Stressed business man rushing in the officeThere are certainly a lot of statistics out there indicating that there is a highly volatile labor market, suggesting that talent, if available, will not be around for very long. Research from CareerBuilder shows that around 1 in 5 companies are missing out on new hires due to a failure to produce an offer fast enough, which is a problem but also a massive opportunity for employers to get ahead in the talent war by making speed-hiring the norm within their business.

Let’s be clear, however, speed-hiring is a risky business because CareerBuilder also found that the top reason that companies make bad hires is due to rushing to fill the job quickly, which is hardly a ringing endorsement for speed-hiring. That’s why I am not talking about reactive speed hiring, where you rush and compromise hiring processes and reduce the quality of the hiring process. I am talking about a proactive, pre-designed speed-hiring process that is setup to deliver a quality hiring process in the shortest possible amount of time, meaning that you are getting job offers out to candidates before they’ve even made it to your competitor’s interview room. This certainly looks like a great opportunity to beat the competition in the race for talent.

There is a risk that it could appear like a slightly desperate strategy that could make you appear less attractive, but on the other hand, research from Randstad shows that vacancies that aren’t filled within 72 working days start to reflect badly on the company as people start thinking it’s a job that no one wants. On the other hand, if the marketplace gets the impression that you deliver a fast, efficient, user friendly hiring process that bags talent quickly, you could also give the impression of a company that’s in tune with the pressure of a tight candidate market. It just depends on how you spin it.

Now, I am not suggesting that you should adopt speed hiring to the same extremity as Intel, for example, which got its graduate hiring times down from several weeks to between 1 day and 1 week. But the point is that big players are moving to a speed-hiring strategy in extraordinarily competitive areas, and to do it well you need to plan for it. It should not be reactive or off the cuff or hiring quality will deteriorate. Even the speed should be calculated; that is, it’s not about being super fast, but simply quite a bit faster than industry norms. If you are in race of tractors, you need the fastest tractor, but if you are in race of Ferraris, then you need the fastest Ferrari.

The good news is that there are lots of mechanisms at your disposal to make speed hiring the norm, such as using recorded video interviews as standard first-round interviews; collapsing 1st, 2nd and 3rd interviewees into one interview; exploding job offers (which are lucrative job offers that expire in 24 hours); along with incorporating hire practices that increase the validity of your hiring process, such as structured interviews and big data based decision making tools. You can also offer enhanced training so that your organization is more tolerant of imperfect hires.

In today’s volatile candidate market where there is extreme competition for top talent, I think that one of the key ways that employers can differentiate their hiring process is by developing a hiring process that is designed for speed – or to be much faster than industry norms while retaining quality.

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