Can You Afford to go Another Day Without Filling That Opening?


HR Practices

You’re working on a thousand different things. You have decisions to make, a team to lead, and goals to reach. The last thing you want is to have to worry about filling some position that’s becoming a thorn in your side.

So can you afford to go another day without filling that opening? Probably. But let’s talk a little bit about why it’s important for you to get that position filled in a timely manner—both in terms of the difference it makes to the organization and in terms of the difference it makes to your team. After that, we’ll talk about what you can do to get the hiring process back on the right track.

Cost of Vacancy

You already know that having empty positions causes your company to lose productivity. What you may not realize, though, is that you can calculate how much it costs your company to leave a position vacant for one day. The simplest way to calculate these losses is through the average revenue per lost employee.

To calculate the daily loss per average vacancy, you take your company’s total annual revenue and divide it by the number of employees the company has. This gives you the average revenue each employee generates in a year. To calculate the loss your company experiences through having the average position unfilled for one day, divide the average revenue per employee by 220 (the number of working days in a year).

Now, when you calculate cost per vacancy this way, one thing you should keep in mind is that this is the daily loss for the average position. More important positions will lead to more serious losses. That being said, calculating the daily cost per empty position should be enough to show you that every empty position carries a real monetary cost to your organization, every day it remains unfilled. But in addition to the monetary costs, there are addition costs in unnecessary strain on the organization.

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Strain in the Organization

When positions go unfilled, that means there’s extra work that needs to be taken care of. This means the employees who stay on will need to stretch themselves to pick up the slack. Practically speaking, that means people are going to be working longer hours.

Now, we can all accept that overtime is something that needs to happen every once in a while. But even the best employees can’t perform as well as they usually would if they’re spending too much time in the office. Over time, an empty position can turn into lower-quality work, shorter tempers, and lower employee morale. Workers are professionals who are willing to work for the good of the company—but demanding too much for too long will lead to serious resentment.

At its worst, this kind of thing can get so bad and employee morale can get so low that workers start finding new positions. That means one empty position turning into many, which could easily cause serious or even fatal damage to the company.

Granted, leaving one position empty for one day probably won’t cause a disaster. But it’s crucial to remember that leaving positions unfilled will cause ripples that go beyond the position in question. There’s no time to procrastinate about filling positions.

What Does this Mean for You?

Up to now, we’ve been talking about what it means for the organization to have positions go empty for too long. But let’s talk about you and your problems.

Overtime and extra workloads aren’t just organizational problems. They’re human problems for you and your team. Empty positions mean you and your team members will be missing time with family and friends. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Weddings. You’ll end up missing those events in your life, and you’ll be asking your team to miss them in their own lives. These sacrifices take their toll on the organization and on employee morale, but they also take their toll on the human relationships that make up the organization.

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In the very worst case, a failure to fill a position in a timely manner could endanger your position with the company. If a department is underperforming, management will want to know why. That could lead to getting chewed out, losing standing with the company, or even having your position terminated.

Granted, that’s a worst-case scenario, but it shows you how bad the situation has the potential to get. Thankfully, setting up a hiring process that’s capable of making timely hires is usually enough to prevent these issues.

How to Reduce Time to Hire

Problems with time to hire are often a result of poor hiring practices. The real question isn’t whether you need to make that hire today or not: the real question is how you can set up hiring practices that will give you the right candidate in a timely manner.

One of the first bad hiring practices you can address is known as “death by interview.” You can tell you’re suffering from this problem if the decision-makers involved in making a hire ask for more than three or four rounds of interviews. Requiring too many interviews drives away the best candidates, virtually guaranteeing that the hire you finally make will not be the best you could have had. One of the best ways to prevent death by interview is by setting the expectation that the hiring decision will be made after a specific, predefined number of interviews.

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Another problem that can come up with the hiring process is that decision-makers might not really know what they’re looking for in a candidate. This is why it’s important to define the skills and competencies that are necessary for the position—not just the ones you and other decision-makers might like the ideal candidate to have.

Finally, if you have positions that need filling quickly, get in touch with an executive recruiter who offers an RPO. You can get help with the whole process, from sourcing all the way to making the job offer. Remember: when it comes to hiring, every day counts.

About the Author

Jeffrey Audette is the President of VMG Recruiting.

With over 25 years of experience in recruiting, Jeff has partnered with small, medium, and Fortune 500 firms, helping them to find the talent they need.

You can learn more at


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