Chapter 1: Introduction

What does the phrase "Lean Recruiting: bring to mind?

A small talent acquisition team making the most of a limited budget.

Bare bones recruitment methods?

Lean recruiting has been adapted from the concept of lean manufacturing, and it continuously improves the talent acquisition process by eliminating waste and increasing efficiency.

Why exactly should recruiters focus on this continuous improvement method?

We often discuss the importance of developing consumer-quality career sites, and building talent pipeline. These strategies take time and resources. Should talent acquisition leaders also continuously monitor these efforts, and terminate with indifference those variables that are consistently inefficient?

Sort of; recruitment strategies should not be implemented and then unceremoniously tossed out the window; but HR leaders should be fully prepared to review their efforts, acknowledge process that are wasteful and unproductive, and make serious changes or adaptions in response.

In this chapter we will explain the concept of lean recruiting and highlight three takeaways for your talent acquisition strategy. This chapter is not intended to inspire you to completely change your tomorrow;  it’s meant to make you think of recruiting process improvements from a different angle.


So What is Lean Recruiting?

Lean manufacturing is a method for eliminating waste within manufacturing process. Famously developed by Toyota in mid-1990s, some refer to this system as “just in time” production. By reviewing and changing the manufacturing process to remove inconsistent and overburdened workloads, waste in reduces.

Toyota’s approach led to more flexible and adaptive manufacturing system, focused on the values that customers are willing to pay for. Talent acquisition leaders who see the global talent war as really a competition over supply chain management can see the parallels here between manufacturing and recruitment.

Typically supply chain transfer raw goods through the manufacturing process and end with finished products a customer bu. The human capital supply chain takes relationship and recruitment data and transform that into candidates hiring manager choose from looking at the process on its most basic level, recruiters more something of value (people) from a source to the customer (employer)  

So lean recruiting, review the talent acquisition process as a whole, identify wasteful and inefficient components, and eliminate or replace them.

But how exactly can recruiters implement these ideas into their talent acquisition strategies?

1)   Strong Metrics and Talent Acquisition Strategies.

Lean recruitment starts with looking at your entire talent acquisition strategies. What are the different process involved in filling an open position? How are those processes tracked and measured?

Your recruitment methods need to be analyzed, adapted, sometimes change entirely, to remain cost – effective and successful.

So first step is to establish of your talent acquisition strategy, and determine the metrics you will use to monitor its success. Some of the big sources of waste in lean recruitment include overproduction and over processing. In lean recruiting, running too many process to source candidates, and analyzing too much data, is more likely to hinder your results than improve them.


2)   Recruitment Metrics and Strategy Review

     At this stage you need to review every component of your TA methods and identify area of improvement. We already mentioned two important sources of waste in your human capital supply chain. Now it’s time to look for defective production, motion and waiting.

Waste from defects is pretty simple; something is not working as it should and your team waste time and resources finding and fixing the problem. This can lead to both motion (people and resources in action more than is required) and waiting (interruptions to the system while waiting for one process).

Is one of your job board expensive, but consistently returning sub-par candidates?

Does your team spend too much time analyzing every data point?

Are manager kept waiting too long before they can interview quality candidates?

These are just few examples of waste that can arise. Taking serious look at your process will help you eliminate inefficiencies and adapt to changing trends.

3)   Continuous Improvement Based on Results

So you have established your recruitment strategy and the metrics you will use to measure its success. You have reviewed the whole system and found some genuine room for improvement. How do you move forward?

Change is hard, but if you can accept that not everything will work perfectly the first time, you will end up with a much more flexible talent acquisition strategy.

Inventory is an important source of waste to consider here. Perhaps your team has spent a lot of time building up talent pipeline; but when opening actually arises, most of those candidates have already found other jobs.

Was it worth your time to develop the talent pipelines?

Some HR says no, or at least that talent pipelines are leaky and inefficient if built incorrectly.

They point out that in IT, some managers bypass HR and source their own candidates; much in the same way they use agile software development to continuously improve their product. If your own colleagues are ignoring your efforts to hire employees, it’s time to adapt your strategy. Let your ability to strategize, execute and adapt based on the result demonstrate the true value of your talent acquisition team.