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Why do hiring decisions take such a long time?

Why do hiring decisions take such a long time?Seems like they can get strung out over weeks and months - and frequently they won't even get back to you once they have passed you over. What's up?


Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP Operations and Finance
Company: VP / CFO - Private Company
(VP Operations and Finance, VP / CFO - Private Company) |

Hiring Decisions – What the Heck is Taking so Long?

What candidate has not asked the question “What’s taking them so long to make a decision?”

We all have been in the situation where you (and other candidates) have the skills to fill a role and the company has expressed a need to find someone with your skills.

So what’s going on when days, weeks and months go by and the decision is still pending (the word ‘pending’ is important, not hearing right away does not mean the role will not be filled – I had a 6 month delay for a job).

I believe that in every hire there are a series of questions that each company needs to answer. If they skip a question, then the hiring process goes on hold, until it is answered.

The link below has a full summary, but in short, here is what I have learned from being on both sides of the hiring decision as to what questions need to be asked:

ONE: Who needs to be involved in the decision? (The office politics wheels spinning on this one!)

TWO: Do we need this position?

THREE: Who should manage the role?

FOUR: Can we reorganize instead of hiring? (Again, the office politics wheels spin)

FIVE: What duties will the position cover? (Never assume it’s the same as before)

SIX: What skills are needed for the role?

SEVEN: Do we have the budget/how are our current financials? (Poor quarterly results may delay a hiring)

EIGHT: Who do we know that can fill the role – internal or external?

NINE: Do we use a recruiter or job board?

TEN: Who needs to interview the candidates?

ELEVEN: Who makes the final hiring decision?

I don’t write these questions to discourage you, but instead to help set your expectations. If you listen to the comments from the company and/or their recruiter, you will get a good sense of how far they have worked through this list of questions. The closer to the bottom of this list, the sooner you should expect a decision.

Every company works at their own pace and style, so when you network try to understand their hiring process – it will help you avoid some frustration and anxiety.

See the Resource on Proformative: Hiring Process – What Takes So Long?

Good luck today!

Mark Richards

Topic Expert
Scott MacDonald
Title: President/Owner
Company: AlphaMac Resources, Inc.
(President/Owner, AlphaMac Resources, Inc.) |

Personnally, if a company takes more than a week or two to make a decision, I don't want to work at that company. It shows an inability to make decisions in a timely fashion. Weak decision making ability is deadly in todays economy. Harsh? Maybe.

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

I agree with you. Companies have a tendency to weed out resumes by "requiring" certain things in their job postings that are not relevant to the position. Well, I have ways of weeding out companies I want to work for and one of them is if they can't seem to make a hiring decision in a timely fashion, I'm not interested.

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP Operations and Finance
Company: VP / CFO - Private Company
(VP Operations and Finance, VP / CFO - Private Company) |

Scott/Dan - I think if most companies have answered these questions then making a decision is pretty straightforward and can happen fast.

What's usually the case is they just start before they are ready, so the process hits the slow lane when they have to answer the questions.

I agree with you both that if a company simply waffles on proceeding - I'm with you - it's a sign of bigger issues.

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