The waiting is nearly over . . .

2003

There is good news for anyone wanting to move on from their current job in a hurry - most employers are trying to speed up their recruitment processes after losing good candidates to their competitors, according to new research.

A study in IRS Employment Review reveals that seven out of ten employers are dealing with applications faster than they used to, with one employer in four concerned that good candidates are going elsewhere because they take too long to make a job offer.

The findings show that the public sector is slower to fill vacancies than private sector companies. Just under half (49 per cent) of public service organisations can take an astonishing two to three months to fill a vacancy, while just one in five (21 per cent) private sector firms takes that long.

Indeed, one in nine (12 per cent) jobs in the private sector is filled in less than a month, compared with less than 4 per cent in the public sector. Public sector employers are also the least likely to acknowledge your job application - but when they do, they are quicker off the mark, generally writing back within a week.

The adoption of new technology has been a major factor in the improvement in response times. More than half (57 per cent) of employers use the internet, while more than a third 38 per cent have improved their technology by buying better database systems or upgrading to broadband.

Nearly a third of organisations have streamlined recruitment by devolving responsibility to line managers, while 29 per cent have introduced a screening process to weed out unsuitable candidates.

The findings are based on responses from 250 HR departments surveyed earlier this year. The study looks at the whole recruitment process from initial enquiries through to final appointment.

Commenting on the findings, IRS Employment Review managing editor Mark Crail said:

“This is a good time to be looking for a job. The labour market is still very tight, and good candidates are hard to find. If you are the right person, you won’t be kept waiting very long. Recruiters are in the business of finding the best candidate and have proved they are not slow on the uptake.”

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