The United States might be enjoying a record of 5.4 million job openings since 2000, but the number of people getting jobs still hasn’t caught up after the recession.
Why? Jobs are taking longer to get than four years ago. In 2010, the average delay between applying for a job in the United States and receiving an offer was 12.6 days. In 2014, job seekers waited an average of 22.9 days, according to a new Glassdoor report. Of all American cities, Washington, D.C., stands out with the worst wait-time of 34.4 days.
One reason for the longer wait times — and increased difficulty of landing a job — is the growing use of rigorous tests in the hiring process.
Since 2010, Glassdoor recorded an increase in employers’ use of background checks, group panel interviews, and skills and personality tests. Background checks saw the most severe jump from 25% of applicants to over 40%. And even as a marijuana legalization movement has made headway in the past few years, drug tests are up too. These tests certainly help explain D.C.’s above-average wait, since a high percentage of jobs in the city are in government or defense, where hiring processes are often regulated by law.
Not every open job requires applicants to jump through so many hoops, though: the rigorous testing is more common in high-skill jobs. Jobs in the retail industry take far less time to procure — 2.4 to 8.5 fewer days than the average. Restaurant and consumer services are quick jobs to pick up, too. But as the economy shifts toward higher-skilled jobs, those positions are less and less common across the board.