Lean, Just-in-Time Recruiting!

Archive for the ‘Strategic Business Partner’ Category

Managing Your Hiring Managers, Part Three

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

We recently posted the first of three parts in our series about Managing Your Hiring Managers. (Part One, Part Two)   We discussed how to understand what your hiring manager’s want through Voice of the Customer (VOC) and how to build credibility with your hiring managers.

Our final post of the series will focus on how to effectively manage the hiring manager relationship.

Effectively Managing the Hiring Manager relationship   

So, you’ve spent a great deal of time assessing your hiring manager’s needs through Voice of the Customer, and you’ve worked hard to establish credibility.  Now, if you don’t effectively manage the relationship with them then all of your efforts will be wasted!!

One important step in the management of any consultative relationship is the ability to establish a strong foundation to the partnership (yes, you’re the recruiting consultant to your hiring manager!).  This starts when consultants engage with clients in the initial intake session.  

Intake Session = Foundation:  If you have a good intake session then you have a strong foundation to build a relationship! A good intake session is not only about uncovering the basic wants and needs of your hiring manager but it will allow you to explore the position in great detail as well, including: 

  • Why is the position open?
  • What are the top 3-5 key objectives for someone in this position?
  • What are the challenges a person will face in this position?
  • How is performance measured?
  • What is your hiring managers style/personality/culutre
  • Sourcing Strategy questions
    • Who are some of your top performers that I could network with?
    • Who are some of the top performers externally that you’re aware of?
    • Are you aware of any companies that might be struggling that I could tap into?
  • What are the selling points of the position?
  • What “knock out” questions do you suggest I use?
  • What is our Service Level Agreement?

Establishing a Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a key step in effectively managing the hiring manager relationship.  It sets expectations in advance, for both you and your hiring manager about who is going to do what during the hiring process and how long it’s going to take.

For example, a well crafted SLA will outline how quickly you will be expected to provide qualified and interested candidates as well as how quickly your hiring manager will respond once you have submitted an initial slate of candidates.

If you’d like to see an example of our intake and SLA documents please contact me.

Finally, best in class organizations use detailed analytics, trend tracking, and ongoing voice of the customer sessions/surveys to consistently check on hiring manager satisfaction and correct areas of concern proactively. 

If you’re effectively managing the relationship, you’re not only talking with your hiring managers often about the day to day aspects of candidate flow, but you’re also meeting with them at least quarterly to look at your high level results as a team to mitigate any areas of risk.

Have a fantastic week!

Managing Your Hiring Managers, Part Two

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Last week we posted the first part in this series on Managing Your Hiring Managers.  We discussed how to understand what your hiring manager’s want (or just as important – need) through voice of the customer (VOC).

A key to building a consultative partnership with your hiring manager is by getting to know them personally and building credibility with strong functional knowledge of their organization, business unit and staff.  

How do you accomplish this? The following questions will help guide you so that you can become recognized as a true staffing partner with your hiring managers.

Knowing Your Hiring Managers & Building Credibility – Self Assessment!

  • Do you have strong, personal relationships with your hiring managers? Do you know where they are from, their hobbies and interests?  You don’t need to be best friends.  But, you should have some basic knowledge of your customer and who they are. 
  • Do you know their administrative assistants or other support staff well? Often the most important contact you’ll have is the Administrative Assistants and other support professionals aligned to your hiring manager.  They can be your best ally to ensure you’re given access to the hiring manager’s schedule and they always have an ear to the inner workings of the hiring manager’s department.
  • Who are their top performers?  Do you have a relationship with them?  If you’re trying to build a business for your hiring manager, you should always look at their leadership team.  From the successor of the department to the top performers, the traits from these team members are what the hiring manager is seeking to build in his/her department and what you should look for when courting talent.  Also building relationships with these leaders will ensure your opinion is vetted throughout the key influencers in your hiring manager’s world.
  • Do you have a strong functional knowledge of what they do?  What does the hiring manager actually do every day?  You should have a basic understanding of how they spend their time.  They should also know how you spend yours. :)
  • Do you keep up with the industry?   Sure, you should be reading Workforce & HR magazines, but you should also be reading up on the latest trends in your industry. Whatever the industry (i.e. healthcare, banking, home building), you should stay abreast of trends there.
  • Have you visited the department or met their staff?  If you have the ability to make a visit in person do so.  One of my clients within the insurance industry conducts site visits once a month to make sure they have a face tied to the name.  
  • Do you understand the career progression for each department?  How do people move up, or transfer out of their department.  This can be a key selling point if this particular manager has a track record of creating star performers for your organization or system.
  • Do you meet with your managers quarterly to quantify your performance/ROI?  As part of a quarterly touch base (or onsite visit), do you present meaningful data to your hiring manager to show what you or your function has done for them in the past 3 months?

