Recruiters, Why Don’t We Scrum More?

By Pete Radloff

Timely. Detailed. Manager. Feedback.

When you read that, you have one of two likely reactions. They are probably either “I’m sorry, what did you say? Was that English?” or “Oh, you mean when a manager says ‘hmmm, Not a fit'”. Let’s face it, regardless of whether you are an internal or external recruiter, getting timely and detailed feedback and information is usually a challenge. Feedback and a solid heads up can very much resemble the purple squirrel we’re all always in search of. So what can we do? We’re all at the mercy of the hiring manager who makes the final call, right? Well, what if we turned the feedback model on it’s head?

Many of you who recruit for technical and/or engineering roles are familiar with the Scrum development methodology. Not familiar? NO PROBLEM. It’s not just for engineers! Scrum is a methodology that incorporates the idea of fast development cycles, frequent releases and quick stand-ups versus long, drawn out, “Death by Powerpoint” meetings. Hmm, maybe the developers are on to something here.

If we start to think and work like the client teams we’re supporting, there’s a greater chance of success of us getting what we need. For our purposes, let’s focus on the quick standup here. Consider these outcomes as part of moving toward a more Scrum mentality when working with hiring managers:

Quicker Feedback
By scheduling 10-15 minute stand-ups on the books with hiring managers, you can get detailed feedback on phone interviews, submitted candidates, and any tweaks they want to make to the profile in real time. Also, with their schedules, 10-15 minutes is easier than 30-60 minutes. Now you can get the info you need to pivot, or to keep the trains moving forward with candidates. And at the end of the day, quick feedback is an integral part of any candidate experience.

Work How They Work
Eternally, recruiters are trying to move to a model where they “have a seat at the table” so that they can be seen as business partners versus order takers. This is an ideal way to show that you get it. You understand how quick they need to move, and you want to work within those parameters.

Client Service & Personal Touch
Scrums are a much more effective way to have a personal touch point with your managers. Seeing their recruiter frequently helps build familiarity, and familiarity breeds trust. Respecting their time, and still getting what you need is a win-win for both sides. And let’s be real… one reads emails. A harsh truth, but a truth nonetheless. And isn’t 15 minutes talking better spent than say, 4 hours a week playing email tag?

Stay On Top Of The Needs
In addition to having your Scrum meeting with your managers, try to join in on a couple of the development scrums. Sure, most of what is discussed will not apply directly to recruiting. But during those meetings, occasionally the future needs are discussed, or they talk about where they are bottlenecked and may need additional heads. This my friends, is proactive recruiting at it’s genesis. Again, it’s part of building a sense of trust among not only the managers, but the team as well.

This might be most useful in the technical arena, but it can definitely be parlayed across multiple business units with some modifications. And, since we’re all looking to show that we can help drive the business, this is a potentially helpful way to demonstrate that to you teams.

Have you incorporated this at your organization? I’d love to hear your take on this.

Here are a couple of fun takes on incorporating Scrum in your process:


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