The Ultimate Guide to Agile Recruiting: Learn How to Implement It

Recruiting the right people is a challenge. The process of attracting, interviewing, and hiring a new employee is one of the most complex in the HR department, and one of the most important.  For HR and People Ops teams who need to scale their hiring efforts, agile recruiting is the right approach.

Agile recruiting is modeled after the agile development method, and it may be your company’s best option for streamlining the hiring process, reducing time-to-hire, and landing qualified talent. Read on to learn what agile recruiting is, the benefits it offers, how to implement it, and solutions to some of the most common agile recruitment process implementation challenges. 

What is agile recruiting?

Agile recruiting is a method for sourcing and hiring talent that’s based on the agile method of development. Software developers first used the agile method to help them streamline processes and increase productivity. A key tactic of agile development is breaking tasks into “sprints.” 

Each stakeholder works on their sprints and then reports back to the team. Working this way facilitates progress and paves the way for more effective communication. 

What is a hiring sprint?

Hiring sprints are specific periods of time allocated for completing a particular part of the hiring process. Sprints are integral to the agile recruiting methodology because they help HR teams manage complexity and achieve targets. 

In a typical hiring sprint, the process is divided into two-week segments. For example, the first two weeks may be used to plan for the position and complete any necessary approvals. The second two-week sprint may be used to promote the open position across multiple channels. The next two week sprint is used to evaluate and interview candidates. 

Goal of the agile hiring process

The goal of any hiring process is to recruit capable and qualified talent. While this is also the ultimate output of an agile hiring process, the main goal is finding and hiring talent on schedule and as efficiently as possible. 

This is done by breaking a complex hiring process into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks.

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Benefits of agile hiring process

Agile recruiting offers a range of benefits over conventional recruiting methods. These include reducing time-to hire, containing the cost to hire, and helping HR and People Ops teams hit their targets. 

Reduces time-to-hire

One of the biggest recruiting challenges is getting roles filled fast. Because the interview and decision process can drag on forever, it can even bog down to the point the top candidate accepts another offer. The agile methodology keeps the process moving forward more quickly, cutting the time to accomplish the goal. 

Contains costs

The shorter the time-to-hire, the less it costs to land talent. Agile recruitment focuses on efficiency through focus to bring down hiring costs and make recruiting efforts more productive. 

Keeps teams focused

Teams that are focused are more productive and likely to hit their targets. They know how to prioritize work based on its value, and how to make the most of their time. Building the agile methodology into the recruitment process helps teams zero in on what’s important and to set lower priorities aside for the time being. 

Improves collaboration

Setting consistent touchpoints creates more chances for two-way communication among the project’s participants. Talking about progress, discussing roadblocks, and enjoying achievements help solidify the team members toward the common goal. 

Helps avoid bad hires

Bad hires are expensive. According to CareerBuilder, companies lose an average of $14,900 on every bad hire, and 74% of companies surveyed said they’ve made at least one wrong hire. 

As mentioned above, collaboration is a positive aspect the agile methodology encourages within the hiring process. If, from the beginning, the people involved with hiring discuss and decide the type of candidate they’re looking for, the ads can target those people better, and the interviewers can work to land those candidates. 

Pinpointing what the role needs early in the process is essential in finding the talent who meets the criteria, and this is done easier with agile recruiting.

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5 tips to implement an agile recruitment process

Steering your hiring processes in a new direction may be challenging, but the return on investment is worth it. If you’ve decided to implement an agile recruitment strategy, here are five tips to help implement it as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

1. Get structured. 

A structured recruiting process may be the single most important thing you do to support an agile recruiting process. Without a defined starting point, sequence of events, and outcome, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to maintain control and visibility. Since agile recruitment gets broken into sprints, a structured process will make it easier to organize your time and resources into manageable units of activity. 

2. Get specific. 

Since agile development emphasizes efficiency and maintaining a schedule, any ambiguity can cause delays and derail the recruiting process. To avoid this scenario, you will want to be as specific as possible at every opportunity. Create a detailed job description. Define the minimum requirements for the position as well as the ideal requirements. Choose deadlines and over communicate at every turn. 

3. Delegate. 

Recruitment is a process made up of many moving parts. Once the recruitment plan has been created, clearly delegate tasks to other team members. Make sure they understand their tasks and their deadlines. 

4. Stick to your plan. 

Deviation from the recruiting strategy can cause delays and disruptions. Agile methodology avoids mid-sprint changes that can send teams back to the drawing board. Once the sprint is in motion, stick to the plan until it’s complete. If something goes awry, build what you’ve learned into the next sprint. 

5. Finish, learn, and move on. 

Once the sprint is completed, it’s time to assess the results. Stay objective and try to learn as much as you can from the previous activities. If the sprint was a success, try to understand why. If the desired result was not achieved, pinpoint the cause to the best of your ability. Then use these lessons to structure the next sprint. 

Challenges to implementation

Agile recruitment processes follow a common pattern. That means that they are susceptible to some common challenges. These include resistance to adoption, not enough support from leadership, and inadequate communication. 

Resistance to adoption

In order for an agile recruitment process to be successful, you will need buy-in from everyone who has a part in the process. Sprints will not work unless everyone on the team agrees to the structure and abides by it. 

Solution: Give people plenty of time to prepare before you shift to an agile recruitment strategy. Be clear about the benefits and goals of implementing the strategy. Answer questions and address concerns early on. Train and prepare your team well to overcome hesitation and resistance. 

Lacking support from leadership

The agile framework may seem like a dramatic change to many people. Without the support of their leaders, teams or departments may remain suspicious of this new approach, or expect it to be a passing fad. As a result, they may only half-heartedly participate. 

Solution: Getting your organization’s leadership to show their support (and belief in) agile recruiting will help build confidence and earn trust. Teams will be more likely to give the new process a chance if they know that business leaders are personally invested in the outcome.  

Communication breakdowns

Transparent, two-way communication is essential for any change, and adopting an agile recruitment process is no different. If team members don’t understand why the company’s doing it, how and when it will be done, or what their part is, they may avoid participating in it.

Solution: Review all your communication channels and apps to make sure teams have all the visibility they need. This is especially important when work items or information have to cross team, department, or system boundaries. If your company does not currently rely on a system of engagement to integrate and unify communications, explore options to do so.

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Agile talent acquisition process example

Here is an example of how a talent acquisition team can implement an agile recruiting process. 

  • Sprint 1: Gather information from the hiring manager. 
  • Sprint 2: Investigate the market and competitors.
  • Sprint 3: Determine position requirements. 
  • Sprint 4: Define compensation and benefits. 
  • Sprint 5: Create a plan to distribute the job posting. 
  • Sprint 6: Distribute the job posting and gather applications. 
  • Sprint 7: Narrow applicant pool.
  • Sprint 8: Conduct interviews. 
  • Sprint 9: Select a candidate. 
  • Sprint 10: Negotiate the offer. 

Build an agile hiring process with Pipefy 

Agile recruiting and hiring depend on a team’s ability to build a structured process. But they also require the right tools to visualize processes, organize information, and automate repetitive tasks. Most importantly, agile recruiting requires visibility into how well a team is meeting its targets. 

Pipefy’s low-code automation helps teams deliver better candidate experiences while giving them more control over their workflows. Low-code automation is designed to allow HR and People Ops teams to easily build, modify, and automate their processes using a visual user interface.

IT teams retain control to enforce security and compliance requirements, but don’t have to resolve a ticket each time a minor change is needed. This means HR teams stay agile, while IT stays in control. 

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