Vacancies have a shelf life

by Elizabeth Barnard18 Mar 2014
Research has confirmed what until now many HR professionals have suspected, but couldn’t prove – if a role goes unfilled for three months, people start to assume there’s something wrong with it.

Research carried out by international recruitment and consultancy firm Randstad identified a phenomenon whereby after 72 working days, or 15 weeks, selling a role becomes much like selling a property – the longer it sits on the market the less desirable it seems to potential takers.

On the other side of the fence, recruitment consultants were asked what is the ideal length of time was to fill a vacancy. Balancing the time needed to secure the best candidate for the job and the need to for organisations to fill a skills gap, the poll found that 35 days was the ideal timeframe. Although candidates won’t start to actually judge a job negatively until the vacancy’s been advertised for 72 days, the ideal time to fill the role is in fact half of that period.

And according to one recruitment expert, the best applicant is often the one who turns up early in the process. “The trick is not to turn that person down just because the vacancy’s only been open a couple of weeks. If employers see the right person on the first day of interviews, they need to have the courage of their convictions and hire the candidate straight away. If they don’t, they have to be prepared to see that job seeker walk into the arms of a competitor who is willing to move faster,” Mark Bull, UK CEO of Randstad said.


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