How Long a Job’s Open Before You Think There’s Something Wrong With it

Oct 5, 2012
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

logo-generalIf you’ve ever shopped for a house, you know that after a certain number of days on the market, you start to wonder, “What’s wrong with this house?”

Something like that goes on with jobs. After a certain point, some folks ask themselves, “why hasn’t this job been filled?”

That point is somewhere around 72 days.

Randstad asked 2,000 people, “How many working days does a vacancy for a permanent job have to be open before it starts to look like a bad job that no one wants?”

The average was about 15 weeks, or about 72 working days. Of course, it depends on the job and on who’s answering the question. Older people, for example, tended to think jobs should be filled more quickly. Allied Health professionals say that jobs get stale after 83 days. IT respondents averaged 67 days. Construction/property/engineering: 71 days.

Randstad professionals — those consulting and working on searches for Randstad — also answered the question about the ideal time to fill a job … too long, and it looks like there’s a problem with the job; too short, and perhaps you didn’t do a good search. They thought, on average, that 35 days was the sweet spot.

“The best applicant is often the one who turns up early in the process,” says Mark Bull, UK CEO of Randstad. “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.”

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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