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Why is the Hiring Process So Slow?

Last Updated Mar 8, 2011 3:51 PM EST

You would think that with unemployment being so high that hiring would be super easy. After all, you simply tell your employees that you're hiring and post the job on your company's websites. Within minutes LinkedIn is buzzing with all that networking and your company's servers are being overwhelmed with hundreds of applicants.

Then, the computer screens the resumes and spits out a bunch of qualified candidates. You should be ready to conduct interviews in less than 2 weeks, and make a hiring decision right after that.

Easy-peasy.

So, why is it actually not a quick and easy process? The Wall Street Journal has a theory on why hiring is so slow right now: Managers know there are tons of candidates and therefore are waiting for the "perfect" candidate to show up.

The problem is, there are no perfect candidates. Well, at least not from the hiring manager's point of view. It's possible to find something bad about every candidate. He has a degree from the wrong school, she worked for an unfavored competitor, he ended sentences with prepositions, she is a bit overweight.

In reality all of these people would be great at the job and in a tight job market, the hiring manager would have leapt over tall buildings to make sure she got an offer in one of these candidates' hands before sundown on the day of the interview. Instead, we're faced with indecision.

The Wall Street Journal Reports:
Managers invited between five and six candidates on average for second-round interviews last year, twice as many as in 2007, according to a survey of 1,500 recruiters at large companies by the Corporate Executive Board, a research organization.

"Nowadays, if managers speak to a really great candidate, instead of hiring him, they take it as an indication that there must be 10 even better people out there," says Todd Safferstone, director of CLC Recruiting, a unit of the Corporate Executive Board.
Fascinating.

If you're in the position of hiring someone new, don't get caught up with the idea that because it's a tight market you can always find someone better or for less money. Remember that you have work that someone needs to do, and it's not getting done as long as the position is vacant. (Or it is getting done by your already overworked staff who are now feeling like looking for new jobs, themselves.) Hire someone who can do the job. Don't wait for perfection. It's not out there.

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Photo by schillergarcia, Flickr cc 2.0