Agency Recruiters Say Companies Need to Move Faster

MRI survey candidate driven 12.2014Candidates are quicker to turn down offers, increasingly rejecting them within weeks of their first interview.

It’s another sign of what the vast majority of agency recruiters say is a candidate-driven employment market.

MRINetwork’s most recent Recruiter Sentiment Study says 83 percent of the 333 responding recruiters describe the current employment market as candidate-driven. In three years, the percentage of recruiters who say candidates are in the driver’s seat has risen 29 points.

“It is definitely and without a doubt a candidate-driven market, however many employers are still laboring under the same processes as they did when it was an employer-driven market,” the twice-yearly survey report notes, quoting one of the participating recruiters.

Emboldened by the improving economy and the increasingly competitive market for skilled talent, candidates aren’t spending much time weighing offers. It only takes two or three interviews for a candidate to reject an offer.

Three-quarters of job offers that were rejected came after only the second or third interview. Most commonly, the time between the first interview a candidate has and an offer rejection falls between one and four weeks.

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Yet it takes the typical candidate more than three weeks to get an offer, with 41 percent of recruiters saying it takes even longer, up to nine or more weeks for an offer to be made. One in five candidates has to endure four or more interviews to get that offer.

MRI Why reject 12.2014As one survey respondent noted, “Many companies are too slow to pull the trigger which provides candidates with the time to investigate other opportunities.”

As a consequence, 31 percent of the recruiters reported their candidate rejected an offer because they took another one. Another 26 percent of recruiters said they had candidates turn down offers because they were too low.

While compensation and benefits are important to candidates, almost half the recruiters in the survey said what candidates most want are greater opportunities for advancement. “Today’s talent,” noted on recruiter, “are driven by their ability to advance and be recognized for a higher level of expertise.”

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


11 Comments on “Agency Recruiters Say Companies Need to Move Faster

  1. Or they could simply pay more. Everyone has a price, and if you’re going to take their time, you have to compensate that with money. If you want to slowpace your way to a lowball offer, why would any quality candidate want to say yes to that?

    1. How dare you interject logic and basic economics into recruiting? If the profession is not to stick with buzzwords and catch phrases that excuse ridiculous, arcane, and downright incompetent hiring practices, what does it have left?!

      1. I think you are mixed up. Staffing agencies (who use the buzzwords) dont decide how long the interview process takes or what the offers are.

        1. No they don’t. However corporate recruiters and agencies trade off personnel; the former almost always look for people with experience in the latter. And, having worked both in corporate and agencies, the buzzwords are prevalent everywhere. But more to the point, the issue is time, and the original commentator mentioned compensating people. That’s a good idea in two senses.

          One, salaries are often low at companies with dysfunctional recruiting processes. One broken process is usually associated with another. It would be wise for companies to do surveys and find out if their salaries are at market levels, so it’s worth it for people to wait around, and so when they do, they don’t turn down the offer if and once it’s made.

          But further, candidates who are currently working – which is what many companies want – have to sacrifice the off-time they have at their current company to interview. When you stretch the interview out to 3 – 5, or more, meetings, and then low ball the offer, the bad blood is palpable, and splattered all over the place.

          Let’s say you’re candidate works two hours away, they’re an hour from their current employer and from you, right in the middle of you two. So, it’s an hour to the interview, an hour for the interview, an hour back, another hour if they go to work, slightly more most likely to change out of their interview clothes. That’s half a day right there, and assuming the interview happens as early as possible in the morning. Likely it won’t so the person may have to take a full day. Given the ridiculously paltry amount of off time offered by most US slave traders… sorry, employers. US employers, I meant. Given that typical amount of time, a dysfunctional and drawn out interview process could easily cost a candidate just under 2% of their annual salary, and fully half and perhaps even all of their vacation/sick time, just to interview with you, assuming 3 to 5 interviews.

          Then you low ball them, is it any wonder why people drop out or turn these offers down? Employers are simply not respectful of people’s time, they don’t feel they have to be, nor do they feel they have to be respectful of their candidates or employees in general, which is why these processes get so messed up.

          The bottom line is every time that person comes in to interview, if they’re working, it’s costing them money. So, looking at it from the candidate’s perspective, jarring as that may be for some companies, say you have five candidates, three interviews a piece, say the worst happens and they have to take a full day for each. Assuming 25/hour average salary, that’s 600 bucks each. At five interviews, it’s 1K each just for the privilege of interviewing at your wonderful company…

          Maybe wasting people’s time is a bad idea.

    2. I don’t thing companies are slow to make offers in an effort to get a smaller offer accepted. They are slow because they have all been conditioned to those practices during the heart of the recession. I’m not clear on what you mean by compensating them for taking longer to finish the interview process.

  2. A survey that says recrutiers want clients to make decisoin faster, really, has any recruter ever said a client moves too fast? If you know your client you know how good or bad their hiring process is and this should dictate the type of candidates you present. If you have a passive candidate not a huge deal but if you have someone from a job board with a ton of exposure your success rate goes way down. Know your client and know your candidates is the only way to succeed.

    1. If I only recruited for companies where I knew how fast or slow they moved, I’d never have new clients to recruit for.

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