Welcome to the Lean, Just-In-Time Blog and Resources Page

Our published "Best Practice" recruitment tools, tips and thoughts are stored here. Each blog is keyword searchable (use the search function in the top right hand corner of the page). You can utilize these resources to immediately impact and improve recruitment performance! Our clients use these materials to guide continuous improvement learning sessions and to assist with the "behavior modification" process.

Turning Your Hiring Manager Into Raving Fans

January 28th, 2015

What we have learned from our Voice of the Customer Assessments


Last year, with the help of Dr. Jeffery Sanchez-Burks from the University of Michigan,  we built a suite of three validated Voice of the Customer (VOC) Assessments  for recruitment organizations:

  • HMART – Hiring Manager Assessment of Recruitment Team HMART
  • New Hire Candidate Experience Assessment
  • Non-Hired Candidate Experience Assessment

We have had tremendous success using these assessments to:

  • Understand what core customers want from the recruitment organization.
  • Improve customer satisfaction and turn them into Raving Fans!

While there are many factors that drive satisfaction, we have found there are three fundamental keys to success:

  1. Credibility – do your customers like you? Trust you? Respect you for your knowledge?  If this is present with your customer base . . . it is the foundation to customer satisfaction.
  2. Empathy – Do your customers know you truly care about them and their needs?  Do hiring managers understand you lose sleep over finding the right candidates? Do applicants know how much it pains you that you can’t reach back out to all of them with feedback?  Empathy for their situation/needs/wants is very important.
  3. Socialize – If you perform voice of the customer assessments, it is important that you thank your customers for participating, share what you have learned and what you are doing to improve.  Being open and transparent is very important with respect to improving customer satisfaction.

If you are not surveying your core key customers, I would encourage you to do so!  You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

If you are interested in our Validated VOC assessments and industry benchmarks – let us know


David Szary

Recruiters – What Makes Your Organization Special?

January 21st, 2015

And the Top 10 reasons to work for Avera Health System are…


We’d like to Thank Tammy Anderson, Director of Talent Acquisition at Avera Health, for providing us this Guest Blog.  You can reach Tammy through LinkedIn by Clicking Here.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to have your hospital be on David Letterman’s Top 10 list?  Well, we at Avera Health haven’t quite made David Letterman’s Top 10 list, but we do have a list of our own that we think showcases why people would want to work with us!

How did we get to the list?  A few months ago we began a Lean Transformation Journey with David Szary from Lean Human Capital which included a review of our career website.  As we took a deep dive to evaluate what we had on our site we realized that it looked pretty generic, at times too wordy and maybe wasn’t as eye catching as it could be.  Was the top talent that we wanted to capture even reading our postings, or were they moving on to the next website? What could make them stay and apply?  Our healthcare system reaches across an expansive, rural geographic area that can be a recruitment struggle, so how do we sell Avera to passive and active candidates?

With Lean Human Capital’s help, we started to create new, visually appealing job postings that instantly presented a compelling value proposition.  As we were doing so, we recognized that in each of our postings we wanted to say what makes working for Avera so special and why you should choose Avera.  Our goal was to showcase the following things that set us apart from our competitors:

  • Employee engagement.
  • Nationally recognized awards such as Avera hospitals being named as Truven Health Care’s 100 Top Hospitals, Magnet Recognition Program, Premier Inc.’s QUEST program and more.
  • State-of-the-art technology such as Avera eCARE services, robotic surgical systems, the Avera Behavioral Health Center and more.
  •  Avera is financially sound and has earned an A1 bond rating by Moody’s and an AA- from Standard and Poor’s.
  • Our mission – 97% of our employees understand how their jobs support our mission.

In starting to list all the reasons to join Avera, it was taking us back to square one where our job postings became too long.  Job seekers are only spending 6 seconds on average reading a job posting, so you have to get to your compelling message very quickly.

Brainstorming with our Marketing department, we came up with the idea of hosting a “What Makes Avera Special?” link on our home career website.  As we were creating our top list, many of us learned more amazing qualities about Avera that we really hadn’t thought about.  This gave the Talent Acquisition team an even deeper sense of pride in working for Avera, and bred excitement to share this feeling with our candidates. Every candidate now has the opportunity to click on the link and learn more about our culture and who we are as a healthcare system.

