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Please Hold: Hiring Process Gets Longer and Longer

Please Hold: Hiring Process Gets Longer and Longer
Credit: Baranq/Shutterstock

If it seems like it's taking longer than ever to go through the job-interview process, it's because it is.

It takes 22.9 days for a candidate to progress through the hiring process in the United States, an increase of more than 10 days since 2010, according to a new study from Glassdoor Economic Research.

However, compared to the rest of the world, that is one of the quickest times for the hiring process. Only job candidates in Canada report shorter hiring times, 22.1 days on average, while it takes between 27.9 and 31.9 days to go through the process in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia.

"Right now, hiring delays can represent money left on the table both for workers and employers," Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor chief economist, said in a statement.

The study, which was based on data from more than 340,000 interview reviews by job candidates on Glassdoor between 2009 and 2014, evaluated four key areas: average hiring process time in the past year, changes over time, factors that have contributed to delays and why changes occurred. In addition, the research looked at these four areas by company size, job title, metro location and sector.

The new employee-screening methods that employers are instituting have played a major role in the increased times. For example, in the United States, the number of employers conducting candidate background checks has grown from 25 percent in 2010 to 42 percent in 2014. Other hiring screening techniques that have become more common in recent years include skills tests, drug tests and personality tests.

The researchers discovered that each of these employer "screens" added a statistically significant amount to the average time required for candidates to go through the hiring process. In some instances, a screen added a full week to the process. [4 Surefire Ways to Impress a Hiring Manager]

Employer size and sector also affect hiring times. The duration of the hiring process for businesses with fewer than 50 employees is about 15 days, compared to less than 25 days for businesses with more than 100,000 workers.

The researchers said several reasons account for the longer times found at larger businesses. First, big companies tend to hire more specialized and technical workers, and this requires more careful screening of applicants.

"Second is the problem of growing bureaucracy: Larger organizations typically have more administrative layers of candidate review and approval, markedly slowing down hiring decisions," the study's authors wrote.

When it comes to industries, government job candidates report the longest hiring process, at 60.4 days in the United States, while franchise candidates secure jobs the fastest, at just 10.6 days.

The length of the hiring process also differs by position. Jobs with the longest process were typically government, academic or senior-executive positions. In the United States, police officers report the longest process, at 127.6 days, followed by patent examiners, at 87.6 days; assistant professors, at 58.7 days; senior vice presidents, at 55.5 days; and program analysts, at 51.8 days.

The shortest hiring times were for entry-level marketing employees, at 3.9 days; entry-level sales representatives, at 5.4 days; servers and bartenders, at 5.7 days; entry-level account managers, at 5.9 days; and dishwashers, at 6.9 days.

"In recent years, a growing number of studies in economics show a marked shift away from low-skilled, routine jobs and toward higher-skilled, less-routine positions requiring judgment and technical skills," the study's authors wrote. "To the extent that more-complex jobs require longer hiring times, this shift in the composition of job titles throughout the economy will be a contributing factor toward growing interview durations observed in the data."

Specific candidate characteristics do not affect hiring times, however, the research found. The study shows that gender, age and highest level of education have zero statistical impact on the length of the hiring process.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.