Why Does the Hiring Process Take So Long?

Posted March 25, 2014 by Guest Writer in Building Your Brand
Why So Long

Why does the hiring process take so long? Let’s get straight-to-the-point to answer the question on so many job seekers’ minds:

What part of the hiring process takes the longest for internal recruiters and staffing agencies?

The longest part of the hiring process is the interview process. It is common these days for there to be multiple interviews, even for a temporary (contract) job. Often the first interview conducted by a hiring manager is a phone interview, and if that goes well, it will be followed by a face-to-face interview with the staffing agency or hiring company. There may be one or two weeks between these interviews.

How often and how should candidates follow up with a recruiter or hiring manager after an interview?

  1.  Send a thank-you note. Every candidate should send a thank you note to everyone they talked to within 24 hours of an interview, whether it was by phone or face-to-face. The thank you note can be sent via email, and if you don’t know the interviewers email address, ask your recruiter.
  2. Follow up with the recruiter. After an interview with the hiring company, the candidate should immediately follow up with their recruiter to discuss how the interview went. The recruiter will then follow up with the hiring manager for specific feedback about the candidate. Candidates should know, however, that all too frequently, hiring managers don’t give specific feedback but instead say vague things like, “not a good culture fit”, “not the right personality”, “didn’t have the skills we were looking for”, or “we want to see other candidates”. The candidate should follow up with the recruiter – not directly with the hiring manager (except for the thank you note).

What should candidates expect from recruiters/hiring managers after an interview?

Feedback from a hiring manager is hard to get. A staffing firm recruiter will try hard to get feedback from the hiring company, but be understanding if they cannot. A staffing firm recruiter views specific feedback as gold, because they can then coach the candidate on what removed them from the viable candidate list to improve for future interviews. If the hiring company rejects you as a candidate, your recruiter will still consider you for other job opportunities as they open up, so keep in touch with your recruiter regularly (monthly).

What is the responsibility of recruiters to contact candidates who have interviewed?

One of the biggest frustrations of job seekers is that they never get acknowledgment that a company has received their resume after they apply to a job. Your staffing firm should acknowledge every applicant but many do not. A staffing firm recruiter’s responsibility is to try to get detailed feedback from the hiring company after a candidate interview. Recruiters are NOT responsible for finding another job for a candidate if the one they interview for falls through. Recruiters recruit people for jobs, they don’t recruit jobs for people. It would be impossible to find a job for the hundreds of thousands of job seekers out there.

How long can the hiring process with a staffing firm take from initial resume submission to contract signing?

A candidate might send their resume to a staffing firm, but not get a call about a possible job for months or even years. You might apply for one of their jobs today, but you weren’t the right fit. Your resume will stay in that staffing firm’s database, and when new jobs open up, that’s the first place the recruiter goes to find viable candidates, so you could get a call long after you applied to that initial job.

What do staffing firms ask of candidates?

If you apply and ARE a good fit, you will probably be asked to sign the staffing firm’s contract. These contracts will prohibit the candidate from applying to the job directly from their client (the hiring company). This contract should NOT prohibit you from working with many staffing firms. If it does try to prohibit that, do NOT sign it.

Can it take longer to hear back from a recruiter within a company versus one at a staffing agency?

If a candidate is viable, you will get a response from a staffing firm recruiter or a hiring company quickly, often in a day but usually no longer than a week. If two weeks go by and you haven’t heard from them, you can assume that compared to the other candidates, you weren’t the strongest match.

What, if anything, can candidates do to hear back about an interview quicker?

The candidate should ask for feedback the day after their interview. You might not get it, but asking for it shows your continued interest in the position. If you cannot get feedback from that outreach, try again in a week.


About the author: Judi Wunderlich has been a leading recruiter for over 20 years. In 2009 she co-founded the WunderLand Group, a staffing and recruiting firm which focuses on contract and full time job opportunities in Marketing, Advertising, and Digital Design & Development. WunderLand has offices in Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Connecticut. Judi’s position allows her a unique view of hiring trends, and she has written about and spoken at numerous conferences on hiring, career trends, and the use of social media for job seekers and hiring managers alike. Connect with Judi on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.

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