We didn’t stop there. As we continued to look for ways to share this, we include it in our email tagline so that everyone we communicate with becomes inspired to want to work with us!

I invite you to click on our hyperlink as it is our goal for our message to become viral as we believe being employed by Avera Health should be contagious!


Tammy Anderson

Director of Talent Acquisition

Avera Heatlh

Recruitment Best Practice for 2015

January 14th, 2015

Check It Out!

One of our RACR  students last week asked a question regarding my thoughts on just-in-time hiring and demand forecasting.

For those that know me, I have a passion on these topics and have written about them many times in the past. Unfortunately, I was struggling to find information on the topics to share with her. Like the ‘carpenters house’ analogy, I sometimes forget where to find my own content I have developed over the years.

Then it dawned on me . . . . . I should check out our Blog Page  on our website.

Over the last 7 years, we have written over 350 content rich blogs, articles and white papers. If you have not checked out our Blog page,  I would encourage you to do so.

It has an easy search feature in the top right hand corner. I typed in some key words related to the topic and I found some good information I could share with the student.

Another area to check out would be our Whitepapers  page.

Seven years ago, we made a commitment to be a resource to the recruitment community based on all the Best Practices we learn along our Journey.

Hopefully you will find them of value (like I did last week).

David Szary

The Power Has Shifted To The Candidate

January 7th, 2015

Current recruitment practices will not work in 2015?!


Happy New Year!

And as we head into 2015, it is eerily starting to feel a lot like the late 90’s.  Yes, the late 90’s!

  • Unemployment rates are dropping
  • Turnover is increasing
  • Jobs are staying open longer

It really feels like the market is shifting in many areas to a candidate-driven market.

If you were recruiting back then, you remember how difficult it became to recruit the top talent. I remember some companies literally went out of business because they could not lure top talent to join their team.

Now I am not trying to paint a picture of ‘gloom & doom’ as we head into the New Year.  Conversely, this is the time that the spotlight will be on Talent Acquisition. Our executives will recognize and appreciate our value to the organization because of the heightened media attention to this shift in the market place.

With that said, it is clearly time (if you haven’t already done so) to shift your recruitment practices to ensure you are capable of meeting the hiring needs of your organization.

ERE.net had a great post on this subject late last year. Check It Out.

We look forward to working with recruitment organizations to develop proactive recruitment strategies in a candidate-driven market place.

It is time for Talent Acquisition to shine!

Are you ready?

David Szary

Recruiters – How Many Emails Are In Your Inbox?

December 16th, 2014

I hope 20 or less!

In our The Perfect Week, A Perfect Daysm RACR module,  I always ask each student how many emails they have on average in their inbox?

Answers I have received over the years have ranged from zero to hundreds.

So what is the significance of this question?

There have been countless studies done with respect to lost productivity and email.  Studies indicate that the average person opens an email in their inbox 3.5 times before they end up doing something with it (i.e. delete, move to side folder, etc.).

Now lets say that each time you open it, you spend 30 seconds reviewing it before closing it again. Doesn’t seem like much time. But if you calculate that TIMES the thousands of emails you get a year, you are wasting countless hours each week on this completely wasteful activity!

Here is some advice to help manage your inbox and eliminate the time wasted reviewing emails:

  •  After opening each email, have the discipline to:
    • Read and delete.
    • Read, take action on your Perfect Week Master TO-DO Dashboard and delete.
    • Read, take action on your TO-DO Dashboard and move to a side folder if it contains information you need to take action later.
    • Set aside time before you leave each day to perform inbox “maintenance”.
      • Great to help organize and plan for the next day.
      • Great stress management technique! (opening an inbox in the morning with 100++ emails is very stressful to me!)
      • Consciously keep track of how many emails you have in your inbox. I try and check each day before I end work for the day. Shoot for leaving the day with less than 20!


Good luck!  And Happy Holidays!

David Szary

Sourcing Passive Candidates – 101

December 10th, 2014

Leveraging Your Centers of Influence (COIs)

With the Internet and the emergence of social giving us access to millions of candidate prospects, I feel like recruiters have strayed away from their most cost effective, quality sourcing tactic . . . leveraging their Centers of Influence (COIs), i.e. hiring managers, top performing employees, candidates, friends, family, etc.