We have added this self-assessment tool to our Good to “Elite” competency/skills self assessment library (see below).

Click here to participate.

If would like a copy of your (or your team’s results) results, please email us.

Join us for our final installment next week when we’ll focus on how to effectively manage the hiring manager relationship.

Have a great week!

Managing Your Hiring Managers, Part One

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

I’d like to share some highlights from my recent presentation at one of our local SHRM chapters, “How to Manage Your Hiring Managers”.

The most important thing to remember is you need to understand what your hiring managers want! You can’t manage a relationship if you don’t know what your customer wants or expects.  Below are some good questions to keep in mind:

  • What are your hiring managers’ business goals?
  • What are their challenges?
  • What are their business drivers? 
  • How does your department help your hiring managers achieve their goals? 
  • Can you show alignment to these goals? 

As we approach the end of the year and start to plan for the New Year the above questions can be used to help guide you and your hiring managers’ planning discussion for 2011.  Be sure to capture and review the “wants/expectations” with your hiring managers on a regular basis to make sure you are on track and nothing has changed. This relates to one of the topics explored during last week’s webinar on planning for 2011.  If you are interested in getting a copy, please email us.

Another great way to assess the needs of your hiring managers is by analyzing the “Voice of the Customer”. This can be achieved by using a variety of tools such as; surveys, polls, and focus groups.  However, it’s always important to consider: 

  • What is your customer’s expectation throughout the process ranked by importance?  (See illustration below)
  • How does your customer rate their experience?


Once you’ve gathered this data, you’re now armed with the information you need to address your hiring manager’s needs. You’ll be able to add this metric to your talent management dashboard under Quality.  This is commonly referred to as Hiring Manager Satisfaction. 

In the next posting we’ll focus on building credibility with your hiring managers, and close with how to effectively manage those relationships.

If you’d like to see some examples of the tools we use to gather “Voice of the Customer”, please contact me.

Compelling Time to Fill (TTF) data — It can be misleading

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

In a recent blogcast, (Time to Fill – Are You Managing A Key Metric You Are Measured On?), we discuss how time to fill can be misleading and . . . not a good indicator of hiring manager satisfaction and overall “responsiveness” to the truly critical hiring needs of the organization.

While most organizations might be able to track TTF by job category, they only report the overall average to key stakeholders. Unfortunately, this statistic becomes a “blended” rate of all positions regardless of priority, cost of vacancy, criticality to organization, difficulty to fill, etc.

And if an organization is not structured to truly support priority, critical to fill, or difficult to fill positions, there often is a big gap with respect to TTF between what we call Business As Usual Req’s – (AKA – BAU’s – repetitive positions that most often are filled by active, internal or referral candidates) and  priority/critical/difficult to fill ones. 

Some very intriguing data from one of our healthcare clients illustrates this point.

While there overall TTF for Q2 was 33 days (very, very good especially compared to our benchmark median of 41 days.

  • 300 positions were filled in an average of 23 days
  • While 49 positions took on average 89 days to fill!

This provokes the questions:

  • Do you have the right organizational structure to support BAU and priority/critical/difficult to fill positions?
  • Do you have the right process to support these distinctly different types of positions?
  • Do you have the right resources to effectively screen through the active pool of candidates while proactively sourcing top talent not found in those circles?

