In The War For Talent, there is no substitute for pace. Speed kills…blitzkrieg?

Business, like sport, is a competition. Aside from the battle for market share or revenue. There is a separate competition – the so-called The War for Talent.

Having a team oozing with talent is much sought after and can often be the deciding factor on whether or not you win as an organisation, team or unit. Talented employees are a precious resource that needs to be won over; this is essential for survival, let alone success. Google For Jobs is coming to the UK but you need the processes in place to succeed!


This article is not for Borg-like corporations. Unfortunately, large companies are generally to encumbered with bureaucracy for any meaningful change to be enacted fast. This article is for the small and nimble, the pioneers, the mavericks, who dare to put their money where their recruitment process is.

Being better and faster at recruitment is a chance to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace and win The War for Talent!

Some times change is futile in the war for talent

Since 2010 average hiring times in the UK have gone from 14 days to around 28

According to a research report by Glassdoor, the average interview process in the UK is 28.6 days. The data is from 2015, and I am not going to make the schoolboy error of extrapolating the data, but things have not improved in the last couple of years there is still a lot of nonsense recruitment going on and organisations are missing out with a lack of competitive strategy.

Glassdoor Report data for The War on Talent

As you can see the 28.6 days is the average, the state of private companies in the UK is more like 25 days. However, that is still too long, and if the US can get theirs to circa 18 then that is ten days too long!

Economic theory would suggest that there is balancing act hiring managers have to make between taking the time to thoroughly screen the right candidate and the loss of productivity faced by the vacancy. However, there is another factor in place – talented candidates are highly perishable and will only be available on the job market for so long.

This is where The War for Talent is being lost

Example: “candidate A” applies for three jobs.

Job #1 on the 1st October then job #2 on the 7th October, job #3 on 14th October.

If all interview processes for job #1, #2 and #3 are equally 28 days long then employer #1 will win if they offer first as seven days would generally be considered too long to contemplate a job offer and 14 days is far too long.

So speeding up recruitment process is a smart strategic move in winning the War for Talent. Another note to add is that if you can be first to offer you are more likely to land the candidate and not be involved in a bidding war.

If the candidate is applying for a big company beating them to the punch is essential – use your size to your advantage don’t wait to try and compete with ‘Evil Corp’ and their extensive benefits package.

Of course, your nimble structure will possibly be able to outbid their rigid wage structure but why wait for that?

Damaging your employer brand equity

The upside for fast efficient recruiting is quite evident – you get access to a precious resource before your competition.

But what is the downside of not recruiting fast and efficiently?

Missing out on the talent is just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine what this lack of pace does to your employer branding! Is your employer value proposition that good that you can expect people to wait around for your poor-ass operations?

If you are Google, Amazon, Facebook or Apple then fair enough maybe someone is going to endure a long ordeal of a recruitment process. However, if you are “Steve’s ecommerce underpants” store you better have some rapido recruitment processes going on because lethargy in what is such a vital business activity just makes you look at best disorganised and at worst operationally incompetent.

Not sure how much top talent is queuing up to join disorganised incompetent organisations!!!

Businesses need to audit their hiring processes and take a good look where they can be improved. If you have scoped out the market and found someone who looks like the right hire you need to swoop down on them like the SAS acquiring a target – not bumble around like Dad’s Army lethargically pushing candidates through an over-bureaucratic maze of bullshit.

Dad's Army will never win the War for Talent

“We need this person! Have HR book them in for the final 5th stage interview at the end of next month – we need a six-person panel for final sign off. Make sure the man who cleans the toilets is invited.”

What is costing you “the war for talent”

I get it. Sometimes regulation, security clearance or something unavoidable slows the speed of a process down. It happens.

However, there are some crimes happening in recruitment where companies that should be executing with speed are just not, and they are damaging their ability to compete in the job market and therefore in the marketplace as a whole:

General Incompetence

Decision makers can’t make decisions. Processes are over-bureaucratic. You have non-commercial minded people making critical commercial choices. Your recruitment operations are a complete disaster zone, and audit and reforms are necessary.

Lack of Prioritisation

He (or she) that prioritises everything prioritises nothing! Have your ducks lined up in a row if you’re going on holiday, another decision maker is going on holiday maybe now is not the time to be hiring. Approach hiring like a campaign don’t treat it like an afterthought.

Poor Recruitment Processes

Why have a three-stage interview spread out over several weeks? Generally speaking, the best candidates have jobs and are interviewing at several places at once – how many dentist appointments and holidays can you realistically expect candidates to have?

The Caveat – intelligent speed

Sometimes people just cannot operate fast enough; I get it. Speed by itself is suicidal and dangerous, possibly reckless. There needs to be intelligence behind it.

How much will it cost the business if you make the wrong choice? If so how much?
Will it kill your business if you get the wrong person in, what is the cost if you don’t move quickly enough? What’s the downside and is it covered?


Slow recruitment is costly!

👉You miss out on business critical resources

👉For some hires, these resources go to your direct competition

👉it makes you look like a weak organisation

👉Your employer brand equity diminishes

Slow recruiting is a needless waste. Operational effectiveness is carefully examined in every other business activity why not optimise your recruitment processes?

Just an idea…

If you are an SME why not do after hour interviews? – Will it kill you to hold some out of hour interviews on the evenings and weekends?

Why not have an interview day on Saturday and all the decision makers come in at once. It’s not that radical a concept, if you insist on a three-stage interview (which is perfectly sensible for a majority of hire) why not steal a march on the competition and interview your shortlist on a Saturday? To win The War for Talent a certain level of out-the-box thinking could be necessary.

You can download the Glassdoor Research Report HERE

If want to move fast and looking for advice on the data, tech and marketing recruitment then please send me a LinkedIn connection request.

Do you agree with the need for speed in The War for Talent? Agree or disagree I would love to hear your feedback/experiences in the comments section below.👇 👇 👇 👇