CXO

New trend: Companies sometimes taking months to make a hire

Companies who interview for months just waiting for that "perfect" hire may never find it.

I love the email I get from people who read my blogs on TechRepublic. One of the things I love best is when I get a link to a piece of content just because they know it will send me into a rant. It's like shaking a stick in a tiger's cage, I'm that easy.

So imagine how I felt when I was sent a link to this article from the New York Times about how American companies, even though they have "a variety of job vacancies, piles of cash and countless well-qualified candidates," often take weeks or months to hire someone, if they end up hiring someone at all. The reason? They're looking for perfection.

Months?! It took the papal conclave less than a week to choose a new Pope, for crying out loud.

Now this aggravates me for a couple of reasons: Many of my readers are people who are looking for a job—some for months and months. I'm writing blogs schooling people on the correct words to use in a resume, the best questions to ask in an interview, etc. But these companies are looking for perfection? And not just perfection, but an objective form of perfection?

I understand there are a lot of costs involved in a bad hire, but there's also a productivity loss in having your staff conduct six or seven interviews for each job candidate. And who knows what else these companies are requiring—DNA samples, an MRI, a dance-off?

So I'm going to speak as someone who has been on the hiring side of the job equation more times than I can mention: Believe me when I say, you're not going to find perfection. I'll bet my bottom dollar you don't even know what constitutes perfection for your job opening. You want to be the company that snags the next Bill Gates? That's fine, but you know how many Bill Gates there are? One. And I don't think he'd be interested in working for you or anyone else.

If you can't decide after six interviews with the same person whether he or she is right for the job, then I'd say you might have a little problem with intuition. I'm not sure what you're looking to come out of the sixth interview that you haven't seen in the previous five.

You're like the girl who won't say yes to any boy who asks her to the prom because you're waiting for the perfect date. Well, guess what? There's a good chance that girl doesn't go to the prom at all.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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