If you haven’t done so recently, I would slice your TTF data by BAU and priority/critical/difficult to fill categories and analyze how well you are performing. 

If your data is similar to the organization outlined above, then seek to develop strategies, processes, etc. to improve timeliness on the positions most critical to your organization!

I hope you’re having a good week. 

Value Stream Mapping — Eye Opening Exercise!

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Over the last two weeks, I have facilitated Value Stream Mapping exercises (a Lean Principle) with two recruitment organizations.  If you have not participated in one of these before (a Lean Principle), the goal is to analyze a process (in this case, the recruitment/hiring process) and identify:

  • Process Time (AKA – Value Added Time)
  • Delay Time (AKA – Non value added Time)

Examples of processing time would be performing an intake session and/or phone interview, i.e., the time you spend actually processing the “candidate”.  Wait time examples include waiting for candidates to call you back from an interview, waiting for a background check to clear or the most popular – - waiting for a manager to make a decision on interviewing a candidate, making an offer, etc.!

When you go through this tedious process (it is really tedious but . . . well worth the effort), it is amazing how little time we spend processing candidates and how much time we spend WAITING.

For this one particular healthcare organization, their average time to fill is pretty darn good for their hiring volume (38 days). As we analyzed their process using the value stream mapping methodology we found:

  • Total Process time – Low end: 8.5 hours – High end: 3.83 days (most of the difference was associated with sourcing for difficult to fill positions).
  • Total Delay time – Low end: 12.33 days – High end: 195 days!  (this was mostly attributed to difficulty in finding quality candidates, hiring managers not making a decision, relocation issues, etc.)
  • Average Lead time (Process + Delay time) = 38 days (start to acceptance)

Once we identified current state process and delay times for each step, the team started to come up with solutions to eliminate waste. It was amazing to hear some of the easy to implement, no cost solutions they identified! 

Whenever I facilitate this exercise, I am amazed at:

  • How much wait time “waste” is in our staffing process?
  • How we can, through a simple exercise, identify no/low cost waste to reduce wait time and ultimately . . . Time to Fill.
  • How much we often focus on the processes for “improvement” rather than eliminating waste for improvement.

If you would like more information about how we can assist your team in performing a value stream mapping exercise on your staffing process and share some best practices, let us know.

If you haven’t done this, and/or haven’t done one in a while, it is a worthwhile exercise as we prepare for 2011.

Hope you are having a good day!

Data Integrity — It is all about Education, Accountability and Visibility

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

As most of you know, we have just concluded a Healthcare Recruitment Metrics Benchmark Study highlighting key metrics relevant to a Lean, Just-in-Time recruitment strategy.  As expected, since many of the key data points relied on humans to enter and validate the data, most of the participants struggled to reconcile and validate that their data was accurate.   Those challenged by data integrity (or lack thereof), spent countless hours auditing the data to ensure it was accurate.

Of course the only way to ‘nip this issue in the bud’ is to ensure that the data is accurate at the transactional level, hence the often used IT cliché – - Garbage in, Garbage out! 

While I know this is not a profound revelation, why do most organizations still struggle to capture accurate recruitment metrics?

From my experience, the root of the issue is three-fold:

  1. Educational – Key staff members must understand the importance of capturing accurate data and what POSITIVE things result from ensuring the data is accurate.  It is only when you answer the question – What is in it for me? – that you typically start to see improvements in data integrity.  Some of the POSITIVE results of capturing clean data:
    • Enables the organization to develop performance improvement initiatives to save their organization time, money, and allow the teams to get more done in LESS TIME.
    • Allows the team to be able to quantify the ROI of their services to the organization.  Makes us look good! :)
    • Quantifies the amount of work they actually perform!   
  1. Accountability – While I like to point out the POSITIVE reasons of capturing clean data, at the end of the day the recruiters need to be held accountable and measured on their ability to perform this task.  I recommend that recruiters do a quarterly ‘self-analysis’ by reviewing their own data/metrics.  Holding them accountable to this activity is a great way to clean up your data at the source!  Some of the best in class organizations we work with instill an “audit” at the requisition close stage – before a req is closed, the recruiter goes back to ensure that all data is entered accurately in the system. 
  2. Visibility – I am a big believer in making your metrics “public”.  All your customers should see your overall team metrics (have trend charts posted in a visible area in your office).  All recruiter metrics should be public to the recruitment team.  Typically the only folks that do not like to make their metrics public are . . . the ones that are not producing or don’t have clean data!