Heck – we found that so many recruiters were forgetting to perform some of the ‘easy’ sourcing tactics that we dedicated a whole Recruiter Academy  education module (Module 6) to this topic!

Some easy, no-brainer ways you can leverage your COIs include:

  • Ask hiring managers what associations they belong to and:
    • Get the membership directory from them.
    • Harvest the conference attendee and speaker list.
    • Ask Hiring managers to post their position on their LinkedIn Status.
    • Identify all top performing employees (as rated by hiring managers) that have been on the job for less than 6 months. Engage them and ask them whom they previously worked with that they would like to work with again? Reach out to these former ‘dream team’ colleagues and/or have current employees make the connection.
    • Review references of all top candidates for new prospects.


While the Internet and social sites provide a wonderful way to connect to top talent, don’t forget to leverage your own COIs!

David Szary

Recruitment Best Practices of Elite Recruitment Organizations

December 3rd, 2014

In a recent ERE Post, they listed 10 Recruitment Best Practices identified by industry thought leaders (listed below).

As I read the article, three thoughts came to mind:

  1. I wouldn’t disagree with any of them. These are best practices of elite recruitment organizations!
  2. Our Elite Honor Roll  winners are doing these things. As we analyzed the performance of our RECRUITx Community members during our Recruitment Metrics Benchmark Analysis,  it is clear that the top performers have the discipline and focus to do a vast majority of these things!
  3. This is a great list to review to develop strategic initiatives for your organization.  Are you doing these things? If not, what ones do you feel are most important to implement in the next 6 months to a year?


  1. Focus on passive candidate identification and relationship building — before you need to hire them!
  2. Tap into, and use, the hiring manager social network more proactively.
  3. Bring sales strategy into recruiting.
  4. Add a dedicated sourcer and research person to the team.
  5. Have marketing assist in rewriting job descriptions to better sell the opportunity.
  6.  Ask hiring managers to participate in online virtual events to attract and engage passive talent.
  7. Track and analyze data to provide talent insights to the business.
  8. Set up specialized recruitment teams.
  9. Use social engagement tools to engage more with target candidates.
  10. Have good market intelligence to change hiring manager behavior.


I hope you are having a Perfect Week!

David Szary

Rock Star Recruiting

November 25th, 2014

A personal touch during a week of thanks!

While the holiday shopping season may have started weeks (months) ago, Thanksgiving week is the official kickoff of the holiday season.

As many start to reflect on the year and what they are thankful for, it is a wonderful time to reach out to people you hired during the year!

A great best practice is to send a nice card wishing them a happy holiday season! Something NON-ELECTRONIC (not an email, text, etc.), and if possible add a nice hand written note.

Now I know that many of you fill 150+ positions a year, so this might be difficult to do, but . . . I do know this type of gesture can go a long way with respect to employee engagement, referrals, etc.

Plus it is just something nice you can do to Make Someone’s Day, something we discuss in Module 1 of our RACR program.

I hope you have a nice, relaxing holiday weekend!

David Szary

The Hiring Manager & Recruiter Communication Gap – How to Close It!

November 19th, 2014

Best Practices From A Current Practitioner

Lean Human Capital and MaineHealth, located in Portland, Maine, have embarked on a Lean Transformation Journey to optimize their decentralized recruitment functions, improve recruitment deliverables, and quantify results into cost savings for their organization. The MaineHealth leadership team recognized, early on, how critical it is to initiate a cultural shift and build cohesive relationships by incorporating their customers’ input in the journey. Organizational Change often falls short of its vision, particularly in healthcare. In fact, 70% of change initiatives fail.

Lisa McIlwain, Senior Director of Talent Management, and her team placed strong emphasis on obtaining input from their customers and key stakeholders, then constructed a comprehensive communication plan to introduce their new model and recruitment processes to each facility.  Key messages in the communication plan also included a Career Biography for each recruitment team member, and the inclusion of a team picture in the presentation. What a great way to make it personal!

As part of Lisa’s overall private training initiative,  Lean Human Capital was brought onsite to conduct educational seminars with hiring leaders across the enterprise on the value of the recruiting partnership, along with an introduction to the practice of recruitment Intake Sessions and Service Level Agreements.

