Holding Out for a Better Candidate

It’s no secret the economy is slowly getting better. Corporate profits are up, the housing market is rebounding, and more companies are hiring, as evidenced by the gradual decline in the unemployment rate.

Despite all those positive indicators, employers are being uncharacteristically slow in filling identified job openings. That’s not to say they don’t advertise the openings or interview interested candidates. They just take an inordinate amount of time making up their mind about whom to bring onboard.

According to the Department of Labor, job vacancies are staying unfilled an average of 23 business days. That’s considerably longer than the 15 day average in mid-2009.

Just why are employers being so choosy, indecisive, or cautious? A number of theories abound:

  • Skills Mismatch – We’ve all heard that U.S. colleges and universities are not graduating enough people with the right skills for the jobs of the future. Without enough qualified individuals, job openings are likely to remain vacant far longer than an employer would like.
  • Fear of Downsizing – You can’t blame employers for being a little gun shy after the tough economic times of the past several years. Recruiting and training a new employee is an expensive proposition, one which employers would rather not undertake only to let that individual go a few scant months later. So they end up holding off on filling open positions as long as possible, as they seek to reassure themselves they will be able to keep the new employee long enough to justify the expense.
  • Waiting on an All-Star – Many employers are holding off on hiring “just anybody”. Instead, they are subscribing to the theme of the popular 1980s song “Holding Out for a Hero”. Now that the economy has improved, people are getting more comfortable leaving their current employers. They no longer feel the need to cling to the familiar. That has led many employers to wait until star performers make themselves available to new opportunities.

These are all good reasons for holding off on making any hasty hiring decisions. The question is: Should you wait for a better candidate or simply hire the best person in your current pool of candidates? The answer is highly individualized. On the one hand, hiring is costly, so it’s always best to make sure you bring the right person onboard. You want someone who will exceed expectations, inspire their coworkers, and bolster your bottom line. But if a key job sits empty too long, mission-critical responsibilities either won’t be performed or will be split up amongst a bunch of employees who may or may not have what it takes to successfully perform them. Even if they have the chops, they will be stretched even thinner than at the height of the economic crisis. The end result may be less-than-satisfactory performance across the board.

Need help finding the best candidates? Contact High Profile Staffing today.