With IT unemployment hovering below 3 percent, competition for top tech talent is fierce. Companies must be prepared to move on a hyper-accelerated timeline– in some cases as quickly as one week from start to hire.

Recently, we partnered with a global healthcare company to support a very specific IT search. The company contacted us on a Monday and we immediately began reaching out to a select group of passive candidates. We sent the resume for the most qualified candidate on a Thursday, the company interviewed this candidate on Friday, HR completed a background screening the following Monday, and the firm made the offer that very day. The entire process from search initiation to offer acceptance took just seven days. This is not an aberration; it’s the new norm.

Moving this quickly will only happen when you’ve done your homework. Here’s how to set appropriate expectations and get everyone on board for a successful and speedy search.

  1. Determine stakeholders up front. Don’t wait until it is interview time to decide who will be participating in each round. Determine who needs to be in the room for each interview and confirm availability up front, especially if stakeholders have busy travel schedules. Block time in advance so interviews can happen as soon as a candidate is selected.
  2. Align to “build versus buy” traits. When it comes to technology systems, one of the most common purchasing questions is “what can we build ourselves versus what do we have to buy?” This same principle applies to talent selection. Which skills can you teach the new hire? Which skills are essential to the role and must be known before starting? When all stakeholders are aligned to essential qualifications and selection criteria in advance, the interview process will proceed smoothly. And when the right candidate is identified, you’ll be ready to make the offer rather than falling into the “what if we interview just one more person” trap.
  3. Price the job, not the person. Determine a desired compensation range upfront and be sure this number reflects market realities. In some cases, a willingness to pay on the higher side of market value can land you talent that might otherwise have gone to the competition. Remember, hiring a candidate is about bringing on game-changing talent, not about getting a “good deal” on an employee. If you spend too much time going back and forth over salary you may lose out on the candidate. Even if they do join, they may be less engaged and motivated thanks to the protracted salary negotiations.

To accelerate the hiring timeline, be intentional and methodical from day one. Blindly rushing forward without an agreed upon plan in place will only result in process delays. This is also where an executive recruiter can help, providing strategic guidance and market insights that help set appropriate salary ranges and refine candidate requirements.


Questions about hiring top tech talent in a competitive market? Please leave your question below and we will connect you with a recruiter.

Authored by: Marc Wilder