The insider's edge on job search & hiring™

Unemployment 3.7%, slow-down in hiring up 84%


For a flat fee, an employer that’s hiring can get over 9 million resumes from ZipRecruiter. That’s great news, because with unemployment in the U.S. at record lows (3.7% in July 2019), employers need more job applicants!

Not. Actually, employers are drowning in resumes and job applicants.

News I want you to use

The HCM Technology Report says Indecisive Hiring Managers Cause Employers to Lose Talent. Do ya think???

“In 2018, hiring managers took 33 days to make an offer after interviewing a candidate. That’s an 84 percent increase compared to 2010. The extended timeframe led to a 16 percent reduction in accepted offers.”

What changed in 8 years? An employer can get over 9 million resumes for a few bucks.

And you wonder why hiring managers take forever to decide whether to hire you? More jobs stay vacant longer because HR and hiring managers are so overwhelmed with wrong job applicants that they can’t decide who are the good ones.

What hiring slow-down means to job seekers

  • You need to account for poor management when you interview for a job.
  • You should avoid the cattle call of the job boards.

What this means to employers

HCM says:

“Companies that encourage decisive behavior by hiring managers reduce time-to-fill by 17 percent.”

“Hiring managers should spend more time engaging with candidates. This is critical… because candidates trust hiring managers four times as much as they trust recruiters.”

Maybe HR departments should turn off the fire hose of resumes and teach hiring managers how to hire.

There’s lots more news you can use in the HCM Technology Report.

How long did it take to get hired or rejected by the last employer that interviewed you? Did the hiring manager seem to know what they were doing?

: :

  1. Last job offer was extended in 2 weeks (I turned it down).

    Current job: They let me know things looked good at the end of the interview, let me know at the end of the week they wanted me, and the manager called me each week to let me know the status. I’ve been there for 3 years. I have a new manager that I don’t like as well, so we will see.

    Last interview: I found out they didn’t want me in 3 days. (Helped by a retained recruiter who tried to get feedback that the company did not provide, and they usually do – I suspect age discrimination.)

    I am waiting with a couple of companies to see what they want to do next.

    Currently working with a mentor to start my own company in the hopefully not too distant future. Maybe I’ll hire myself!

    • Job before this one: Offered on the spot with a 66% raise.

    • Follow-up on job opportunities I was waiting to hear about: They turned me down.

      • Sorry to hear it. On to the next!

  2. I always assume that if I don’t hear anything in a week or so, I’m not getting an offer or moving on to the next step. And “anything” could be, well, anything, even a quick email or text saying that they’re still working on things.

    More than once, I’ve fielded a call from a recruiter or hiring manager who sounds kind of shocked that I already accepted a position elsewhere when they’re calling to see if I’m still interested in a position I interviewed for weeks ago or longer…..and, of course, got static afterwards.

    Get to the market early for the best produce or you’ll be sorting through bruised fruit in the afternoon.

    • @Chris: The article suggests there are a lot of employers left with an empty bag for their slow decision making.

  3. On top of this topic, take a look at this type of resume that Gen Z is now pushing out (yep, with bitemojis!).

  4. I have no doubt that the post-interview process is being dragged out (though I don’t have recent first-hand experience with that because I can’t even get an interview to shag carts at Home Depot). But it seems absurd on the face of it for hiring managers to be scapegoated. It’s a case of blaming the victim.

    HR OWNS the hiring process from beginning to end, their coup to seize control having succeeded. Hiring managers only get to see resumes HR passes on to them and HR often has veto power over who gets an offer. HR has done everything to remove the influence of hiring managers as much as possible, and now they get their paid puppets at Garner to trounce out a bogus “study” that recommends that the role of hiring managers be reduced even further? Unbelievable.

    • @Bill: Check this, which I mentioned in the call-out box in the column:

      But yah, we’ve gotta follow the money back to HR. Interesting suggestion that this could all be a loaded study, like the one Indeed commissioned that shows Indeed fills 65% of hires!

