Why does the hiring process take so long?

Tired of the interview process?  Is it taking longer than you thought it would?  Is Congress faster at making a decision than the company looking to hire you?  Welcome to the world.

Yes, sometimes it takes a while.  A long while.  In fact, companies take much longer than you ever anticipated.  And while you submitted your info for that position ages ago, it seems like they’re just now getting to it.  The problem is that you submitted your info for about 15 (or 150) other positions as well.  You have a vague recollection of the position and right about now, you’re wishing that you put together some sort of tracking mechanism for times just like this.  You’re caught a little off guard.  And it shows.

For whatever reason, many job seekers seem to think that hiring the next person is the only thing on someone’s plate.   Very few companies have a core competency in recruiting.  Unless you’re a corporate recruiter, for most people in the organization, finding new talent is a reactive and unwelcome task that takes people away from their day job.

Couple this with the fact that most companies want candidates to meet a number of people in the organization before making a decision.  Have you ever tried to coordinate dinner among three friends who have busy lives?  Then you know what it’s like to try to coordinate interviews with management teams.  It’s not easy.  You’re wondering why they can’t get their act together.  And it shows.

You finally meet with the company.  And then you meet with them again.  And again.  And again.  It’s only the fifth interview.  You’re wishing they would hurry up with the decision.  And it shows.

Perhaps it’s time to reset our expectations when it comes to hiring.  And that goes for everyone.

For job seekers, the reset rests around the timeframe.  Expect the process to take forever.  And when it doesn’t, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  When they say three days, they mean three weeks.  When they say thirty days, they mean ninety.  When they say immediately, they mean “immediately as soon as we find the right person.”  Just remember, it is typically cheaper to have a gap than fill it with the wrong person.

For companies, the reset rests around the lack of making modifications along the way.  For every one person who is a perfect fit for the role, you’ll probably get 99 resumes of people who are not.  This takes a while to find that needle in the haystack.  For every person you finally meet, you’ll identify another set of criteria that you wish you had included initially.  And now you’re setting off down a modified path.  Only you don’t tell any of your future prospects.  You keep this new information to yourself, because you’ll know it when you see it.  You simply hope you find the right person with the old posting and are disappointed when no one seems to be a fit.

The hiring process is both cumbersome and time consuming for all parties.  And it shows.  Next time, whether you’re a job seeker meeting with company, or a company meeting with a candidate – have a little empathy for what each of you is going through.  Don’t dwell on the process, but know that it takes a while.  And be okay with that.  The good news is that it typically moves faster than Congress.  And once you’re hired, it’s probably a lot more fun!

3 thoughts on “Why does the hiring process take so long?

  1. I followed up on a great position a week after the first interview. My potential boss flew to meet with me. He emailed to say they were still considering all candidates, and to contact him within 2 weeks for an update. That was three weeks ago, I sent a follow up a week ago and no word. Should I take this as a rejection and move on? I REALLY want this position.

    1. This is tough! I understand your frustration but you have to remember that the hiring process takes place in dog years more than people years! When they say 2 weeks, they mean probably a month. It’s not that they don’t intend for the most optimistic date – but that’s exactly what they’re giving you the “in a perfect world and no other schedules to consider and no additional work that will come in and no personal event will get in my way” date. So, it’s great that you want the position, but just be patient and consume yourself with pursuing other options with a vengeance! Also, read the blog post called “How to follow up without being a pest” for ideas on additional follow up you can do.

  2. Not only are companies not hiring or in any hurry to hire, but you will see some job postings for up to 150 days on the same job boards. Its not that companies can not find the right people, but many are relegated to the fact that they are doing more with less and companies are waiting to see which administration is going to take over in Nov 2012. The hiring process is brutal as local management ie branch managers can not go out an hire their own staff w/o their regional or their managers, most who live either in another city in the same state or out state can view the candidate and that is what takes so longe in almost 2/3 of all instances. Local management does not have the authority to hire for an open position when it comes to sales, marketing or a position that pays a wage above what a warehouse / driver makes.

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