It’s undeniable, over the years; hiring processes have become more complex. In many ways, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, the work that most of us do has become more sophisticated.  But, does complexity really lead to better, faster hires? Of course not. In fact, many smart organizations have started a trend, a return to simplicity, that allows them to compete for talent more efficiently. This trend is called lean hiring.

Lean hiring is a process defined by the same core principles as lean manufacturing, the philosophy that revolutionized process management and supply chains decades ago. We defined lean hiring a couple of year ago as the systematic approach to recruiting that increases overall productivity by eliminating wasted steps and periods of inactivity, maximizing resources and promoting consistency by optimizing processes and tools. The hiring process is a natural candidate for lean because, at its purest form, hiring is simply a series of sequential events that are driven by yes and no decisions.

Organizations that adopt lean hiring not only hire faster, safe time, money and resources and create a stronger “hiring culture”, they also enjoy a variety of benefits such as:

• Consistent collection of EEO and OFCCP compliance information

• The ability to collect and better analyze recruiting performance metrics

• Increased collaboration and user adoption rates amongst hiring managers

• Higher offer to hire close ratios

So how can you get lean? Well, keep reading. We’ve put together a short guide to get you thinking “lean”.


You are not making sausage, you are hiring people.

Are you just putting more candidates into the meat grinder or are you trying to hire better people faster? Smart organizations place more emphasis on simplifying their process, driving decisions, being consistent and treating applicants like people, not parts.



Quick Tip: Don’t confuse getting more applicants with process improvement. Many organizations focus exclusively on attracting more applicants rather than thoughtfully “processing” the people that appear interesting.



The easiest way to hire better people faster is to simplify your recruiting process by eliminating wasted steps, paper forms, burning hoops and anything else that creates unnecessary friction in your process. Dissect your entire recruiting process from job approval to requesting a background check and making an offers. Remove anything that can create inefficiency. Next, standardize the stages of your recruiting process across your company while maintaining enough flexibility to address dynamic events.

Quick Tip: Avoid over customization, extra steps, paper forms, excessive consensus building and anything else that creates unnecessary complexity.


Drive Decisions

The hiring process is comprised of  discrete, sequential events that are driven by a series of yes and no decisions that act as stage-gates. This makes the hiring process  a natural candidate for “lean”. By sharing decision making responsibility amongst recruiters, HR and hiring managers in a streamlined, consistent manner you will drive the events that drive hiring and eliminate periods of inactivity (waiting).  Waiting kills a hiring process.


Quick Tip: Choose applicant tracking software that is designed to drive the decisions that drive hiring and one that’s easy enough for everyone on your team to use with little or no training.


Be Consistent

As with any process, consistency is only achieved through discipline and a whole lot of practice. Ultimately, consistency drives more than just efficiency or cost reductions, it’s also critical for promoting compliance and producing measurable analytics. Only with a lean recruiting process with well-defined stages, will you capture all the required compliance output, pinpoint bottlenecks and continuously find areas for improvement.


Quick Tip: Standardize recruiting processes across your company. Once you thoughtfully set your course, stay on it and make minor adjustments along the way.  Among other things, this will make measuring results and reporting key data manageable.







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