If you are struggling to capture clean data, I would make sure your team understands why it’s important and put a system in place to ensure accuracy. From experience working with our clients, you will see immediate improvements in data during the first 90 days!

I hope you have a good “back to school” week!

Initial Results of our ‘Elite Recruiter’ Competency/Skills — Self Assessment

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

The response to our ‘Elite Recruiter’ Self Assessment has been great!  To date, over 600 folks have participated! 

If you have not participated yet, please do (see below).  Our goal is to have 2500 recruiters participate by July of this year! 

Some initial interesting findings ……

Recruiter Competencies:

High self-assessment rating (4.0 of 5.0):

  • Interpersonal Skills (4.21): Treats others with respect and dignity.  Promotes a productive culture by valuing individuals and their contributions.

We are not surprised; I think most recruiters feel they have good interpersonal skills. :o

Areas for improvement (3.5 or below):

  • Customer/Client Focus (3.49): Maintains unwavering focus on delighting the customer/client.
  • Leveraging Networks (3.44): Draws upon a wide range of professional and/or business relationships for help and support in achieving individual and organizational goals.
  • Staffing Lifecycle Management (3.24): Plans and successfully executes a recruiting, selection and hiring process that results in top talent for the organization.

These numbers are consistent to many of our clients’ Voice of the Customer surveys.  The clients (hiring managers, key stakeholders, etc.) still see these as areas of improvement as well, particularly Customer/Client Focus and Staffing Lifecycle Management.

Recruiter Skills:

High self-assessment rating (4.0 of 5.0):

  • Build relationships with peers, hiring managers and executives (4.09)
  • Remain upbeat, positive and energetic about opportunities with your organization(4.18)

Again, we are not surprised at these results. I think most recruiters believe they can build relationships and are upbeat, positive and energetic.  In a 360 evaluation, do others believe the same? :o )

Areas for improvement (3.5 or below):

  • Posses the ability to create a compelling value proposition statement(s) to engage and recruit passive, top talent for critical-to-fill positions (3.38)
  • Use technology to manage data, candidate relationships, etc. (3.33)
  • Set Service Level Agreements with Hiring Managers to define roles/responsibilities and control the hiring process. (3.29)
  • Provide timely constructive feedback to candidates not selected for hire after interview. (3.29) 

These numbers are again consistent with many of our clients’ Voice of the Customer survey results.  All four of these areas are critical to the success of a recruiter, BUT . . . often not areas that recruiters (or teams) focus on for improvement.  Too often, the focus is on ‘finding the passive candidate’ or lately – social networking and/or SEO – - rather than tactical skills that are critical to customer satisfaction!  I’m not saying these other areas don’t deserve our attention (passive candidates, Social media, etc.) but – - sometimes I believe we lose the forest through the trees and lose sight of what the customer wants! 

 If you are interested in the complete results of the self assessment surveys to date, you must:

  1. Participate in the assessment!
  2. Email us at info@leanhumancapital.comIn the subject line put:  Please send ‘Elite Recruiter’ results!

If you want your team to participate and have us tabulate your team’s results, please email us at info@leanhumancapital.com!

Have a Perfect Day!


Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Healthcare

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Financial Services

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Retail

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Technology

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Third Party

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Manufacturing/Engineering

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Other

You know You are an Elite Recruiter if…..

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

For those that attended the ERE webinar – Going from Good to ‘Elite’  – - I hope I inspired you to take action :) !

For those that missed it we discussed the competencies/skills of Elite Recruiters.  I have also started work on another fun project related to this subject… 

Shamelessly stealing from Jeff Foxworthy – - “You know you are a redneck if . . . “comedy routine, I am trying to develop a LONG list of “You know you are an Elite Recruiter if . . . “.

