Why it Takes Forever for an Employer to Get Back to You

employer From an employer's point of view, it's an embarrassment of riches, or option overload, if you will. Hiring managers are now taking up to twice as long to fill positions, not because they're having trouble finding viable candidates, but because there are so many good prospects out there, they're afraid that once they make their decision, an even better candidate will come along.

It's the same principle a lot of people use when looking for a spouse. "If I settle down with him/her today, what if someone even better turns up tomorrow?" With so many job candidates out there, you can hardly blame those doing the hiring.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, positions that formerly took two months to fill are now taking four months, and five to six people are being called in for second interviews, where in 2007 it was more like two or three.

These days, HR managers are leaving job postings up longer, and allowing resumes to sit on their desks for more time, simply because they can. "I look at it this way: I've survived all this time without someone in this new position," says Randy Thompson, a small business owner in the Los Angeles area. "I'm not going to fill it until I find the absolute, perfect fit. I'll take my chances on losing the ideal candidate to someone else because I waited too long. The fact is, there are lots of ideal candidates out there right now."

In essence, it's a buyer's market for employers. But that's not necessarily a bad thing for you. Here's why:

  • If you somehow missed a juicy job ad and didn't apply within 24 hours, or even a week of it posting, don't worry -- chances are it's still open.
  • Hope lasts longer; don't give up on a potential employer just because they didn't get back to you in a week or two.
  • You have more time to create momentum. Ever notice how once you get one interview, others start popping up as well?
  • Once they finally make you an offer, you know they're that much more committed to you, because they took a great deal of time and effort to find you, and they won't want to go through the whole thing again in the near future.
  • Two can play at this game -- you have more time to consider your options, so you'll have a firmer conviction that this job is right for you, and that a better one is not going to come along right after you've signed a contract with this one.

You may be anxious to start working again, but remember: Employers are just being careful, discriminating shoppers, and this gives you the chance to do the same.

Next: Find Your Next Employer, Top 10 Companies Hiring

Related Stories from CNN Money

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Mike Smith

Oh don't I know this....4 months to jump through hoop after hoop after hoop for some middle of the road job that will just barley keep my family alive, then these jerk offs come back at me with, well "how come you have been unemployed for 4 months".....gee I wonder why nut sack?

May 06 2013 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dear Rebettzin Mandell, we here at the New York Times do so appreciate your experience at AOL; however, despite the fact that we are bleeding money and that journalism is not doing so well, we've received numerous resumes for the same position. Keep at it, champ!

March 28 2012 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Metal Gear

and then they bitch and moan about "work history" when they take forever to hire.

November 22 2011 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For example: Rotten Apple just opened a new division over in Copertino, CA X to Vallco Shopping Center, and from seeing what's coming and going from the place you'd be hard up to spot an American worker among them. NO, These corporations are lying through their teeth...They are only interested in hiring...What people falsly believe are cheap H1b or L1 Visa workers. Ever know of ANYONE able to live out in Silicon Valley, CA driving BMW's and Lexus cars making peanuts? Maybe you should get a little more educated as to what is happening here. Who wouldn't like "Free rent" for up to a year or more..All paid for by the corporation sponsoring you to come work here?
How about a corporate car tossed in with "Free gas"...And all you have to do is use this car to bring some of your homeboys to work since they don't drive..YET! How would you like "Free Transpiration cards issued to you so you could ride our bus and rail systems to and from work?
Oh, this list goes on and on...How about a corporate issued credit card where you'd pay little to no interst on? How about a cool food allowance monthly. ALL TAX DEDUCTIONS for these corporations out here laying off our American workers.

March 09 2011 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Want to know what "still looking" means to me...They're having trouble with the phone lines over in Mumbai.

March 09 2011 at 3:38 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

My husband "three college degrees in engineering" he's been through the job hunting mill, yet, even if he somehow did get any reply back at all..It's always the same SOS "YOUR OVER QUALIFIED".
We're past the 99er's, heading now to the 200er's now I would assume.

March 09 2011 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You know what I'm thinking Maddunn, You could save yourself a lot of trouble by going straight to the source of what these corporation are truly looking for today..But you'd have to relocate offshore.

March 09 2011 at 3:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with "still looking". I am a headhunter by profession and I have seen over and over again how employers ask the headhunter to hurry up and find a candidate, yet that candidate, even though well qualified, will have to wait months to be responded to. Numerous phone calls are made back and forth to appease the waiting candidate. The client never gives a firm yes or no, yet the headhunter is expected to maintain the interest of the candidate.

Obviously at one time or the other, the employer was on the other end of the hiring process, but it seems as though they have forgotten how it feels to be ignored.

Unlike a marriage that is ideally supposed to last, employment no longer lasts until retirement. Many excellent candidates change jobs every three to five years. That isn't a negative any longer. Fresh ideas can be brought into each company the candidate moves onto. Many times loyalty no longer exists on the part of the employer either. In most companies these days, the employee is just a number and when cost cutting occurs, their jobs are cut without warning.

There are lots of great candidates who can't find work and there are companies who could benefit from hiring them. Go back to the basics. If you have too many resumes, you have too many choices. Take the top five, interview them and make a decision. Move forward. How do you think it looks to the candidate that the HR department or the hiring manager can't make a decision? That would red flag that company for me. I would know that when it was time for me to get a raise, it may not materialize for months or if I needed a critical hire, it may take months to materialize.

The other point is simple. It may seem as though the employer can have the attitude that the position has been open long enough already so what's the hurry. The position is open for a reason. That means others are handling the burden of filling in for the existing responsibilities, the position really wasn't worth filling, or the president of the company is unaware of how much potential revenue their company may be losing as a result of the position still being vacant.

There is no perfect employee and no perfect employer. Regardless, manners work both ways. The candidate deserves the courtesy of being responded to. The employer needs to be a decision maker, not a procrastinator. They hire headhunters to get potential candidates excited about a position and then just hang the candidates out to dry so to speak. Even when a candidate finds a position on his/her own, the same thing tends to happen.

This happens regardless of whether the headhunter is working on a retained or contingency basis. Many times the same treatment applies. If the headhunter is ethical, yes, they are working to fill a position so they can make a living, but hopefully their reputations mean far more to them than the almighty dollar. Pet Peeve of mine when employers do not get back to their candidates!!!

March 09 2011 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Still Looking

Okay, so we (the unemployed) are supposed to accept being ignored, unacknowledged, and passed by as a compliment? I think not. I find so many hiring managers lack of manners and ethics to be a disgrace. How difficult is it to send a generic email stating that the position was filled, or another candidate possessed a more fitting background. Not taking calls and putting job seekers on "status ignore" does not build a positive image for any company seeking a strong workforce. Karma can be a real b*#ch, you know? How sad is it that an opinion made by someone not even working for a company can be so negative? If this is how they treat their potential employees, what does it say about the satisfaction level of staff they currently have in place?

March 09 2011 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ask Lisa Johnson Mandell if she has a "9 to 5" J.O.B. Looks like there's some cash to be made by becoming a freelance writer or "expert".

March 09 2011 at 5:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web