Imagine if recruiting was more efficient? If, as corporate recruiters, you were able to get quick feedback from hiring managers? If, as agency recruiters, you were able to source and place your candidates in a reasonable length of time? Creating an Agile recruiting process is the answer.

If you’ve been around here a while, you know I talk a lot about how to be a better recruiter.

As a technical recruiter, I was introduced to Agile Methodology when recruiting for full-stack developers and fell in love with the concept!

The hiring manager believed that the way to recruit strong candidates was to teach his recruiters what Agile methodology is and why it’s important to his team. So he organized a lunch-and-learn, led by his Scrum Master, and I left that session wondering how recruitment would be revolutionized if we implemented Agile recruiting.

Does your recruitment process really need Agile Methodology?

I’m going to be brutally honest here — the average recruitment process is broken.

Corporate recruiters are drowning with req loads that are completely unrealistic and hiring managers are, to be completely honest, managed badly by recruiters (if at all) throughout the recruitment process.

Despite claims of commitments to stellar candidate experience, the average company is failing candidates.


In fact, most are so busy overcomplicating candidate experience that they’re forgetting the basics or just don’t get what candidate experience is really (like really) about

I won’t go on; you get the point — the recruitment industry needs to be optimized. In a BIG way.

Implementing Agile Methodology into the recruitment process is a sure way to bring it into this century and make everyone’s (recruiters, hiring managers and candidates) lives easier.

So, let’s start with the basics…

What is Agile recruiting?

Agile recruiting is based on the principles of Agile Methodology. Without getting too technical,  Agile Methodology is a software development approach focused on collaboration, lean and continuous releases/delivery.

It has taken the software development world by storm and it’s time it did the same for the recruiting world.

To wrap your mind around how this would work in recruiting,  you have to think of your requisitions/job orders as projects.

Here’s how Agile recruiting makes our lives easier

1. Speeds up the recruitment process

If that’s not enough to get you excited, I don’t know what will.

We’ve talked about painfully slow recruitment processes ruining candidate experience, but it also ruins recruiter experience (we matter too)!

I know you’ve experienced this — you find the ideal candidate and do a happy dance right at your desk, share their profile with the hiring manager, and then…

Nothing happens. Crickets.

Not only is the hiring manager not dancing along with you, you don’t even know if they’re alive. Your emails go unanswered and your voicemails ignored. The hiring manager has gone totally MIA. 

Your star candidate’s response to all this waiting is — “Deuces“! They’re in high demand and move on to a company that takes their time seriously.  There’s nothing more frustrating than recruiting a star candidate just to lose them because the recruitment process takes ages.

A messed up recruitment process fatigues recruiters who can’t possibly keep up with the cycle of sourcing candidates and losing them over and over again.

With Agile recruiting, you have more frequent touchpoints and shorter sprints (more on that later), which means that hiring managers are likely to be more engaged. They can’t hide!

Engaged hiring managers equals a speedy recruitment process and speedy recruitment processes make everyone happy.

2. Improved collaboration

Naturally, more contact,  constant communication, and regular touchpoints mean better collaboration between recruiters and hiring managers as well as between other recruiters and sourcers on the team.

You should actually be setting these expectations from the very beginning at your recruitment intake meeting (grab this intake form if you don’t already have one).

Collaboration keeps everyone motivated and the momentum going.

3. Real-time feedback

With the traditional recruiting process, recruiters present candidates at the very end of the process of sourcing and pre-screening. As recruiters, we’ve all been in situations where you do all that work just to be told that this type of candidate profile wasn’t really what the hiring manager had in mind.

There goes hours, days and sometimes weeks of your time!

The beauty of Agile recruiting is not having to wait until the very end of the process to get feedback. So presenting candidate profiles /resumes to hiring managers and getting their feedback is done more often.

Meaning that if you’re completely off target, you can re-focus and re-target your candidate search before you’ve wasted your time and your candidate’s time (think about how negative candidate experience affects your employer brand).

This is what I hope you’re saying to your screen: “Alright cool, I’m onboard with all this Agile stuff. Now what?

How to adopt an Agile recruiting process in three seriously simple steps

Implementing Agile recruiting really isn’t that complicated. Trust me.

1. Work in ‘sprints’

A sprint is an amount of time allocated to a specific part of your recruiting ‘project’.

Agile sprints are normally about a week long. Here’s what’s key — each week has a goal. Sprints are short because this is how you keep everyone on the team focused and motivated.

Need a phone interview template?Here’s a general example of a recruiting sprint plan:

  • Week One:  Candidate sourcing and outreach
  • Week two: Retargeted candidate sourcing (after feedback from the hiring manager in Week one) and outreach
  • Week three:  Phone screens 
  • Week Four: Hiring manager interviews

2. Have daily/weekly scrum meetings

Scrum is a method for implementing Agile. It breaks down tasks into work that can be completed in a specific amount of time.

Clear communication is one of the foundations of Agile Methodology. Ensuring that everyone on the team is aware of a project’s progress is essential to being efficient. Scrum meetings are essentially project status meetings.

They aren’t boringly long morning meetings with coffee and donuts though.

Standup Scrum meetings are quick (15 minutes) and you’re actually supposed to stay standing so you don’t get too comfortable and ramble on. Ideally, the meeting happens at the same time and place every morning.

Every person on the team talks about their progress since the last scrum meeting with the sprint’s goal in mind.

The idea is to answer the following three questions:

  1. What did I do yesterday (or since the last scrum meeting)?
  2. What will I do today (or this week)?
  3. What challenges or delays do I foresee?

3. Implement a Scrum task board

It helps to have a visual display of your progress for each search.

A Scrum task board gives you a snapshot of your current sprint. Everyone has a clear understanding of which tasks are done, which are in progress and which haven’t been started yet.


If you’re the type to make to-do lists, you will love this.

If your team is remote, there are a ton of free online Scrum task boards you can use as a team.

Adopt parts of Agile methodology that makes sense for your environment

I want to make one thing very clear — you don’t necessarily have to have a 100% fully Agile environment to reap the benefits of Agile recruiting.

For example, if you’re the only recruiter at your company, daily Scrum Standup meetings won’t work. If you work with external talent sourcers (or even internal ones), your first week’s sprint is going to look very different compared to companies where recruiters also wear a sourcer’s hat.

Implement what makes sense for your recruitment environment and test it out for a few projects to see just how efficient it makes your recruitment process.

You will see a difference not just in your relationship with hiring managers and your delivery, but also in the way your own recruitment team works together.

Here’s what makes Agile recruiting hard to implement

Agile is all about efficiency and if your recruitment process is unnecessarily cluttered, it just won’t work. If you’re using interview guides and job description templates that were created 8 years ago, this won’t work. 

You’ll need to remove and update things that really don’t add value to the process.

Start by doing a complete audit of your recruitment process, the recruiting or candidate sourcing tools you’re using and ask yourself how you can improve them.

For some things, you don’t have to start from scratch (you can download them here), others (like getting a new ATS, etc.) are a bit more involved, but certainly worth it.


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