By Matt Alder


One of the longest-standing complaints from candidates about the recruitment process is how long it can take.

This is not surprising as traditionally recruiting new employers has been a process with many moving parts. Online application systems, CV screening, multiple interviews, an elongated decision-making process with multiple stakeholders, and then the formal offer process and eventually onboarding.

We are now living in a very different reality. With acute skills and labour shortages, the speed of the recruitment process is a critical part of successfully filling vacancies.

The employers who can hire the quickest are now those with a significant competitive advantage. The candidates are now very much in charge.

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Many organisations need to make fundamental changes to the way they recruit to speed up their processes and make them fit for purpose. They also need to achieve this while maintaining the quality of hire and delivering an excellent candidate experience.

So how fast is fast?

I recently spoke to a company that had managed to go from initial candidate contact to formal offer within a few hours while experimenting with speeding up the way they do recruitment. However, they also acknowledged that this was unlikely to be either scalable or sustainable.

In reality, reducing the process from weeks down to days is where most employers' thinking needs to be.

Companies need to address three fundamental factors in order to increase the speed of their process without scarifying the quality of hire or the quality of candidate experience. The first is the process itself; are all the steps taken to hire people actually necessary or even useful, and how can things be streamlined?

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The second is recruiting technology. The rise of AI tools and recruiting channels such as video interviewing and text message screening are having a significant impact on hiring speed.

The third, and perhaps the most challenging, is educating hiring managers to be more efficient or at very least to understand that the recruiting landscape has changed dramatically from a few years ago.

The reality is that none of this is easy, but at the same time, for many employers who haven't rethought their process in many years (if ever), new strategies are long overdue.

While the current talent shortages may not last forever, the changes being made to the way companies acquire talent now will define recruitment for years into the future. The companies that get left behind may well not have much of a future to look forward to.

Matt Alder, host of The Recruiting Future Podcast, is a guest writer on behalf of s1jobs.