An Intake Guide and Department Bio Sheet was introduced by recruitment to capture key insights into qualifications and skills of successful employees, as well as understanding department culture and leadership style. Placing this department intelligence in an online library on a shared intranet drive is the next step the team is working on.

Next, the team created a Service Level Agreement (SLA) template to align both the recruiters and hiring managers on target time frames for each key juncture in the recruiting process. Since many of the recruiters have a large number of managers that they support, they are prioritizing which managers they meet with first to have a SLA discussion and are considering the following criteria:

  • Departments with high employee turnover.
  • High cost of vacancy departments (Agency and Overtime usage).
  • Departments with revenue loss potential (i.e. Operating Room).
  • Hiring Managers where building an improved relationship is necessary.
  • Departments with a high volume of openings.

Once recruiters have met with those leaders meeting the above criteria, they will continue to introduce and meet with each of their hiring managers and have a SLA discussion and conduct a thorough intake as needed. With leaders who hire on a regular basis, the recruiters are discovering they can conduct an Intake and SLA discussion at one time, then check in every 90 days to see if anything needs updating.

These are fundamental tools and processes that have been proven to create strong partnerships with hiring leaders and recruiters.

I hope you have a Perfect Week!

Deb Vargovick

Hiring Veterans – Strategies from a Practitioner

November 12th, 2014

From time to time, we feature practitioners utilizing innovative strategies in the recruitment industry.  This week’s blog is one of those features we’re excited to bring you.  As we continue to honor and thank those men and women that served our country, Lean Human Capital is pleased to share an article authored by one of our Recruiter Academy Certified Recruiters, Keith Vencel, Senior Talent Consultant, HR Talent Management & Operations at Vanderbilt University and Medical Center. Keith is a retired United States Air Force Officer and former Air Force Recruiter. He earned the Commander in Chief’s Installation Excellence Award, presented by former Secretary of Defense, Mr. Dick Cheney, for leadership in the workplace.  We proudly present.…

Employment for Veterans and Their Families – Your Next Steps      

There is a push to hire veterans…why?  The question is important because thousands of men and women are leaving the armed forces due to their enlistments/contracts ending or the Department of Defense’s downsizing initiative.  I fully expect hiring managers to see an increase in the volume of CVs/resumes crossing their desks next year and for years to come.

Veterans leaving the service or who have left over the past years are facing at least one major barrier to employment, and that is translating their military skills to civilian positions. However, veterans are being prepared for this transition in two ways.  One way involves service branches offering a Transitional Assistance Program (TAP).   About 3-12 months prior to their last day, a veteran attends a Transitional Assistance Program (TAP)  during which courses are offered to help revamp a military resume into a civilian resume, practice interview skills, and learn about the do’s and don’ts of the interview process.

The second method of preparing veterans for the civilian workforce is local veterans’ organizations.    I believe the best solution is to partner with local veteran groups who provide employment services/counselors.  In Tennessee, there is a nonprofit veteran-centered organization called “Operation Stand Down Tennessee” (OSDTN).  I’ve been involved with this group of committed veterans helping veterans, and each member of the team is more than willing to work with veterans in developing or revising resumes, applying for open positions, and any final preparations that are needed to successfully gain employment in the civilian market.  Organizations like OSDTN are a valuable service to veterans across the state of Tennessee.

From an employer’s perspective, the wish list for hiring new employees begins with values.  Values are what drive our motives, decisions, and most importantly, our actions.  I recently attended an online Webinar hosted by “The Walt Disney Company; “Veterans Institute, Heroes Work Here”. The Walt Disney Company is building a brand by embracing veterans, opening doors for employment and extending invitations to their theme parks. A company can’t beat that consistent, loyal, and devoted mindset. In this webinar, we discussed Military Values and what that means to an individual and us, the employer.  Here is an overview of military values of our five branches of service:

Air Force – Integrity, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do

Army – Loyalty, Duty, Honor, Respect, Integrity, Selfless Service, and Personal Courage

Coast Guard – Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty

Navy & USMC – Honor, Courage, and Commitment

These values are the basis of human dignity and respect, and military members always strive for the ultimate level of professionalism.   You can see it when they speak, walk, or the terms they use to convey their thoughts.  What supervisor would not want these personal traits?  Therefore, during the next interview, if the candidate mentions or you see from their resume/CV that they are a veteran of the armed forces, immediately take note of the above values and realize you are sitting on a gold mine that can and will “make a difference” given the opportunity.  You have the foundation of an excellent employee and with a little mentoring and coaching; you will be successful in your duties and be seen as a leader of others with a unique leadership style.

