It is a truism of our current hiring climate that employers are taking longer to hire new employees. The average amount of time it took for U.S. companies to say “you’re hired,” from beginning to end of the process was 25 working days on average. The same study showed that bigger companies, defined as those with over 5000 employees, took much longer—58.1 working days on average.

More Jobs
At the same time, this trend of longer hiring periods coincides with the highest number of American job openings in the past seven years—4.7 million according to a June, 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics count. There are still plenty of people looking for work, so we can assume that the lag time isn’t because of a lack of qualified applicants. And so the numbers don’t entirely match up. The picture is a bit perplexing—how confident are employers?

Picky Employers
One partial explanation is that employers have become pickier, raising the requirements or credentials for jobs. These new, higher bars, don’t bode well for many in the job market, like recent college grads who simply don’t have five plus years experience in any field. Yet, some employers are overall happier with the results, once they do get a new hire on the job. By taking more time with the process, they feel they are taking a more active role in curating the social and work culture of their company. Overall satisfaction with those who make it through the more elaborate screening processes seems to be up as well.

A More Elaborate Interview Process
It is a reality these days that job searchers will likely have to go through the gauntlet to get their desired job. Many employers have added multiple interviews for top choices. Future employees may be asked to go through more screening, even drug testing, for jobs which previously didn’t require such tests. Also, the increase in social and business networks online has added to HR’s load in multiple ways. First, when screening an applicant, their online history is usually investigated, and this can be time consuming. Second, many companies are using professional networks like LinkedIn to court and recruit desirable and sometimes over-qualified applicants. This may be happening simultaneously to screening other solicited applications.

Determining Costs
If a company is unsure whether sales and revenue warrant the expense of a new employee, we may see them dragging their feet and prolonging the entire hiring process while they determine whether they can afford to fill the position. Delaying or extending the hiring process may sometimes simply be the direct effect of human resource departments having also suffered cuts during the recession.

Ultimately, however, slower hiring times usually means a loss of revenue for a company. The logic is simple: if they need to hire, it’s because business is good, and they have more clients than they can take on. Prolonging the hiring process can also negatively effect profit.