Employers Are Losing More Candidates as Time to Fill Continues to Grow

It’s taking companies longer than at any time in the last 15 years — maybe even  longer than ever — to fill a job, and that languor is losing them candidates.

Two recent reports on hiring put the average time from vacancy to offer at more than four weeks. And both studies — one from Glassdoor and the other from career site publisher DHI Group — say the time to fill is getting longer.

In the midst of a national recovery that has seen the unemployment rate go from a high of 10.1 percent to 5.3 percent in June, while the labor force continues to contract, Glassdoor found hiring time went from 12.6 days in 2010 to 22.9 days at the end of 2014.

Even when the data is scrubbed to control for changes in hiring location, industry mix, and other variables, Glassdoor found that interview time increased between three and four days.

DHI vacancy measure May 2015The monthly DHI-DFH National Mean Vacancy Duration says it took an average of 28 working days (which includes Saturdays) to fill a job in May. In just one year, the average increased by 3.3 days. In some industries the average is even higher. For health services jobs the average is 42.3 days; financial services jobs average 41.2 days.

Recruiters at one of the largest search agency networks in the world say this hiring slowness is costing employers candidates. It’s a candidate-driven market, say 9-out-of-10 recruiters, yet too many employers drag their heels on hiring or make low ball offers.

The survey of the independent recruiters at MRI Network agencies says the leading reason why a job offer is turned down is because the candidate accepted another one.

Rejections are also coming sooner. The time between first interview to a rejected offer is four weeks or less, according to 63 percent of the recruiters. “Year-over-year data,” says the MRI report, “shows rejected offers after two weeks are on the rise, advancing six percentage points since the first half 2014 survey.”

MRI study 2015Commented one of the survey recruiters, “Employers have to realize candidates are truly a precious commodity in today’s market and they will not remain on the market very long. If they want the candidate, they have to aggressively pursue them in order to get them and keep them.”

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That’s not, however, what the recruiters see happening. Almost half of them (47 percent) say the biggest obstacle to hiring are salaries that are too low. When they find out during the interview, they simply withdraw.

Glassdoor’s analysis didn’t delve into job offers or rejection. Instead, it looked at 344,250 job interview reviews posted on the site between February 1, 2009 to January 31, 2015 to examine hiring time in the U.S. and five other countries. “Our findings suggest the job interview process has indeed grown significantly longer in recent years, both in the U.S. and around the world,” the report concludes.

Some causes of the longer hiring times are beyond the control of either job seeker or employer. For example, hiring is faster in Miami (18.6 days) than it is in Seattle (25 days).  And smaller companies take less time to make a hiring decision than do larger ones.

One factor, however, is within an employer’s control, says Glassdoor: “The number and type of job interview screening methods chosen by company HR management. Of the nine job screening methods we examined, all have a positive and statistically significant effect on job interview durations.”

“Telephone interviews add 6.8 to 8.2 days; group panel interviews add 5.6 to 6.8 days; one-on-one interviews add 4.1 to 5.3 days; background checks add 3.1 to 3.4 days; and so on. In every case, additional layers of candidate screening add to hiring times,” according to the report.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. 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.


8 Comments on “Employers Are Losing More Candidates as Time to Fill Continues to Grow

  1. The time to fill metric is interesting, but all the rest, while I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true and while it agrees with my experience, is really just anecdotal.

    “It’s a candidate-driven market, say 9-out-of-10 recruiters, yet too many employers drag their heels on hiring or make low ball offers.”

    The only place you will hear or read this is in an article like this, or some other similarly ‘safe’ venue. Where it needs to be heard and seen in directly in the employer’s ear and on the letter rejecting them from doing business with agencies: “Sorry Mr/Ms HR Leader, but after careful consideration and experience, where your company has failed to hire any of the more that fifty candidates we presented over the last year, and none presented by any other agency either, and has given vague and unquantifiable reasons as to why, and merely asked repeatedly to see ‘more people,’ we can no longer work with you until you suffer a case of cranial-rectal prolapse and take a good, long look at your processes.”

    Such a letter will never come though, because no matter how ridiculous a company’s processes and expectations, someone is eventually going to get a fee for filling that position. So all agencies will continue to ‘work with’ those clients and never, never say anything which might put them off in the slightest. They will continue to ask for Java Programmers and Senior Construction Project Managers at 40K, and no one will bat an eyelash, when in fact people should have them committed.

  2. Yeah, the “shock and awe” campaign that hiring managers and their squires in HR have been doing seems like it is entering a coda. I feel for the recruiters here as job candidates are simply not going to put up with the crap that has been slung their way in the last several years.

    It lasted as long as it did because of a very, very soft job market and, frankly, that even experienced folks were rather appalled by the practices and didn’t really know how to counter react.

    Now, job candidates are under no such illusions. Want to low ball me, I walk. Want to do interview #4, I walk. Take more than 5 days to make an offer, I walk.

    This is the new truth, baby, and it is freaking wonderful….

    1. It would be more wonderful if companies would actually learn something from it, but they won’t. The majority will just be mystified until the next recession and then think things have returned to ‘normal.’

      1. Maybe, but my attitude still holds. This whole ecosystem is so whacked that the only thing that makes sense is to do quick feeler bets to see if the recruitment is in any way serious.

        The time to offer is critical, as is the number of interviews. Rule of thumb is if they do not come back in 5 working days with an offer, then it is a waste of time to continue. The even more important metric is interviews. Anything beyond 3 interviews (including the screen) indicates that you are basically a “sacrificial lamb” candidate. The recruiting/HR ecosystem will try to keep you on the leash either as a bargaining chip with the first choice or as a hedge.

        Either way, it is bad news and the HM would have to personally call me to do a 4th interview. I have done that one time and it was a mistake, I was used as a chip to force the first choice to take the job.

        So, it is a mess out there and while there were always games, it has truly gotten out of hand in the last 3 or 4 years. You have to be really tough.

  3. It seems to me the only reason for talent slipping out-of hands. Automation is desperately required today to save Recruiters and Candidates time. With Automation in core processes, time to fill can be drastically reduced and brought to minimal. Hence more time with HR managers to interact, enagage and make fruitful pacts with future workforce.

  4. The traditional slow hiring process and lack of passionate people who apply for work (withdrawing their application when the salary is supposedly too low) is what makes @aireventsglobal such a great recruitment site for events clients. It is a shared economy platform connecting both sides of the marketplace, both the clients, and the event freelancers with their individual experiences.

    If you’re a client looking to outsource event work, or an event freelancer searching for casual event work, then look no further! Check it out on http://www.aireventsglobal.com, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Looking forward to having you join the #aireventsglobal family!

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