4 Steps to Implement Scrum in Recruiting by Casey Drengler

Within 6 months of implementing Scrum principals into a mid-size healthcare company, my team and I reduced job openings by 41%.

This was despite unemployment continuing to decline and after several consecutive months of increasing job openings and a daily barrage of complaints and pleads for help from supervisors, department managers, directors and executives. I had only been on the job for 6 months prior to the Scrum implementation and was already fearing for my job, then I read Scrum – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff and J.J. Sutherland. The best price I could find for this book is here: Scrum by Jeff Sutherland.

Below is the basic framework of how we implemented Scrum for recruitment. It’s been just over half a year and we are continuously improving our process, bookmark this blog and check back for updates as we learn and take deeper dives into how Agile and Scrum methodologies can be used in recruiting.

  1. Scrum Chart

Monday – decide on main objectives for the week.

For the Scrum Chart, we use a dry erase board, with “To Do”, “In Process”, “In Review” and “Done” written in 4 columns across the top. On Monday morning or Friday, before leaving for the weekend, each recruiter writes their tasks for the week on sticky notes and places these in the “To Do” column. Throughout the week, the recruiter will move sticky notes from left to right, hopefully getting all the tasks in the done column by Friday.

To Do In Process In Review Done

Scrum Chart

  1. Daily Stand Up – 15 minutes

If this takes more than 15 minutes, you’re doing it wrong, meet daily, same time, preferably first thing in the morning and ask these questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday to move the sprint forward?
  2. What will you do today to move the sprint forward?
  3. What obstacles are getting in your way?

Each recruiter answers all three, to keep the call concise, we limited recruiters to only give their main objective for that day, rather than just reading a list of tasks

  1. Weekly Retrospective – Friday

On Friday we use the daily stand up time for a weekly retrospective, we ask two questions:

  1. What went well this week?
  2. What didn’t go so well this week and what can we learn from it?

Friday’s call can be a bit more casual and we don’t follow the 15 minute rule. We will often discuss weekend plans, the Brewers or the Packers (We’re based in Wisconsin), let the recruiters vent any frustrations they may be having, help each other find solutions and encourage each other, this helps build rapport and camaraderie.

  1. Sprints

We’ve found that 3 weeks is a good duration for our Sprints, 1 month doesn’t seem to inspire the sense of urgency that a 3-week sprint does and 2 weeks or less really isn’t enough time to accomplish our desired objectives.

Each 3-week sprint has a goal or goals that are set by the recruiters, this can include, but not limited to: number of new hires, number of interviews, below a certain percent of no shows to interviews, number of positive social media reviews by new hires, etc.

Often, we will turn the sprint into a competition with either individual or group prizes if we hit our goal(s).

Have you applied Agile or Scrum principals to recruiting? How did you do so and what have been your results? Please leave a comment below!

Get your copy of ‘Scrum – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time’ enough, get your copy by clicking here.


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