This fun exercise has also been inspiring me to reflect on what it is to be an Elite Recruiter and what I need to do to be one!  Performing at an elite level doing anything is very difficult.  Recruiting is no different. 

Documenting these attributes in a fun way helps keep this passion burning and top of mind.

So OK – - You know you are an ‘Elite Recruiter’ if . . .

  1. You get referrals from candidates you turn down for a position. 
  2. Your hiring managers ask you who they “should hire” . . . And listen to your advice.
  3. Candidates seek your input on preparing for the interview with the hiring manager, making a decision on an offer, etc. 
  4. You keep track of all the people you have hired and have kept up an ongoing relationship with 90% of them. 
  5. You track your performance (quality, efficiency, responsiveness/ delivery) on a quarterly basis. 
  6. You quantify the ROI of your services to your key stakeholders.
  7. You have clearly written quarterly Performance Improvement goals.  
  8. You spend time each week helping those less fortunate find employment, craft a better resume, prepare for an interview, etc.
  9. You invest at least 15 minutes to ½ hour developing a written – hour by hour – daily plan of action that you deploy before each day.
  10. You have received gifts from candidates/hiring managers for “changing their life” for the better.

PLEASE – WE ARE LOOKING FOR MORE ADDITIONS TO THIS LIST!  Can you please email us at info@leanhumancapital.com with your ideas!  


‘Elite’ Recruiter Benchmark study!

Our goal is to get 2500 recruiters to participate in our free self-assessment benchmark study!  To provide more granularity, we have decided to categorize ‘recruiters’ as outlined below.

To participate, just find the link that best describes you and . . . sign in!  It will take you about 15 minutes to complete.

NOTE: This is for your OWN self-improvement!  With that said, for us to have fair and accurate benchmarks, please take this seriously and respond with honestly. 

We will publish the results at a later date to use as a benchmark!

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Healthcare

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Financial Services

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Retail

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Technology

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Third Party

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Manufacturing/Engineering

Competency/Skills of an Elite Recruiter – Other

Ensuring Staffing Process Excellence

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

By Bradley Savoy

This week I had the pleasure of presenting to our local SHRM chapter on Staffing Process Excellence. Here are some of the highlights:

I know what you’re thinking, “We’re hiring fewer people this year”, or “Our hiring’s flat, so why bother with a Staffing Process Excellence exercise?”

Whether you’re hiring 5 people or 10,000 (yes – there are still companies that are hiring that many people), it’s the beginning of someone’s tenure with your company, and it acts as an extension of your brand.

A Staffing Process that’s excellent will enable you to utilize Voice Of the Customer (VOC) data to define and deliver an error-free fulfillment process that will deliver world-class customer satisfaction, improved retention, and even quality of hire.

The simple steps in Staffing Process Excellence are:

  1. Gain Executive Buy-In.  With every process improvement initiative you need the executives’ buy-in.  Typically the best way to do this is to align the project to a business initiative.  Are you trying to trim costs, improve customer satisfaction, or reduce attrition.  All of these can be addressed with an improved staffing process.
  2. Gather the Voice Of the Customer data.   Begin by using surveys, focus groups, or other channels to tap into the perspective of those that work through your process each day.  Hiring managers, candidates, recruiters, and others that are involved, should be consulted on how the process should look.  Find out what opportunities exist to streamline the process from their perspectives.
  3. Gather Process CTQ’s (Critical to Quality).   These are aspects that are critical to meeting and exceeding customer expectations.  These will also typically come as part of your exercise to gather the VOC information from your stakeholders.
  4. Align the process.  By now you have the needs of the customer (VOC) and you’ve gathered those aspects of the process that are critical to them (CTQ).  Now you have to align the two, making sure the wants of the customer and the critical needs can be met.  Exec or Org.  Initiatives??
  5. Define the staffing process.    At some companies this is a detailed chart of the staffing life cycle; for others it’s a simple list of bullet points.  While best-in-class is a clearly articulated and defined process, even bullet points on a Word document are a start.  The end goal is that with the input from customers you can now define the world-class process – and the best part is no one can say “Hey you didn’t ask me!” because each of the customer segments gave their input.
  6. Educate, Implement, and Continuously Measure the new process.  You’ve put all of this effort into your new process; now make sure it “sticks!”  Don’t just email the new process out to everyone; instead, leverage executive buy in to have a big kickoff.  Executive announcements, internal staff meetings, and even e-mails can have more power jointly coming from line execs and HR/recruiting.

