Why bosses take longer to make job offers

If you're looking for a new job, be prepared to wait.

That's because U.S. companies are taking an average of 25 working days to fill vacant positions, a 13-year high, according to a recent report from the Dice-DFH Vacancy Duration Measure. And if you're interviewing at a large company -- one with more than 5,000 workers -- that hiring process has stretched out to 58 working days, according to the report.

While it might seem to applicants that companies are dragging their feet, the force behind the longer process reflects changes in how bosses now hire. This reaches into every facet of finding a new employee, with some companies tapping algorithms to weed out ill-matched candidates and using a deeper interview process than what was once the norm, said Glassdoor career trends analyst Scott Dobroski. Glassdoor is an employment information site.

"Employers are taking a longer time to hire, interview and really decide on the right candidate to find the best fit," Dobroski noted. "Employers have modernized the interview process. They are doing group interviews, personality tests, EQ tests, IQ tests and writing samples. They are looking for hard-core skills, soft skills and a culture fit."

Companies are increasingly relying on "big data" to screen candidates, such as Xerox now using data analysis as part of hiring 30,000 people each year. It works with a firm called Evolv, which uses predictive analysis to screen for the best potential hires.

The interview process itself is taking longer than before, Dobroski noted. Job seekers report on Glassdoor that rounds of interviews are spanning 23 days, almost double the average duration of 12 days in 2009, he said.

While it might seem like a negative, the longer hiring process is leading to better fits between prospective employees and employers, he added. The key takeaway for job seekers is "don't despair if you don't hear back right away," Dobroski said.

Job applicants also have a better chance of getting noticed if they apply within 48 hours of a help-wanted posting, so he recommends setting up job alerts that will notify you when a company posts a new position.

Still, a disconnect might exist between a company's needs and its willingness to commit. Job openings reached 4.7 million in June, the highest level since early 2001. But employers seeking the "just right" person are more careful about filling that role. The longer hiring time could also reflect concern about whether the economy might stumble again, The Wall Street Journal noted.

The industries with the shortest lag time in filling vacant roles are construction, at 11 days, and the wholesale and retail trade, at 18.4 days. For some industries that hire more specialized workers, the process took longer than average. For instance, the financial services industry is taking 37 days to fill empty positions, while vacant roles in the information industry take about 39 days to fill, the report found.

  • Aimee Picchi

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