      • @Nick: I remember that post well. Both the post and the vast majority of comments were spot on (with the exception of the one from the HR flunky). My concern is that it’s increasing difficult (or nearly impossible) for hiring managers in most companies with a well-established HR bureaucracy to cut HR out of the process. HR is very powerful, are driven by a political agenda, and seek total control. Dissent is not tolerated, and if you try to cross them you’d better start looking for another job. HR thinks hiring managers are inherently biased and discriminatory (crush the “old boy network” of connections and network–only HR can be “objective,” because compliance uber Alles).

        I imagine that HR’s power and influence over hiring does end at some higher level up the chain of command and seniority. Higher level people are happy to let the lower level managers be subjected to HR, but they won’t put up with it themselves.

        The way the game is rigged right now with online ads and applications there are far too many applicants and resumes to review. This situation likely serves to discourage many hiring managers from taking control. HR will shreek, “You don’t like the job we do!!?!?!?!? Fine, you go through 1000 resumes! Ha!” The solution is to require all resumes to be sent via snail mail on resume quality paper along with a cover letter (and to allow people to use references and their network).

        At many companies, I suspect that a counter-coup in the form of a strike by like-minded managers would be necessary to bring HR to heel. Form a “hiring manager” union with the sole demand being that HR does no screening and makes no decisions.

        In dealing with HR, everybody needs to follow Benjamin Franklin’s advice: “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

        • @Bill: If hiring managers had to handle recruiting and candidate evaluations (“those resumes”), I think the job boards would go out of business because managers would never tolerate 5,000 incoming applications or resumes — they have actual work to do! HR, on the other hand, creates work when there are more resumes to process.

          It would be a self-limiting change. Fewer candidates is GOOD.

          • @Nick: You mean the way things worked (and worked well) before the I-net and HR’s coup? Sedition! The Supreme High Priestesses and lesser Priests of HR will announce your punishment shortly.

  5. Of course, it depends how they are counting the unemployed:

    • @Borne: That’s an outstanding video!

  6. I can’t understand how an HR clerk could really be competent in hiring if they have not one iota of experience in the field of the company? How can they even understand what’s required, or how to interpret the candidates skill set and how will it help the company. I’m back in the saddle trying to look for a job again. I do not want to jump through needless hoops. So I am using your tips Nick, and everything in between.

    • @SAG: I submit that your observations apply not only to the HR clerk, but to the managers, directors, and VP’s of “Talent Acquistion” who also have no experience (or even education) in the field or discipline in question.

      • I remember being shocked that someone could actually get a four-year degree in HR. Not sure what they teach during those four years but it isn’t working. My wife and I were in a restaurant a couple of years ago and overheard a conversation between a group of new high school grads who were going to be majoring in HR that Fall. From what we heard, I’m not hopeful for the future of job search.

  7. While HR is definitely guilty of gumming up the works in hiring and turning the whole process into a clerical matching exercise, I have many experiences where the company didn’t even have HR in place or HR wasn’t on the frontline of the recruiting process and it was still protracted and painful because of the hiring manager and/or the roster of people that make up their stakeholder hiring committee.

    A former boss of mine, someone in the C suite, mind you, emailed me a few months ago to complain that many months after posting a job, her and her stakeholder hiring committee hadn’t found anyone suitable to make an offer to. Really? Makes you wonder how necessary that role is if it can be allowed to sit unfilled for close to a year. But it also underscores how weak and ineffectual many managers today can be. And they think it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to behave that way! Personally, I’d be embarrassed if it were me.

    What responsibility does a hiring manager have over sourcing and hiring for a role that reports directly to them? I’d say a lot. However, observing them these past few years, I’d say we’re in a post-‘taking responsibility’ era where managers are managers in name only and the preferred method of hiring is a frictionless Uber-like experience where they can always blame the algo or committee or some other external body for the delay or wrong decision.

    • @EM: Thanks for saying it. Hiring is a manager’s #1 job.

    • One of my wife’s former employers (a place I’d interviewed before she worked there) had a performance review item for all managers: how long were open positions open. I thought it interesting that management at least understood what having a position open for an extended period does to the rest of the members of the team who risk burnout if the company drags its feet in the hiring process.

