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Be prepared to make up your mind quickly - Australia's banking and finance companies will now offer jobs as little as 48 to 72 hours after interview.

Debbie Loveridge, managing director of Select Australasia, tells us the amount of time it takes banks to hire is being slashed as they compete for talent in a tight market. A year ago, she says mid-ranking admin staff in banks would wait two or three weeks after interview to hear whether they'd landed a job - now it's more like two or three days.

"To get good talent, firms are moving quickly," Loveridge says. "Good candidates are not hanging around. They have so much choice."

Banks have learnt from experience. Matthew Gowan, a senior manager at Hays Banking, says some employers are losing candidates because they are not acting quickly enough. "Sometimes it is hard to avoid, because someone with decent market experience can field two or three offers at the same time."

Nevertheless, a few banks are persisting with protracted interview processes. "With certain employers you are starting to see people move quickly, but others have no real urgency to get people over the line," says Gowan. "They are missing out."

It seems banks are also taking things slow when it comes to senior and front-office candidates. Loveridge says lead times for senior execs are still four weeks or so, but this is down from eight to 10 weeks in the not too distant past. Who knows? The day when a senior hire is made in less than a week may be just around the corner.

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