Professionals who secured a job in the last 12 months spent 133% longer on the interview process for that role compared to 2008. In a poll of 170 legal, banking and accountancy professionals they said they spent, on average, 6.0 hours – an increase of 3.4 hours compared to five years ago.
As a result, the total time taken to find a new job has risen by 25% since 2008. Candidates spend an average of ten weeks and four days in the process of finding and securing a new job, compared to the eight weeks and three days taken five years ago.
The number of interviews employers conduct with a candidate who successfully secures a role in financial services, legal or finance has also risen sharply. For a junior position, employers required an average of 1.6 interviews five years ago, a figure that has risen to 2.4. Employers now interview successful candidates for senior roles an average of 3.7 times, up from 3.0 five years ago.
Tara Ricks, managing director of Randstad Financial & Professional, said, “The evolution of interview processes in the financial services, legal and finance world over the last five years should not be underestimated. In a tighter recruitment market employers are taking their time and seeing as many appropriate candidates as possible. This trend has even impacted on the traditionally faster moving contractor market. For example, in 2007, it wasn’t uncommon for an organisation to hire a temporary member of staff following a trusted recommendation and same-day phone interview. Today, that same candidate could have two or three face-to-face interviews over a number of weeks for the same temporary position.”
A separate poll of Randstad Financial & Professional consultants suggests that the level of testing during the application process has increased, too. Five years ago, 10% of professional services roles required some form of psychometric, technical or aptitude test, a figure which has now more than doubled to 21%.
The number of vetting checks carried out after the interview process has concluded has also increased. Five years ago, employers vetting credentials such as qualifications, CRB checks and references delayed the hiring process by an average of 6.1 days. This delay has now increased to an average of 12.1 days.
The increased number of tests, interviews and level of checking, has lengthened the hiring process from the employer’s perspective, too. Employers now spend an average of six weeks and four days per new hire, a figure that has risen by 84% from three weeks and four days five years ago.
The survey also asked 2,000 UK job seekers for the methods of preparation they adopted for any interviews versus the time it took for them to be successful. The average time of those who at least spoke to a former or current staff member at the prospective organisation AND their recruitment consultant secured a job, on average, within eight weeks and three days (two weeks and two days faster than national average).
While the average time it took for those who just conducted research on the internet to be successful was eighteen weeks and five days.
Tara Ricks adds: “It would be fair to say the old-school 1st and 2nd interview stage process is dead. In 2013, entry level candidates will have to navigate the same type and length of interview process as our experienced candidates would have faced in 2007. Preparation is key. Too many people have been seduced by the wealth of information available on the internet and believe that reading a variety of websites will provide the right kind of knowledge to ace an interview. Our research shows there is no substitute for gaining a more personal perspective to handle questions successfully and stand out from other interviewees in an incredibly competitive market.”