‘Time Kills Deals’

I can vividly see recruiting managers or colleagues shouting this statement across the desk. You are doing all in your power to keep hold off a ‘deal’ that is slipping away because some aspect of the process is moving too slow or fast.

For all and any recruiters reading this, I am sorry if this goes against our alleged ‘code of honour,’ but I have never liked the term. I don’t like the phrase in general, and I think when shouted (as it normally is) at someone, it leads to panic, indecision and any chance the client and candidate had of working together starts to fade.

Putting the term to one-side for a minute though, the importance of speed and time when recruiting has never been more dominant.

I have over 15 years’ experience across permanent and contract recruitment, and I have never seen the permanent market move as quickly as it is right now. Seriously it is moving like a contract market.

Time kills deals.

Exhibit A – The one hit wonder!

At Digital 51 we are currently partnered with two businesses which are looking to make multiple £80,000 permanent hires. Both organisations are offering the candidates they like after a one stage virtual interview.

You can argue whether that is best practice, fair to both parties, and or a recipe for retention longer term. However, the client is after a niche skillset which is in high demand, and they want to move quickly.

Beware – The one hit wonder:

These businesses are moving SO quickly that in some instances it is scaring off candidates which were completely passive; they were found, identified, and submitted to the role whilst not actively looking.

The fast paced, one hit wonder is not, in some instances, giving people time to fully process the career change, new role and opportunity, so they reject the offer.

Exhibit B – The hare and the recruitment rabbit:

We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare, but for me permanent recruitment is currently the rabbit and the hare. Both are quick, but one can’t keep up with the other. My colleague Craig Fenn has partnered with two businesses in the past 3 weeks who have all beaten other businesses (who are also hiring) to the punch by moving their two-stage process really quickly.

Just today Craig has closed another placement from a business he partnered with on Tuesday of this week. TUESDAY! Seriously TUESDAY of this week to get a permanent offer secured by Friday lunch time is quick and it’s the third week on the spin.

Beware – Organisation is the best facilitator of time:

How have all 3 businesses been able to do this so quickly with Craig? All three have given him open access to provide the Tech Test to candidates as the first stage process. Then there is a second stage process booked in the diary within 24 hours of that test, oh and lastly Craig is all over his market and has his candidates ready to go!

Lets get rid of the words kill and deal for a minute and just say time can really drive and improve your ability to stand out when looking to hire. Yes, you need to be thorough and get the right person, but you can still do that quickly.

Why not consider the points below when going to market to hire, which can improve your ability to hire quickly:

  • Process, process, process – Know exactly what your recruitment process will be from the minute you pick the phone up or type your first e-mail on the matter of recruitment.
  • Priority – You have started recruiting, so make it a priority. I get that everyone has a day job, but if you are doing it, focus on it, put time into it and you will get more out of your recruitment.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate – Whether you be working with an external recruiting partner or dealing with candidates directly, constant communication is vital.


The desire to hire more permanent people will only increase from this point in 2021, so make sure you have your recruitment running shoes at the ready and are working with other like-minded people.

This article was written by Simon Brown, Founder of Digital 51 who would love to hear your thoughts on this. You can contact Simon on