I believe veterans bring key attributes to the civilian workforce. Veterans are comfortable with assuming high levels of trust and responsibility and they have accumulated advanced technical and leadership skills. They remain up to date with the latest technology, continually improving processes and procedures, and finally, being the best in their field/specialty-as that is how promotions are achieved.

If you need a team player; ask a veteran to participate and help lead the way.  Military professionals are trained on advanced team building skills and are resilient and strong in organizational commitment and dedication.  And the best of all is that they are very comfortable with working in a diverse workforce in order for an organization to prosper long term. Veterans embrace diversity as they realize it is the pathway to innovation and creativity.

I cannot overstate the importance of these attributes in today’s workplaces as we need leaders to set the example and influence others to do their best.  The teamwork element is so strong amongst veterans that you see it every time they are interviewed on television.  For example, just watch the evening news and when they interview soldiers, sailors, airman and other active/reserve duty volunteers, the audience will always hear them speak about their brothers and sisters and doing whatever it takes to stay together and protect each other’s back—at all times.  That sense of camaraderie is nothing like I’ve seen in any organization I’ve worked for in my 20 years working in the civilian sector.

With values and attributes being a big motivator for employers to hire veterans, let me solidify my premise from a business perspective.  Hiring a veteran means an organization will have an individual that will take ownership, freely give trust to co-workers and a leader, adapt to technological tools, bounces back from adversity, and quickly integrates themselves into a team and the changing environment.  The skills veterans bring to the table end up delivering results to the organization with increased revenue and better ways of doing things; thus, evolving.

Recently, I attended and participated in the “Paycheck for Patriots” veterans’ job fair in Nashville, Tennessee, where the top veterans’ employers in the region attended with an immediate focus on hiring veterans and family members.  I love attending veterans’ events as the esprit de corps and camaraderie is pronounced and visible all around the exhibit hall.  I see this sense of pride and patriotism from both the veteran candidates and employers and their representatives.  Interestingly, many of the human resources/recruiters are prior military recruiters-which help veterans work through the maze of an internal application processes.  As a former Air Force Recruiter and a Talent Acquisition Consultant, I understand the anxiety these men and women are experiencing entering the private sector.  We can help our veterans by opening doors and opportunities and allow them to use their transferable skills to accomplish your mission.

During the kick-off of the “Paycheck for Patriots” job fair, we had the pleasure of listening to a guest speaker, Assistant Secretary Keith Kelly, Department of Labor, Office of Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. I listened attentively to his message about the role of all of us in the private sector in assessing and hiring veterans and their families. He spoke of a diverse workforce and explained that “twenty percent of veterans who have served since 9/11 are women, compared to just 4% of the veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Everyone who serves today is a volunteer, opposed to when I was drafted in 1968, and the vast majority of those who now serve joined during a time of war, practically guaranteeing a deployment to a combat zone. It takes a special kind of person, a special kind of citizen, to raise their right hand and say; “Send Me. I’ll go”.

As a human resources professional in the private sector, I feel uniquely qualified to understand the plight of veterans and their families.  As a former Air Force recruiter and healthcare recruiter, I see where the needs are for the veteran candidate, and from an organizational perspective.

Hiring top talent means an organization desires a dedicated loyal practitioner of teamwork. I recently hired an Air Force nurse who completed her military commitment and was making the transition to the private sector. I spent some time explaining employment processes and managing her expectations and eventually was successful in hiring her for a key position at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  What is interesting was the feedback from the department as they immediately recognized her professionalism, knowledge of nursing and her refined soft skills.  She stood out. This is just one of many examples I have experienced as a clinical recruiter and I see these traits from our veterans during the hiring process. Veterans bring decisiveness, the spirit of teamwork, and leadership skills to any role. Could you use these traits in your work environment?

In summary, the military is producing some of the most highly trained, team oriented professionals this country has seen, and it is time the supervisors and hiring managers fully embrace veterans reentering the workforce.  If you are not sure, just ask yourself, have the recent hires in past years performed at the level you expected? If not, consider asking your recruiter to send you veteran’s applications.


David Szary