Grueling job interviews.

Freesponsibility. (Yes, this is a real thing)

Tedious technology tests.

Inbound hiring.

Part-time portals.

Job applicants these days are becoming increasingly subjected to more rigorous obstacles if they want to land their dream job. Check out these statistics provided by the Dice-DFH Vacancy Duration Measure, an index created by University of Chicago economist Steven Davis (as reported here by Wall Street Journal).

  • U.S. employers are taking an average of 25 working days to fill vacant positions, a 13-year high
  • Companies with 5,000 or more employees clock in at 58.1 working days to hire (Sunday is not considered a working day)

What’s the hold up? Employers are getting pickier about picking the best person for the job. And they are adopting more unique, investigative, outrageous, fun, creative measures to land the right candidate. Here’s five of them:

The 22-Hour Job

Dissatisfied with its track record using traditional hiring techniques, Australian mobile app development startup Appster developed a demanding job interview process that aims to weed out ill-fitting applicants. Entry-level candidates are questioned for up to 15 hours, middle-managers and above endure up to 22 hours of interview time.

Appster co-CEO and cofounder Mark McDonald told Business Insider: “You start seeing glimmers of people’s personalities they can’t hide, things you would never be able to see in a traditional job interview.”

With a 90% retention rate, Appster must be on to something. Even if they pass the interview, however, candidates are still subjected to a thorough background check.

Outsourcing Background Checks

It’s no secret that many companies operate with a bare-bones Human Resources (HR) staff. This means that recruitment, processing and on-boarding is taking much longer than before. Some big-name companies are lightening their HR departments loads by outsourcing background checks to reputable screening agencies.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC, a division of tire maker Bridgestone Corp., is “conducting more background, drug and physical screenings for candidates and has a more rigorous interview process for white-collar hires.”

The idea to outsource is twofold. One, it will hopefully speed up the hiring process by allowing the background checks to be run by an agency who specializes in performing them which will keep qualified candidates from exiting the applicant pool because of a long drag time. Two, applicants who truly want to work for Bridgestone Retail will fully understand what will be examined in their background so the company doesn’t waste time screening people who won’t pass the test anyway.


Imagine offering a job with no set work hours and unlimited vacation time.

That’s the strategy initially used at Mass Relevance, and now continued at Spredfast (the two social marketing titans merged in April 2014). Leadership there believes traditional hiring processes work to onboard talent, but after that, conventional thinking flies out the window. Instead, the agency offers Freesponsibility, a principle that capitalizes on entrepreneurial behaviors and trust. By allowing employees to work when they wish and engage in time off when they need/want it, Spredfast believes it will built mutual trust and respect with its employees.

Inbound Hiring

Forget social media recruiting. DuckDuckGo, an anonymous search engine, looks to employ actual users. They don’t troll for candidates, rather DuckDuckGo waits for them to initiate contact, and then keep it up from there. Let’s let them tell it in their own words:

“Being effective in a start-up environment is a quality that is hard to assess from afar. As such, we like to assess it through working with people for a period of time. The progression usually looks like:

Show initial interest –> Contracting on projects (1-3 months) –> Staff

We recognize that this process is very different from the regular resume/phone screen/interview hiring process. As such, we’ve found that our process isn’t a good fit for those who are seeking immediate employment, but is a good fit for those who have some time to understand the DuckDuckGo environment and figure out if a staff role and its responsibilities would truly interest them.”


Part-time Portals

Think of this as amplified seasonal hiring practices. Anyone whose landed a holiday gig knows the drill. You get the part-time job and hope to get hired full-time once the season has passed.

The same holds true for companies who already have permanent positions to fill but want/need you to prove your mettle first. Why take a long-term risk on someone who might not work out in the short-term if you can offer them short-term first? Catch the drift?

This line of thinking is a direct counter to the Freesponsibility sensibility. It’s kind of like a first date: you’re not sure if you like each other enough to stick around but you’re willing to get together a few times and see what happens.

Hey, its worked before.

The desire for employers behind all of these tactics really boils down to one thing: It costs too much to replace people. To knick turnover and all its associated money problems, it’s better to find the right people at the start and get creative on how to keep them. Once they pass their background check, that is…

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