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Using agile recruitment to overcome the top challenges recruiters face

Guest Blogger: Sharlyn Lauby, SHRM, SCP

Sharlyn Lauby is the author of the HR Bartender blog, president of ITM Group Inc., a Florida-based training and human resource consulting firm, and the author of Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success. A highly sought after expert in the field of human resources, Sharlyn’s blog, HR Bartender, has been recognized as one of the Top 5 business blogs read by HR Professionals. 


Sharlyn Lauby - Author at HR Bartender

Sharlyn Lauby – Author at HR Bartender

Regardless of the job market, recruiting is tough. Organizations are always looking for the best talent. Some of the most common talent acquisition challenges in today’s market include:

  • Talent shortages. The latest U.S. labor reports show that there are more (sometimes a lot more) job openings than job seekers. This doesn’t even take into account the overall quality of candidates in both STEM skills and soft skills.
  • Lengthy hiring process. Collaborative hiring has its advantages in terms of creating buy-in and building relationships. However, when candidates have choices, they will often take the first job offer presented to them. Longer hiring processes could result in losing top talent.
  • Lack of collaboration between hiring managers, recruiters, and key stakeholders. Speaking of collaboration, it’s important for everyone on the recruiting team to have the same goals when it comes to identifying and selecting the right candidates.
  • No data driven strategies. To help hiring teams make the best decisions, it makes good business sense to have data in terms of talent acquisition metrics (like time to fill and cost per hire) as well as benchmarking best practices.
  • Lack of technology or misaligned technology. Especially between applicant tracking systems (ATS) and human resources information systems (HRIS). Double data entry is not cost efficient or the best use of HR talent. HR could spend their time adding value through recruitment sourcing or workforce planning.

If organizations want to find the best candidates (and they do), then they might need to examine their recruiting processes. Creating a better talent acquisition process should lead to a better outcome.

Using agile talent acquisition to improve recruiting processes

During a recent MindManager webinar, “How to Apply Agile Practices to Talent Acquisition”, co-presenters Aamna Contractor, project manager for talent and people analytics at TELUS Digital, and Julie Harrison, senior global marketing manager at MindManager, shared how using agile methodology can streamline the hiring process and bring greater results.

Agile methodology, often used in software development, focuses on the exchange of regular feedback from key stakeholders to identify changes, make business decisions, and ultimately produce a better outcome. In terms of agile recruitment, the methodology is used to improve the overall recruiting strategy and overcome those common problems that can weigh the process down and cause organizations to lose candidates.

6 steps for adopting an agile recruitment process

The good news is that developing an agile hiring process doesn’t have to be difficult. And organizations don’t need to abandon some of the activities they’re currently doing. Here are a few of the changes that Contractor shared during the webinar to shape their agile recruitment process.

  1. Have a recruiting strategy, and make sure key stakeholders buy into it. This includes having a hiring forecast or staffing plan. One of the reasons that organizations can struggle with their recruiting goals is because the process is constantly changing, and not in a good way. Agile hiring gives organizations the best of both worlds. Consistency with the ability to regularly evaluate outcomes and make only necessary changes.
  2. Build talent pools using relevant, proven sources and engage with potential candidates. Talent pools are groups of interested people, applicants, and candidates. The goal of recruitment is to build a pipeline, not fill a requisition. If organizations focus on their pipeline, then they will be able to fill requisitions. A talent pool allows the company to start building those relationships before openings exist.
  3. Create a hiring team and give them the tools to be successful. During the webinar, Contractor talked about conducting “stand up” recruiting meetings. These are frequent but shorter meetings to stay on top of their talent pipeline. And to keep the conversation focused, people “stand” so the conversation doesn’t get off track.
  4. Maximize use of recruiting technology. This sounds so simple but it can be really hard. Many organizations buy technology for all the neat features and then don’t use half of them. It’s important for the human resources team to know the company’s recruiting technology. Really know it. Even if that means making an investment in training. It will help them use technology efficiently for standardization and automation.
  5. Use a candidate board to bring accountability into the process. This ties a little bit into the technology piece. Contractor mentioned during the webinar that one of the biggest frustrations she heard from hiring managers was knowing the status their recruitment pipeline. Stand up meetings helped but having the visual picture using Kanban technology added additional value.
  6. Track recruiting progress using data and metrics. Share the results with the recruiting team, including hiring managers. Then the team can use those data points to make educated decisions about activities such as evaluating best sources, changes to the candidate experience, and selecting quality new hires.
Agile Recruitment - Kanban Board Sample

Agile Recruitment – Kanban Board Sample

The benefits of agile recruitment

As a result of adopting an agile talent acquisition process, Contractor shared that her team discovered significant results:

  • Lower cost per hire because organizational resources were being fully utilized
  • Reduced time to fill because the team is more focused on overall process
  • Improved quality of hire because what the team saved in administrative time was shifted toward building better relationships with candidates, and finally
  • A better candidate experience because the process was effective and efficient

The challenges organizations are experiencing today with recruitment aren’t going away any time soon. If you want to learn more about how TELUS Digital uses agile talent acquisition and Kanban technology to fill their jobs, check out this archived webinar on “How to Apply Agile Practices to Talent Acquisition”. It’s well worth your time.

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