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World – It now takes twice as long to get a job

29 January 2014

The competition for jobs is not only greater following the economic downturn, it is also more drawn out, as candidates are left sweating through a month-long process of interviews, reports afr.com. The average time it takes to secure a new job has doubled over the past five years.

Recruitment industry insiders say employers are taking their time for several reasons; they want to do without the expense of a new salary for as long as they can (leaving existing staff to carry the extra load); the decision-making has been pushed up the line to C-suite level as a way to put a brake on costs; and risk aversion means they are taking more time to ensure they have the right person for the job.

Phillip Tusing, founder of recruitment marketing company Destination Talent, said he had heard horror stories in which candidates had been strung along for months as they awaited a decision: “In many, many cases, good talent is being let go because people get frustrated and they go to the company that offers them the job.”

The time that the interview process takes is determined by the industry sector. In the public service, it is common for the process to take months. In a retail sales job, it may take a couple of weeks.

According to US-based job site, Glassdoor.com, candidates say the interview process has jumped from 13 days to 23 days over five years.

In the UK, research by Randstad Technologies shows that, in the IT sector, the length of the interview process has nearly doubled. They will now spend 8.2 hours in interviews for a job. Professionals in other disciplines spend on average seven hours in interviews.

Successful candidates for senior roles across the UK face an average of 3.4 interviews per role, up from 2.6 five years ago.

Dan Nuroo, general manager of recruitment for IMA Management and Technology said there were times when he had been able to push a candidate through three stages of interview in two days, but it would usually take him two weeks. He added that the average for the industry would be more like four weeks: “Hiring someone is always a bit of a risk. While there are tools taking the risk out of it, they will take longer.”

Karen Colfer, managing director of recruitment company Kelly Services, said employers were being more careful about who they hired but there were payoffs. A new process at Kelly, which includes psychological assessment and more intense and robust screening tools, coupled with role plays and aptitude testing, has resulted in a 30% improvement in retention. This means the recruits are more likely to stay, cutting back on the costly process of people quitting before their first year is out.

“With social media and technology evolving at the rate it currently is, employers have access to vast amounts of data and information prior to meeting the applicant. This means employers can be far more educated and discerning with the approach to the interview,” Ms Colfer concluded. 

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