Hiring the right candidate and hiring fast is becoming one of the main priorities of companies competing for talent. The Agile concept is almost 20 years old. The ‘Agile Manifesto’ came out in 2001 and was designed for the benefit of software developers. Ever since, the concept has extended itself to other fields, so much that 71% of organisations worldwide report using agile methodologies to manage projects. Business leaders across industries have seen how agile methodology helped developers be more productive without sacrificing the user’s interest.
What is Agile in recruitment? What advantages does implementing it represent?
A simplified definition of Agile recruiting can be « a recruiting project management methodology using sprints, prioritisation of tickets, and periodic feedback checkpoints to bring flexibility and efficiency to the recruiting team, and visibility to hiring managers ». Therefore, this methodology should allow companies to frequently adjust strategies thanks to continuous feedback, empower employees to be autonomous in the tasks they are assigned, collaborate efficiently and adapt when faced with unexpected changes. In simple terms, Agile recruitment removes complexity in work processes, for teams to work and deliver results, and effectively respond to change.
The Agile methodology integrates short cycles of work called sprints, which help to clearly layout the requirements and carry out tasks as efficiently as possible while receiving approval from stakeholders. Based on the feedback received at a different stage, the next cycle is modified to suit requirements to a greater degree. This is advantageous for recruitment as before wasting resources screening and pre-selecting all candidates, recruiters report back to stakeholders for approval before moving onto the next step; rather than waiting and having to start all over again.
6 Sprints to implement Agile to your Recruitment
Now that we’ve seen how agile recruitment works and how it is beneficial when implemented in recruitment techniques, let’s see how we can implement it ourselves:
Sprint 1: define the job, not the skills needed for the job
- This first sprint is crucial in order to put the whole recruitment team on the same page. Every recruiter looking for, screening, preselecting and interviewing candidates should agree on the actual job requirements before sourcing candidates.
- Start with a question such as: ‘What must this person do to be successful in the job? What skills must the person possess?’. The answer to these questions should provide a set of evaluations with measurable variables. The first sprint is done once everyone has agreed on a definition for the job.
Sprint 2: write job posts and emails to attract active, and passive candidates.
- The job posting should not be solely about defining the position. It is recommended to shape the posting around compelling elements, focusing on catching the eye. For example, a good tagline captures the attention, first step to applying. Minimise listing requirements like skills and experience. List the biggest challenge and elements of the company’s culture that would attract the best-fitted candidate for your company.
- As applications begin flowing in, request a mini cover letter, asking for comparable experiences. This additional step filters out candidates, leaving only the interested and qualified. After a few days, 5-6 suitable candidates should emerge, and confirm that your sprint is working.
Sprint 3: within a few days, find a few perfect fit passive candidates to test out
- After a number of applications rolled in, select a few. Maybe not fully qualified but truly experienced, motivated and who truly would consider this job their next career move.
- Report back to the hiring manager, review their profiles, briefly explaining why these candidates were picked. Either get an approval to proceed to the next recruitment process or go back to sprint 2.
Sprint 4: find enough high potential prospects to get to closing
- Though only a small number of candidates will be considered finalists, keeping a large pool of candidates that correspond to the job remains important.
- The competitive nature of recruitment nowadays as well as the relatively limited pool of high prospect you dispose of will require further intervention. So that as many pre-selected prospects remain interested and talk with you, use emails, phone calls, interventions… As a salesperson would, engage with them, chase them, charm them.
Sprint 5: conduct a 2-week review
- After about two weeks, the hiring managers should be talking with the highest prospect candidates, even passive ones.
- At this point in the agile recruitment process, you should be halfway through and well on track to closing the search project within the budget.
Sprint 6: repeat!
- Agile recruiting is about constant improvement, thanks to frequent checkups and clear, constant and effective collaboration within the team. Agile favours progression over perfection, and what works can always be improved. An improvement over cycles is a fundamental of agile methodology.
The final objective is learning during the recruitment process, and implementing improvements to be more efficient and productive. Moreover, agile techniques stimulate constant communication within the team. Collaboration is more effective, and processes are closed in less time and more successfully, creating economies of scale. Though the agile methodology cannot be applied to every aspect of recruiting, it is valuable enough to bring a significant amount of help.
To summarize, agile recruiting is a feedback-controlled process promoting dynamism and adaptation to the changing scope of work. Simultaneously it saves an important amount of time that goes in polishing the final result in comparison to perfecting it at the different stages.