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Trim your waste

Tanya Keys

To review the original article click here 2nd Feb 2015

Olympic sprinters train day-in and day-out for years. But when the race is over, the difference between the winners and losers is often measured in just fractions of a second. In any pursuit, training and dedication are vital. But the real advantages come from doing the smallest things better than anyone else. The talent acquisition game is no different. If your recruiting operation is set up to win marathons—and you need to win sprints—you’re losing that all-important edge. If you’re familiar with Six Sigma you know there are seven sources of waste that eat away at profits. Similarly, the recruitment process can resemble a lean and powerful sprinter or a couch potato suffering from an over-processed diet of hiring delays.

The sources of waste we see most often in the talent acquisition function are:

Defects in the hiring process. How many routine steps, such as interview scheduling, are repeated?

Overproduction. Are you producing quality candidates before you need them? Are you keeping high-potential future hires and silver medalists warm?

Transportation.Where are you expending wasted energy? Consider everything—from carrying paperwork around for wet signatures to flying prospects to interviews.

Waiting. Are your candidates just standing still and not moving forward in the process?

Inventory. Do you drip-feed candidates to your hiring managers instead of providing short lists? Are you producing more candidates than you need to fill a role?

Motion. Can your team communicate quickly and effectively with one another, and with candidates?

Processing. Does your recruitment process have too many unnecessary or low-value steps?

DOTWIMP may not be the prettiest of acronyms, but it’s a helpful way to remember — and avoid — the seven areas of recruitment-related waste.

Work it out


So how do you get yourself in tip-top recruiting condition? Re-examine every single step and eliminate waste from your process.

For example, how can you achieve zero days’ time to hire if there are five steps in the hiring process and a manual hand off between each one? Determine which of your hiring processes can run concurrently.

Are you bringing too many candidates too far through the process? Make the tough decisions to eliminate unsuitable candidates earlier and you’ll super-charge your performance. Focus on eliminating time wasters like interview no-shows or rescheduled interviews.

Processes can be strengthened when you take better control of what you can control. For example, you can control data integrity. Getting things right the first time reduces rework and the number of times you have to touch each requisition.

Fuel for thought

One of our banking clients was experiencing delays in their hiring process, so we helped them address a broad range of inefficiencies.
- We started by identifying which media channels would bring in the best candidates, and eliminated all others. By generating fewer candidates, we reduced the unnecessary labor that comes from sifting resumes and administration. It also trimmed media spend.
- Processing fewer applicants per requisition generated 40,000 fewer candidates—many of whom were also valued customers — in the first 12 months.
- We fine-tuned the candidate assessment process by putting a heavy emphasis on screening for cultural fit. This helped reduced the interview to offer ratio from 1.9 to 1 across almost 4,500 hires.

Not to rest on its laurels, our client has taken its savings and created an investment budget focused on finding, testing and implementing new innovations.

The fine-tuned approach is paying off. Time to hire for 33% of all external hires has been reduced to less than 15 days, while new hires’ performance has improved and first-year sick days have dropped significantly. On the candidate experience front, candidates’ Net Promoter Score (NPS) is now well over +60 — a score above +50 is considered excellent.
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