Candidate Experience
4 min read
September 1, 2022

The new way to hire: Unlocking a better candidate experience starts, and ends, with speed.

A lot has changed in high-volume hiring in the last few years, but one that has not. Speed is king. Candidates want instant gratification, fast interview scheduling, and a positive candidate experience. Here is how you can make this possible.

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The traditional project management triangle for hiring is speed, cost, and quality. You know the drill: you can’t have all three — so make a sacrifice somewhere and pick two! 

But you know what? We should be able to have all three. With advancements in hiring technology, we should be able to get high-quality candidates, at a reasonable cost, and get them fast. That is the reality of mass volume hiring in today’s world. Our organizations expect we’ll hire great employees, at a moment’s notice, and it won’t break the bank. The “pick two” scenario simply doesn’t fly anymore.

So let’s go back to the triangle. Quality — I hope that most of us aren’t having conversations about this one anymore. It’s really a given. It’s not like any of us want to go hire “bad” talent. I’ve never met one talent acquisition professional that said, “yeah, we want high-quality hires, but if we can’t get those we’ll just take the walking dead.” That literally never happens.

Cost is cost. There are certain parts that we control as TA leaders, like how well we use our resources and how we train and develop our teams to be more efficient. But if you can’t hire anyone at $15 per hour, and it’s going to take $18 per hour, well, you have no choice.

The market moves and you either move with it, or you close your doors. That’s a pretty basic economic principle and hasn’t changed all that much (even though competition has absolutely ramped up here since 2020).

That leaves speed. And the need to be faster, without question, is the biggest shift that talent acquisition has faced in at least a decade. Speed is the real factor we control. Traditional service level agreements (SLAs) have always been in that 24-48 hour range. This means when a candidate applies we agree that each of those candidates should be looked at and a determination should be made within 48 hours max.

I want to say the pandemic changed this, but it actually had nothing to do with the pandemic. It had everything to do with us finally having recruiting technology that allowed us to make this much quicker. We now have high-volume interview scheduling software that allows us to move at a much quicker pace than we’ve ever been able to do before — and bring in quality candidates that much faster, too.

The new paradigm with your talent acquisition SLAs should be closer to 24-48 minutes. And I’m really just saying that to make a cute connection to that 48 hour timeframe I just mentioned — the actual reality is hourly candidates expect immediate contact from your organization once they let you know they are interested. Being quick to first contact, after applying, and after an interview are all incredibly important touch-points for a positive candidate experience.

We’ve always acted as if we cared about speed, but we really didn’t. We would see someone apply and we’d say, “ugh, another one, I’ll get to that tomorrow…” Tomorrow became the next day or the day after that. Because we had the “power” of the job, we knew candidates would wait for us. So, we played the game.

Now I know you are saying to yourself, “well, Tim, I never played that game!” (in a really smug tone). But you did! I know you did — because I try to tell myself the same thing, and deep down I know it’s not true. Everyone played that game, at least once. Some of us are still trying to play that game today. 

Let’s change that.

The new way to hire is connecting immediately with candidates!

Today, at this moment, the best high-volume hiring organizations are connecting with candidates immediately through the use of conversational AI. And the best part is that 99% of those candidates have no idea that the AI they are texting isn’t a real person, because it seems so freaking real. (disclaimer: 99% is a totally made up number by me, but it's probably close!)

Here’s the thing, today it’s mainly high-volume hourly that has the immediate expectation. Tomorrow it will be your salaried hires as well. We live in a world where Amazon drops off anything we want the next day, or faster. We want instant gratification.

Candidates demand some instant contact when they are interested, 24/7/365. This will not go backward! Even in a down economy, candidates’ expectations are set moving forward: I applied, and I expect some immediate contact within your hiring process.

World-class hiring organizations are already beginning to deliver on this promise. While this is currently an innovative way to hire high-volume hourly workers, it’s quickly becoming a best practice, and will soon after become table stakes for hiring.

Seconds. Not minutes, not hours, not days. How are you connecting with every single candidate who applies within seconds of them showing interest in your company and jobs? That is the real question every single TA leader should be asking and challenging their teams to make happen.

The next part in the series on the new way to know your candidate is here.

Written by
Tim Sackett
CEO of, Senior Faculty Member of the Josh Bersin Academy
Tim Sackett
Written by
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