To better understand how vacancies relate to actual hiring, Steven Davis of the University of Chicago, Jason Faberman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland dug into the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. This survey samples some 16,000 establishments each month, asking firms how many people they are looking to hire, what sort of advertising they’re doing to find workers, and more.
Looking at data from 2000 through 2006, the researchers found that 42% of hires were happening at establishments that had said, just the month before, they had no vacancies. The take-away for job-seekers: companies often move fast to fill positions as they open. If there’s a place you want to work, find a way to introduce yourself before a job opening is even posted. Because once companies decide to hire, you might not have much time to sell yourself.
And a short window of opportunity is actually the best case scenario. The survey asks companies about vacancies at the end of the month, and then tracks how many hires happen in the next 30 days. This means that the raw numbers don’t differentiate between a company quickly filling an opening, and a company hiring a person without ever officially logging a vacancy. Using some fancy economic modeling, the researchers found evidence that for a full 27% of hires, establishments never recorded a vacancy. What’s going on there? It’s possible to come up with different stories, but one is that establishments hire when they see someone they want—even more reason to try to get your foot in the door before the door is open.
Read the rest of the Glassdoor article