  8. With HR dominating the hiring process in most companies, it’s also harder to network your way into a job. HR simply won’t let a manager’s preferred hire get hired that way. They make it so ALL hires MUST go through whatever process HR wants.

    The only exceptions are when the boss is *very* high in the hierarchy and HR wouldn’t dare interfere. Most people do not have access to bosses at that level.

    All of this shuts a lot of people out of jobs.

    • @Margarets: What’s astonishing is that management doesn’t realize this also makes it harder to fill jobs!

      • True, but my wish is for society to get the message and stop recommending networking as a superior job-search strategy. It’s very hard to pull off when HR actively tries to stop it.

        I think most of the time senior management doesn’t even realize HR is doing this.

    • I’ve been through this process. Recruiter contacts me as I have the background the hiring manager is looking for. Phone call with the hiring manager goes very well. But… I still need to apply online before he can do anything. So I jump through the ATS hoops and… crickets.

  9. Applied to one position in March. Didn’t hear a peep until late June. Had two phone interviews, a homework assignment, and, finally, an in-person interview in late July. No word yet on whether I’ve been rejected though I’m still in a “considering” status. Maybe they’ll make a decision by the end of the quarter.

  10. FedEx. FedEx, mind you.

    Applied for a professional senior IT position 03.22.2019. 03.22.2019.

    Today is 09.04.2019. 09.04.2019.

    Just received the heave-ho eMail today … but, BUT, wait for it, they STILL want me to continue applying for other jobs on their they’re there web site.

    Next professional interview I go on I’m going to take an entire bucket of hor$3$H17 and plop it right on the desk of the HR floozy, encouraging her to dig right in … just like dunking for horse apples on All Hallows Eve.

    3 university degrees.

    Over ~35+ years experience.

    Over ~14,000+ résumés on the street. Yes, you read right … over ~14,000+.

    Over ~30+ job fairs in ~2+ years … ~23 of them in first ~90 days … over ~2,000 résumés handed out face-to-face WITH conversation straight to HR judgemental pusses (and, trust me, some of ’em I wanted to punch in the face right there in front of their they’re there candy bowls).

    Ahhh, but, here it is … 58 year old white male. No patch between my legs and no brown-ed skin.

    It is NOT a numbers game.

    Networking does NOT work.

    Job groups DON’T work. They are filled with:
    the blind leading the blind,
    know-it-all know-nothings,
    useless regurgitated Richard Bolles “What Colour Is Your Parachute” advice that never worked even when Bolles duped the ignorant in the 80s to buy his useless “book”,
    parasites simply there to get their “permission slip” signed for that week so they can bilk for their unemployment insurance check,
    the walking dead who show up in sweats having just rolled out of bed with no shower or even running a comb/brush through what’s left of their hair,
    the living helions,
    unemployed HR fukss who won’t answer the simplest question about what goes on “behind the scenes” like they’re the keeper of The Holy Grail,
    inferiority-complexed morons who find strength by giving advice in everything they know nothing about,
    useless information/advice nobody wants to hear touted by people nobody wants to listen to or see,
    useless “speakers”,
    “life coaches” with nothing but a certificate, a dubious past, and a web site of completely unverifiable accomplishments,
    false fake forced comraderies,
    false hopes and false optimism.

    Hiring in America IS completely broken.

    Washington DC HAS sold out American taxpaying IT STEMs for hadji non-citizen H1Bs.

    I personally know a hadji curry muncher who, in his later 50s, has only been in this country a short while and has had 4 jobs, all 6 figures, in the last few years, to my none, me being born, bred, and taxpaying my entire 58 year life in US.

    There is only one rule in job-hunting … or life, for that matter … and that is, THERE ARE NO RULES.

    There is only one thing I’ve learned through all of this: nobody gives a $H17.

    Not family, “friends”, church hypocrites, former “associates”, nobody.

    You’re on your own. As Chris Gardner’s Ma told him, ” … the calvary t’ain’t comin’ … “.