Many employers choose to partner with Michael Page because they are finding the time it takes to fill a position is longer than ever before. Job placement took about 15 days five years ago but the average time to fill a position now is about 23 business days, according to The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Alex Hall, Regional Director for Michael Page Digital, says the reason for this increase in ‘time to fill’ is primarily the improvement in the market since the economic downturn which took place at the end of 2008. The improving economic climate means the balance between available jobs and job seekers has tipped in the job seekers’ favour. Many more jobs are available with fewer candidates competing for them. This means that companies need to streamline recruitment processes and sell themselves to candidates in order to recruit the best talent.

We’ve listed the top three factors that are affecting the time to recruit for and fill positions below.

1. Fear of a bad hire

Hiring the wrong person costs employers time and money, so it’s no wonder businesses are wary of employing someone unsuitable for their role. Additional costs involved with turnover include compensation, the cost of training, learning and development, disruption costs, and missed business opportunities. Hall says that ‘time to fill’ also depends on what type of job it is; the more specialist/niche the role is, the longer it will take to find the right candidate for the job. We researched the status of the UK’s specialist skills and the importance of hiring the right people for your roles. 

2. Low quality candidates

Research shows that many job seekers view their own employability skills highly, however employers find when it comes down to it they lack the skills to perform the roles. According to a survey from Bryant & Stratton College Online and Wakefield Research, 80% of 18-34 year olds feel they are “job ready and possess all the skills, experience, and education needed to advance in their desired career path or obtain their next job”. However, 40% of employers said that most entry-level job candidates lack the basic skills necessary to fill open positions. At Michael Page, we hold assessment days and competency based interviews to ensure the shortlist of candidates we supply our clients meets their brief.

3. Long interview process

With the fear of a bad hire, the interview process seems to be getting longer and longer, with candidates sometimes interviewing five or six times for one job. This shift has resulted in an increase in candidate drop off as the whole process can take up to a year – and many high-quality candidates aren’t willing to wait that long if they receive other offers. As much as 60% of candidates don't receive updates about the interview process at all, according to a survey by mystery applicant.

Hall recommends that companies be clear on what they want to assess in their interview process and who needs to be involved at the outset. This will mean the recruitment process is more likely to be completed in two or three phases rather than six or seven. He also raises the point that the quicker hiring managers make themselves available for interviews and feedback, the faster they’ll fill the position. As the economic climate improves, companies will need to increase their appeal to top candidates and part of that is streamlining hiring processes.


The best way to circumvent unsuitable candidates is by using a reputable recruitment company who can source the best talent on the market and from their database. Michael Page takes the pressure off you, making sure the candidates you interview have been vetted, are high quality and are suited to the job.

Find great candidates today – submit a job spec or contact your local Michael page office.

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