Are Employers Holding Off on Hiring the Perfect Employee?

employee screening, employee background checkAhead of tomorrow’s Bureau of Labor Statistics April jobs report, private staffing firm ADP released their National Employment Report for April, which indicates that U.S employment continues to improve—but slowly. Employers added 179,000 jobs in April, bringing total employment to a level 1.35% above April 2010.

While April’s figure was down from 207,000 added jobs in March, and lower than the increase of 198,000 predicted by the Bloomberg survey, it appears that the bottom has been reached, and the trend is toward recovery. Small to mid-sized service providers are growing the most jobs, adding 138,000 in April, while goods-producing jobs remain stagnant with just 41,000 additional jobs.

But are employers themselves the reason for slow job recovery? Are they holding off on filling open positions? Some studies seem to indicate exactly that. Employers are not cutting jobs at the same rates they did in 2010, but they’re not in any hurry to fill job openings. According to the Conference Board, a research organization, the number of job openings advertised online has grown to 4.2 million, continuing a trend that began in the spring of 2009.

4.2 million jobs waiting to be filled, and only 179,000 jobs added in April? The problem seems to be a hesitation on the part of employers to commit to hiring. Recruiters say it takes longer to find qualified candidates, and even longer to get them hired. Hiring cycles that used to last two months are now stretching into six or even eight months.

One recruiter said that hiring managers are not only taking longer to hire; they are holding out for better candidates. Companies are bringing in between five and six candidates for second-round interviews—twice as many as in 2007. And once they identify the perfect hire, they start over. The thinking is that if there is one great candidate, there must be 10 more even better.

The frustrations for job seekers must be incredible. Plenty of companies have good jobs open and ready to fill, but they are taking 180 days instead of the 60 to make a commitment. They want each hire to be the perfect hire. And when there are plenty of candidates to choose from, what’s the hurry?

If you’ve found the perfect candidate, don’t overlook proper background screening. The best pre-employment screening process includes employee background checks, employee credit checks, and criminal background checks. You’ll know you’re hiring safe when you screen employees before offering a position.

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