The secret to better hiring? Speed

"Speed is key" title, person typing on laptop

Could the speed of your hiring program be inadvertently holding you back? If your speed to hire (or time-to-hire) metrics haven’t improved in the past year, you are at risk of seeing your talent pipeline shrink and your open roles go unfilled.

The pandemic has undoubtedly exacerbated existing challenges and accelerated others. We are experiencing a labor shortage and the race to fill open roles is on, as companies are battling to secure employees from a smaller workforce. While the reasons are numerous, there is increasing evidence that early retirement and a slower return to work for women seem to be the major factors.

Labour force participation rate, Jan. 2020–Nov. 2021 (seasonally adjusted)

Graph of the labour participation rate from January 2020–November 2021. Source: US Bureau of Labour Statistics, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Arrow indicates the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Image description: employers are now trying to fill roles from a smaller pool of talent.

For high-volume recruiting teams in retail, hospitality, and customer service industries, the time-to-hire metric has become a key area of focus.

If you’re not set up to hire quickly, you’re losing time and money, and (perhaps more frustratingly) great candidates to more nimble competition. Waiting too long to communicate and move them along in your process means losing a candidate as well as wasting time on resume reviews, screening, and coordination.

We recently spoke with Frank Pettinato, CEO of Avantive Solutions, a leading BPO that specializes in customer experience and call centers, about this challenge. He was generous in sharing some of the key metrics that his hiring teams actively track and where he sees the biggest potential.

Losing Candidates

Like many companies that rely on a volume of people to fill roles for person-to-person communication and customer service, Avantive saw major disruption in their talent pipelines during the pandemic. The extra competitive environment leads to a host of challenges, most notably moving candidates through the hiring process:

  • The recruiting team saw a lot of people apply, but couldn’t connect with them to schedule the interview.
  • For those that they did reach, many candidates were no longer available, or no longer interested in the role.
  • The problem precipitated further into the process as well as the proportion of candidates who didn’t make it to the interview grew as well.

At every stage, the team was losing good candidates and at levels they hadn’t experienced before. This was a big enough problem that warranted the leadership to rethink the strategy. Frank wanted to really dissect the problem. He started by asking “Why is this happening? What’s the root cause here?”.

A new strategy was born; “If we can connect with somebody, we can get them scheduled for an interview quicker, which leads to hiring them faster.” Frank told us. It seems simple but the question remained; how to get this done. “We were taking four days and we needed it to be four hours.”

Reducing the friction in hiring

Frank was clear in outlining the potential points where a person might drop off in the process:

  • Extra hurdles in submitting applications or resumes online through sites like; an extra click or an extra text-field to fill leads to measurable drop-offs in the process.
  • The amount of time it takes to screen and review resumes
  • Timing the communication and connecting with the candidate; being able to reach the candidate first is key
  • Scheduling an interview; setting up a scalable solution that doesn’t require onerous effort from your recruiting team

It was critical for the Avantive team to move faster. The challenge now is to test the new process and technologies with the aim of solving key friction points:

  • Reduce the risk of losing good candidates to other employers by scheduling interviews at the earliest point of contact.
  • Drive efficiency for recruiters by enabling technology to reduce the amount of time spent going back and forth scheduling and screening candidates.
  • Reduce friction for candidates by providing clear communication and faster response at the earliest point of contact.

Automating processes for speed hiring

With the key challenges identified, Avantive set to work on increasing their speed-to-hire by clearing away bottlenecks. By sourcing innovative solutions, Avantive is now able to automate the communication and scheduling that required an outsized effort from their hiring team.

The technologies implemented include a chatbot as well as a speed interview process driven by Hellohire. The Avantive team captures interest and secures the candidates’ intent to move forward by automatically scheduling a live video interview with the candidate.

The solutions explored have been used in other industries and often for other use-cases; such as sales and marketing. For Avantive, the team was able to re-imagine their process, and automate the steps that are formulaic but time-intensive. Their approach reduces the friction points for applicants and reduces the time and effort spent by recruiters.

This solution might not be the right one for every company. However, for high-volume recruiters that need to hire a steady stream of roles or for those with cyclical or seasonal ramp-ups, this approach is one to seriously consider.


Frank Pettinato is CEO of Avantive Solution and Forbes Council Member. As an innovative executive with extensive experience in global business management expertise, he is focused on producing winning outcomes. Previously, Pettinato held a variety of leadership roles in the consumer goods, business services and technology industries.

Hellohire is a virtual job fair and speed interview platform that helps employers screen and hire candidates quickly. Hiring teams can meet candidates in record time without having to review resumes and schedule interviews. It’s the perfect solution for high volume hiring, campus recruiting, and job fairs.

If you’d like to see how speed interviews can reduce the friction for candidates, and save time and effort for your hiring team, try a free trial of Hellohire.


FRED Economic Data, US Bureau of Labor Statistics: