Doctoral degree from a prestigious university. Highly detail-oriented, but not obsessive. Equally enthusiastic about creating Excel charts and smooth-talking clients.
To the job hunters out there, these hard-to-meet “required qualifications” may look frighteningly familiar. That’s because U.S. companies are getting increasingly picky about the people they hire, taking an average of 25—but as many as 58—working days to fill open positions.
Those numbers are higher than they’ve been in 13 years, and significantly higher than they were in 2009, when employers took about 15 days to bring on someone new. As of June 2014, there were 4.7 million job openings, the highest amount since 2001.
There are several potential reasons for the lag in filling open positions, including the idea that companies are raising their standards for new hires, The Wall Street Journal reports. Another possibility is that companies have mixed feelings about their financial futures: While they’re confident enough to post job openings, they’re still reluctant to commit to new hires in case the economy suddenly weakens.
Still another factor is the growing popularity of using social networking sites such as LinkedIn to recruit people who already have jobs. It takes longer to lure employees away from their current gigs than it does to hire someone who’s actively searching for a new role.
The problem companies now face is that, when they take so long to make a decision, many candidates take other offers instead of waiting around. To solve this problem, some recruiters look for potential hires from within the company, which cuts down on the time it takes to screen and approve those candidates.
The upshot? This could mean that a promotion is more attainable than ever. If you think you might be in the running for a job upgrade, follow these tips, like keeping interpersonal conflict to a minimum and always being prepared with solutions to problems.
Want to start a new search altogether? Visit Levo’s Jobs Board for amazing new opportunities.
This post originally appeared on learnvest.com.