Key Talent Acquisition Metric, Time to Fill a Position, is at 13-Year High

kyleowen Corporate Recruiting, Staffing

Talent acquisition professionals should pay attention to several recent reports on the job market. One is a report released last Tuesday from the Labor Department on the state of domestic job openings and turnover. That report showed more job openings in the country on the last day of June than at any point since February 2001. As of the last day in June, there were 4.7 million job openings. The report also found 2.7 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in June. Many of these people left their employers specifically to take another position.

Additionally, the time to fill open positions is at an average of about 25 days nationwide, according to the Dice-DFH Vacancy Duration Measure. This is the longest vacancy period the measure has recorded in the 13 years of its existence. On average, it took 24.9 working days to fill a position in June – nine days longer than what it took at the recession’s peak in July 2009, ERE.net reported.

The picture that all of these statistics paint is one of a job market in which it takes a long time to fill a position and in which some jobs ultimately do not get filled.

What Can Recruiters Do?
With positions taking longer to fill than they have in more than a decade, recruiters have a difficult task. It is already widely acknowledged that this is a job seeker’s market and top talent is harder to come by. Explanations vary for this phenomenon – some point to a skills gap, which is supported by data from the likes of The Wall Street Journal and The Brookings Institute. Some, principally Peter Cappelli, professor of management and director of the center for human resources at Wharton, believe it is a matter of recruiters and hiring managers having inflexibly high standards.

Regardless of its cause, the state of the job market today demands action from recruiters. To win over top talent and fill vacancies in a reasonable amount of time, talent acquisition professionals need new strategies. Courting candidates (just as sales departments nurture leads with marketing tactics) is a plan of action aligned to the reality of the job market now. Managing relationships with candidates as though they were prospective customers respects and acknowledges how many choices they have – and that companies need to work to win them over, not the other way around.

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