Yet Another Reason It’s Taking So Long For Employers To Return Your Calls

New WatchJob openings are up, but hiring’s taking forever, reports the Wall Street Journal. Why is that?

Maybe because hiring managers keep thinking there’s something else out there.

Managers invited an average of five to six candidates per position for second-round interviews, which is twice as many as in 2007, according to a survey of 1,500 recruiters at large companies by research organization the Corporate Executive Board.

“Nowadays, if managers speak to a really great candidate, instead of hiring him, they take it as an indication that there must be 10 even better people out there,” Todd Safferstone, director of CLC Recruiting, a unit of the Corporate Executive Board, told the WSJ.

The logic is: if the unemployment rate’s so high, maybe the “perfect candidate” is out there somewhere, and hiring managers are now preferring to try to find the perfect candidate than settle on the perfectly great one right in front of them.

This is actually kind of encouraging: it seems to be the opposite approach to this, which assumes that no good candidates will ever be found in the unemployment line. This at least presumes that the gold is out there–they just need to be found.