I wanted to talk about the pace of recruitment processes and the values to all parties of moving quickly. Some of the points may be obvious, in which case, this is a helpful reminder.

Cost of hire goes up

Recently, we were working with a software business who had a slick two-week interview process (from CV review to offer). After awhile, it slipped to four weeks and I looked at the numbers; we and the client were processing just over 60% more candidates to get the same job filled. There was a sense that the hiring managers were prioritising better, however, the stats showed much more time was needed to get the same result. If you add up the time of the interviewers involved, that’s a waste – time is money and all that.

Permanent recruitment processes normally involve CV review, perhaps an initial call, two face to face meetings (or more) plus the respective prep and debriefs needed for those sessions. If you go from meeting 5 candidates to 8 or 9 you’ve got another few days’ work right there, and no one has capacity for that. It’s a false economy to spread it out.

The position becomes just another opportunity in a noisy market

Basic psychology: the feedback we have from candidates who are in process with speedier clients is that they are made to feel loved. A sense of excitement & momentum is created. When this doesn’t happen, clients must work harder to make their positions stand out, which isn’t ideal in a market where strong candidates always have plenty of options. When candidates are deciding between two equally good opportunities, they will go for the company that makes them feel loved – pace and responsive comms early in the relationship are a key part of that.

Employee branding

Churning through lots of candidates is inefficient, and if it happens regularly a client can start to develop a negative reputation in the market and that makes it harder to get people interested. Some candidates will still go ahead if they are aware of the challenges, however, they are far more likely to be considering it as a plan B. They won’t be holding their breath at a key moment in the process when we and our clients want them to be.

A fast process is also great for retention early on. For candidates who feel engaged, they are more likely to manage any concerns or challenges constructively. If someone comes into a role and they’ve had a bumpy experience during interviewing and then something happens in the first week or so, it will unsettle people and they might just go somewhere else instead of hanging around to solve it.


Ways to pick up the pace

Take more time up front to save time later: define a clear set of criteria to assess. If you know what good looks like then reviewing, interviewing, and debriefing candidates will feel straight forward and something hiring managers can get off their ever-growing to-do lists easily.

Block out interview time in advance: wait until line managers can block out interview times or days. Even if it means slightly delaying the start of getting recruiters or direct sourcing started on it and getting the advertising out. If you make sure everyone has the time to interview, you can throw yourself into it and get the hiring done and off the desk.

Clear briefings: clients often say, “How can we possibly go faster, we’ve got hundreds of applications?” and I do get that, but it’s about being able to say no efficiently. If everyone knows what good looks like then everyone feels comfortable making quicker decisions and spending more time finding or speaking with candidates who have the most relevant experience. If the brief feels cloudy, either spend more time getting it right or contact trusted partners who can help shape the brief with you before all hell breaks loose with applications.


There are speedy hirers out there and the common thread is that they will nail most of the above points. There are awesome opportunities out there and moving jobs is a highly personal decision and significant move for most candidates – if you want the people best matched to your business, then take the opportunity to make them feel loved.

Jon@wearefutureheads.co.uk is where you can catch me for any comments.


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