Hiring at warp speed

with the labor market tightening, organizations across sectors are looking to tap project talent more swiftly

When a candidate for a project manager position at Chipotle arrived at the restaurant chain's Denver, Colorado, USA office for an interview, she discovered that other candidates had been called in at the same time. “The interview process was a bit like speed dating,” she told the career site Glass-door. “Managers moved from room to room, spending five minutes with every applicant.”

Chipotle grabbed global headlines in September while executing a massive hiring project: build and launch a dedicated talent site for prospective applicants, deploy targeted marketing materials and then coordinate on-site interviews at 1,700 locations across the United States. The objective: hire 4,000 new employees in one day.

That's a particularly striking goal considering that the average interview process globally took about 23 days in 2014, according to a Glassdoor Economic Research report (see sidebar on next page). But in an increasingly fluid and fast-paced labor market, organizations across a variety of sectors are trying to acquire the right talent faster by speeding up the hiring process. For some companies, that means skipping traditional hiring underpinnings, like reference checks and personality tests, and revamping the interview process. At others, it means green-lighting human resources projects to implement data-driven tools and a social media recruitment strategy.


Candidates attend a job fair in San Francisco, California, USA.



How quickly new talent can be brought onto a team depends on the country—and the size of the organization. Bigger companies tend to have longer hiring processes.

Average Length of Interview Process (in days):


Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (all figures rounded to whole numbers)

“Getting people in the door faster helps to address the burnout, disengagement and productivity issues for the staff picking up the slack for vacancies,” says Lynn Batara, director of the enterprise project management office, Franklin Templeton Investments, San Mateo, California, USA. Alleviating such burdens for existing project talent has motivated the global organization to accelerate its hiring.

“One of our project management offices, for instance, implemented a speed-interviewing approach when they recently hired a large number of project managers,” she says. Candidates completed a 30- to 45-minute in-person interview with the hiring manager and, if advanced to the next round, met with key project team members in a virtual group interview.

At engineering and construction firm Henkels & McCoy Inc. headquartered in Blue Pell, Pennsylvania, USA, the human resources team was able to dramatically slash average recruitment time with a change initiative that involved implementing an online tool offering candidates pre-recorded video interview questions.


“Getting people in the door faster helps to address the burnout, disengagement and productivity issues for the staff picking up the slack for vacancies.”

— Lynn Batara, Franklin Templeton Investments, San Mateo, California, USA


“This is a breakthrough for the company,” Dave Sinclair, corporate recruiting manager, told CIO.com. “We recruit people from around the world and others who are road warriors. Coordination of interviews can take months, but with a tool like this, we can kick off the interview process 24/7, regardless of geography.”

For project-intensive firms such as Henkels & McCoy, speedier hiring means that project ranks can be quickly aligned to evolving portfolios—without delaying kickoff meetings or spreading practitioners too thin. And speed can also give a company a leg up on the competition because many prospective employees are attracted to the decisive nature of fast hiring.

“It made me more excited, more comfortable, more confident in the company itself,” Brad Sawchuk, a new hire at AppDynamics, told The Wall Street Journal. Last year, the company, based in San Francisco, California, USA, drastically cut its time-to-hire to roughly a week in a concerted effort to snag the best talent for its app-development projects.

When the offer from AppDynamics arrived just a week after his first interview, Mr. Sawchuk pounced on it—and walked away from a competing company where he'd been interviewing for weeks. —Kate Rockwood




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