the cost of training and the lower productivity associated with a new person.  It is also just tough to fire a person in 2016 with all the legislation that protects even the worst employees.  All of this creates a situation where a Hiring Manager wants to make sure that no stone has been left unturned prior to hiring someone.  It is a way to try to mitigate the risk of hiring someone.
So, what can you do to try to beat this trend?  Let’s look at some possible tactics.
 -  Those Hiring Immediately Get Priority From You – If you are in an immediate need for a new position, place extra focus on those companies and positions where a quick hiring decision will be made.  It makes sense, those companies that show the most interest in you should get your highest focus.
 -  Be Available When Needed – Don’t be an obstacle for the Hiring Manager.  Provide multiple contact options and respond immediately.  Be flexible if the company would like to speak or meet with you on short notice.  Don’t allow your schedule to be the cause of a delay.  A common reason for a hiring delay (as noted above) is the need for multiple people to interview.  If you have a chance to interview all the key players at one time, then take this opportunity.  If someone needs to meet at an “off” hour, try to be available.  Do anything you can to keep the process moving.  Plus, the Hiring Manager should make note of and appreciate your efforts, which never hurts a candidate.
 -  Give Them What They Need – As noted above, a primary reason why it is taking longer is the desire to speak to a candidate multiple times.  This is often because the Hiring Manager still has unanswered questions.  Try to combat this need by giving complete answers in the first interview.  Ask the Interviewer, in the 1st interview, if there is anything else you can answer. 
 -  Follow-Up Smartly – You most definitely do not want to be a pain, but you do want to follow-up.  Check in a couple of times during the process.  Use the excuse/reason that you want to make sure the Recruiter does not have any questions (if they do, you may be able to answer without having to come in for another interview).  Also don’t be afraid to communicate to the prospective employer if you have other opportunities or another offer.  If this other company is someone you are very interested in, perhaps hearing this news will cause them to start expediting their process.
Of course, we all hope our job search moves along at a rapid pace, but the reality is that it can take months from application to offer.  Start your job search as soon as you determine you want or need new employment. Be helpful and attentive to any prospective employer in an attempt to push the process along at a faster pace.  You may find yourself with an offer soon than you expected.
As always, best of luck in your job search!