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Importance of speed in the interview process

Finding the right candidate in a tough market can be really challenging. There are a lot of factors at play that make it difficult to find the right candidates for your team. The major thing is just a lack of talent with unemployment in IT across Canada in the 2.5% range. This creates a competitive job market with many companies going to great lengths to try and attract talent. This includes creative approaches to recruitment, enticing benefits packages and money. For that reason, I want to take a look into the importance of speed in the interview process.

It is one factor that is often overlooked is the interview process they employ. They are often created by HR or leaders with the idea of finding the right candidate. However, they at times lack insight into how it negatively impacts their business.

Underlying causes

This all begins on the interview process itself and its purpose. Every organization is trying to make good hiring decisions and it can be difficult. After all, you usually only have a resume, sometimes technical tests and interviews in order to determine if that person will fit with your team and be capable technically. There isn’t a manager out there who is perfect in choosing talent so you’re not alone.

Organizations are scared to make a mistake and therefore usually hold an average of between 6-10 interviews to fill a role. This interview process takes 3+ weeks including multiple interviews for some candidates. Some organizations even will continue interviews even when they’ve met a candidate, they plan to make an offer to. They do this to simply have comparisons on the market to reinforce their decision.

The other factor is a lack of time as hiring isn’t your only task. People are busy in dealing with problems, delivering projects and working with current team members. Hiring can often take a backseat to all this and it limits your availability to meet candidates for interviews.

Why it’s a problem

While I fully understand the need to make the right hiring decision this isn’t a great approach. Most candidates aren’t only interviewing for one position at a time and instead are engaged with multiple organizations. They are usually at different stages with different organizations and time does play a factor in picking their next career opportunity. So, while you look to decide on a candidate, another organization might move quicker and you lose your top candidate.

Most people that have gone through a hiring process have experienced losing a candidate. There are usually 2 different reactions, first is recognizing the mistake and working to fix it. The other is believing that the right candidate would hold out before making a decision and fight to join your organization. I do agree a candidate needs to show interest in your organization but there are some major flaws in that thinking.

Let’s begin with the idea that your offer and organization are in a league of their own. In working with many organizations, the reality is for the most part there are pros and cons for each organization. Most are similar when looking at the total package and in a competitive market those slight differences aren’t enough to make a candidate wait.

An Interview is on both sides

As much as you are determining the fit of the candidate for your organization, they are doing the same. Having a great total package is important but isn’t the only thing. Your reputation both in hiring and in general as well as your interest in their profile are important as well. By moving slowly and not giving timely feedback you are telling that candidate you aren’t interested. Treating it like an interview of your team and organization will help you attract more talent. IT professionals are in high demand acknowledging this will help you see an interview differently.


The most obvious impact to your organization is that you lose out on good candidates. Even in a quick process I have seen organizations miss out on candidates. Depending where they are with other interview processes you could already be too late once you start.

For an internal impact you just have to look at the time wasted. If you’ve gone through multiple interviews with a candidate, it can take hours of investment of you and your teams time. There are usually not enough hours in the day as it is. If you’re consistently losing candidates in your interview process, it can be very costly.

 Finally, maybe the biggest impact might be your brand on the market. 69% of candidates will not accept a role with a company that has a bad reputation. That reputation isn’t just built on your day to day activities but also candidates experience as they go through an interview process. Slow process, lack of feedback and other factors can play into a candidate leaving with a negative view of your organization. While they might not be a fit for your team the market is small, and they might know someone who is. Treat every candidate as important and it will help attract more talent.


Running a smooth interview process can be difficult. Hiring isn’t your main role and you have limited time to organize and schedule interviews. You are trying to line up your schedule as well as others on the team with a candidate. However, making interviews your priority will save you time. The longer it takes to make a hire the more distracted you are from your other tasks. Be flexible with your schedule and have multiple team members who can be involved in case some can’t make certain times. Making it a priority for a short period will make it easier to move on from hiring and focus on more important things.

Moving with urgency is important especially if a candidate has other opportunities they are looking at. Not everyone needs urgency so at each stage ask them what else they have on the go and what stage they are at? This way you can adjust based on each candidate and it shows your interest in their profile.

Give initial feedback following an interview even if you can’t make your final decision. Having multiple qualified candidates happens and if your first candidate is great doesn’t mean you need to stop your process. You do need to provide feedback and a timeline to that candidate. Delivering positive feedback as well as where you are at in your process makes them feel more engaged. This will ensure that they don’t accept something else without first letting you know

Attracting talent

In a market like the technology sector you are constantly competing to attract talent to your organization. Great organizations have comprehensive packages of compensation, benefits as well as great culture. Your interview process can be just as important as those. It is the first impression a candidate has of your organization. If you take too long you will lose quality candidates, and some will leave with a negative perception. The importance of speed in the interview process cannot be overlooked in your strategy to attract top talent.  

How avansai can help

Avansai takes a partnership approach with all its clients to support and improve their ability to attract and retain talent. If you’ve been frustrated by losing candidates in process or just to find talent, then reach out to Corey or me. We can work with you and your team to build a strategy to attract top talent.