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Companies are taking longer to extend job offers, survey finds

Many companies have been in growth mode throughout 2015, focusing on key strategic hires to support their expansion. While an average of 230,000 new jobs were created monthly in the overall labour market, the hiring process has slowed in the executive, managerial and professional sector, according to new data from the 2015 2nd half edition of the MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study.  


The biannual employment landscape survey, which polled 446 MRINetwork worldwide recruiters, reveals it is now taking longer for candidates to receive an offer; 3-6 weeks from the candidate’s first interview, compared to 1-4 weeks in previous years of the survey. Lengthy hiring practices are common among many employers, but further extension of the process suggests that recruitment may be competing with employee retention efforts. Employers are now faced with making fundamental changes to prevent their talent management efforts from outweighing recruitment of the brightest talent in 2016 and beyond.


An extensive, drawn-out approach to hiring is a protective measure that many companies have kept from the recession, but it is no longer effective to recruit top candidates who expect a swifter process. This is particularly the case in the executive, managerial and professional labour market, which has become increasingly candidate-driven since 2011, and in 2015 reached an all-time high.  Remaining unchanged from survey findings in the first half of 2015, 90% of respondents feel the sector is candidate-driven.  In this environment, top candidates have the advantage, because they typically have multiple job offers, and the ability to reject less desirable work opportunities.


As the hiring process lengthens, rejected job offers continue to rise and a growing number of companies are losing shortlisted candidates who decide to join other organisations. According to the survey, 44% of participants listed “accepted another offer” as the primary reason for offer rejections, up from 37% in the first half of 2015.  The close relationship between the time to hire and the availability of skilled candidates was further supported by recruiter insight about what is holding managers back from holding. Lengthy hiring practices (27%) and an inability to find suitable talent (31%) were listed as the top reasons keeping managers from hiring.


Although the study results demonstrate the labour market is highly favourable toward top performers in the executive, managerial and professional space, recruitment and retention will continue to be challenging for overall hiring as the job market expands. MRINetwork says that employers who truly want to expand their teams, and not feel burdened by retention issues, will need to create modern, full-cycle practices that look at recruitment and talent management strategies as an inter-connected process, rather than two separate efforts.


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