You’re also going to need to educate each of the stakeholders on the new process, and then of course continually measure the results.  Consistent surveys, focus groups, etc with the “customers” of the process will ensure long-term adherence.

If you have questions on staffing process excellence, or you’d like to discuss an audit of your staffing process, contact me

“Seven Deadly Sins of Waste” in Recruiting – Preview

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

I found an excellent report on Lean (Toyota production Systems – TPS) by Wharton and the Boston Consulting Group called, “Rethinking Lean: Beyond the Shop Floor.”

It provides excellent examples of how you can apply the principles of waste elimination and process efficiency within service organizations (including healthcare and financial service industries). 

As I read the report, it became evident why implementing the principles of waste elimination, worker involvement and continuous improvement within the recruitment/hiring process can be so successful.  

While the principles of waste elimination, worker involvement and CI haven’t changed much since TPS was created 50 years ago the results are very impressive.

In January, we will discuss eliminating the “seven deadly sins of waste” in the recruitment process.

If you are interested in how we use the principles of lean, materials release planning, and supply chain optimization to answer the age old question, What is the acceptable number of requisitions per recruiter? check out our published white paper on the subject.

I hope you have a great “pre-holiday” week!

Some snippets that I found particularly interesting from the report are outlined below:

  • “Do you understand your customer segments?” Can you serve the most valued customer more effectively?
  • Companies should always begin their lean efforts by asking, “What are you trying to achieve?” “It doesn’t begin with a rule. And it’s not about isolating one piece of the business and deciding its fate.  It’s about rethinking every business process.” “It’s not about cost cutting across the board,” he says. “It’s about judicious investing. It’s not about starving. It’s about building muscle, trimming fat.”
  • Many companies struggle to align lead times, inventory and other data to financial measures, even with performance metrics in place.  This is probably because they are not measuring the right things. Instead of coming to a better understanding of your organization and how to improve it, “Many die a death of a thousand metrics.”
  • “When people think about lean, they often associate it with reducing the workforce,” Faber says, “But the cost is not in the line labor; it’s in the overhead.”
  • A key part of Lean involves looking at the business differently. You need to have metrics on moving applicants through the staffing supply chain. That requires sourcers, recruiters, coordinators, HR business partners, and hiring managers engage in a collective dialogue around ensuring efficiency.
  • In manufacturing no one sees how things get made. They probably don’t care. But in staffing/hiring – customers see the process and it is extremely personal.  So if your service doesn’t track customer dissatisfaction you might never know what people thing about your organization.
  • Lean initiatives begin with identifying and standardizing a process. “Try to think of your business as repetitive. Once you have that identified – think of how long someone stays in that process, the waste being created, the dissatisfaction occurring, and the impact of that person staying in that process. Next, measure performance.
  • TPS is a way of life. A continuous improvement process that never stops. TPS wasn’t implemented just once. Its constant improvement, constant innovation and constant elimination of extra steps. The most important principle is that this is not a four-month project. You will see benefits, but you must do it continually.
  • Key principles of lean ask the following questions, “What is important? What matters to the customer? What delivers value?”
  • Lean is not new or rocket science. It’s like your diet. You know what to eat and how much to eat but old habits are hard to break. That is why behavior modification, measurement, accountability, training is so important.
  • “Lean works best as a balanced top-down and bottom-up effort.” Christian Terwiesch, a Wharton professor, remembers trying to talk with hospitals about lean initiatives several years ago. “They thought I was evil. They said ‘We’re doctors. We help people.’ Now these same institutions have chief medical officers saying, ‘We want to run this place like Toyota!’”