Lean Recruitment – Hire faster and better

You might be familiar with the term Lean Startup that focuses on prioritising and launching your product as soon as possible and then analysing the results. So, why not do same for recruitment? Why not simplify the hiring process and test candidates before they officially join your team for example? By Yong Kim, blog.jobbox.io

To better explain this Lean Recruitment concept we have spoken to Yong Kim, co-founder at Wonolo. Yong Kim, has written about this topic in the past and he believes it’s time to break away from traditional recruitment methods. Forget about resumes and never ending interviews. Cut it down to the basics and hire more efficiently with Lean Recruitment.

What is Lean Recruiting?

The concept of “lean”, whether it’s related to Lean Manufacturing, Lean Production, Lean Enterprise or Lean Startup, focuses on creating value for end users by reducing any unnecessary use of limited resources. One of the key components of the “lean” process is the rapid feedback loop – multiple iterations to quickly and constantly incorporate end users’ feedback.

Lean Recruiting is based on this very principle where companies can create value (i.e. finding top talent) for end users (i.e. organizations, teams, divisions) by reducing any unnecessary use of limited resources (i.e. expensive and time consuming process of posting jobs, reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates). This can be done based on the rapid and multiple feedback loop (i.e. testing out candidates and getting quick feedback on their on-the-job performance).

Why do you think interviews and resumes aren’t useful anymore?

There have been numerous studies and articles written which suggested no real correlation between interviews and real job performance (Why interviews are a waste of time, Even Google Doesn’t Do Interviews Better). Resume reviews and interviews can be effective in eliminating the bottom quartile candidates who do not meet a certain set of thresholds that are absolute minimum requirements of the job. However, for the remaining 75% of the candidates, resume and interviews fail to provide any indication on who will fit well within the organization, who will be loyal through ups and downs and who will perform the best at the job.
The very reason is that you have not yet seen how these candidates will react in the real job setting. This is analogous to situations in manufacturing or startups where you do not know how your customers will react until you release your product and service. You can guess based on various data points and your gut reaction, but again, this is just your best guess at the end of the day.

How can companies recruit better, especially in tech? How can this Lean Recruiting model be used when hiring tech people?

The technology industry, from large enterprises to small startups, has been one of the fastest adopters of Lean and Agile in their product development process – to launch quickly even though it may not be perfect, get feedback, iterate and improve. Yet, when it comes to recruiting talent, many tech companies still rely on the traditional method of recruiting – reviewing resumes and conducting a series of interviews which can often be a long drawn-out process. This is a paradox.
I believe that the Lean Recruiting model can be used in the following way, and in fact, I have seen more and more startups doing something similar to this in practice:

  1. Quickly screen and weed out candidates that do not meet the minimum job requirements.
  2. Bring in remaining candidates over the next 2-3 days and have them go through the job that they will be performing if they were to be hired. Set up the situation as close to real as possible.
  3. Have your team members treat these candidates as if they are new members of the team during these days.
  4. Collect feedback at the end of each day and share notes.
  5. Bring in final candidates (select few) based on multiple days of feedback, have them perform the same job again for one day and make the final decision.

One of the most important aspects of this process is the feedback loop where the team that is in need of hiring talent is fully engaged during this process and can provide as much feedback as possible.

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