The recruiting feedback loop is a vital component in success. It must be as quick and efficient as possible to ensure the process allows you to make the first move on the most qualified candidates. When you place feedback requirements and deadlines, you will begin to notice slight efficiencies early on. It’s when both the recruiter and the hiring manager solidify their partnership and commitment to achieving success in the sprint that the fun starts. It’s also why “Quick Feedback” is one of the four principles of Sprint Recruiting.
So how does this work in Sprint Recruiting? We place a 48 hour deadline on managers to provide feedback on any candidate presented. The benefits include:
- Managers become trained to know to see more candidates, they have to provide feedback to open slots in the WIP limit.
- Recruiters become addicted to moving candidates through the process to close positions and collect points, creating innovative ways to hold managers to the deadline.
- Candidates benefit the most by enjoying a quicker hiring process or by receiving the necessary feedback to grow in their career in a timelier manner.
How does the Sprint Owner help this process?
The Sprint Owner (SO) is the key stakeholder for the project. Part of the Sprint Owner’s responsibilities is to have a vision of what they wish to build and convey that vision to the scrum team. This is key to successfully starting any Agile software development project. The Agile Sprint Owner does this through the product backlog, a prioritized features list for the product.
Sprint Recruiting would make sense that the executive for a department or line of business would be the Sprint Owner (SO), but we discovered that was not always feasible. Some department leaders knew very little about the open roles’ impacts on their division. Others were still traveling, which made it hard for us to have a bi-weekly allocation call with them.
Sprint Recruiting allows department leaders to designate the SO role to someone on the team who can prioritize work. The owner role requires an individual with specific skills and traits, including availability, proximity to the business needs, and communication skills. The best SOs show commitment by doing whatever is necessary to prioritize the work – and that means being actively engaged with their recruiting partners.
The SO has defined responsibilities in our methodology and must be committed to the success of the Sprint. Be sure to stay away from a SO who tends to consistently blame everyone else for their mistakes, as this will lead to trouble implementing Sprint Recruiting.
Here’s a list of their key responsibilities to help you identify the best PO for the job.
- Define the vision – The Sprint Owner is the voice of the client and should be able to leverage their high-level perspective to define goals and create a vision for your recruiting team. They are responsible for communicating with stakeholders, including your team, their fellow executives, and hiring managers, to ensure the goals are clear and the vision aligns with business objectives.
Having a Sprint Owner with a higher perspective ensures that the team maintains a cohesive vision despite Agile product development’s flexible and often fast-paced nature. Everyone needs to be on the same page to work effectively, creating mutual accountability in the recruiting process.
- Define the Priority – The key role of the Sprint Owner is to prioritize needs. They must juggle the triangle of scope, budget, and time, weighing priorities according to stakeholders’ needs and objectives. The recruiting team should communicate capacity needs or concerns openly with the SO to create a clear set of expectations during the Sprint.
The SO takes budgeted points and assigns them to the critical roles in the Sprint. They are also the individuals who can designate a role as expedited since they will have more intimate knowledge of their organization’s needs.
- Providing Feedback – You will need to be sure your SO is someone comfortable giving feedback, and the more candid, the better. They are your partner in this process, so they need to help you identify ways to become more efficient with every Sprint.
- Equitable and Firm –Your Sprint Owner will also need to have a backbone with their peers. They’re not only responsible for holding the recruiting team accountable but also the business unit. They’ll be the partner in the Sprint but should not show favoritism through the process. They are the voice of the client but not the ones responsible for giving excuses. If they are to hold you and your team to a definition of success, they keep their department to that same level. It’s only when they are as firm with their colleagues as you are with your team that you’ll begin to see the real power of this partnership.
Here’s how it works
Let me take a quick moment to sidebar just how important this partnership is with a little story.
We worked on this Big Whale (what our team called a 50 point or higher job) and began finding qualified candidates within three days of the sprint beginning. Unfortunately, our hiring manager went AWOL on us. I called, emailed, and instant messaged them to no avail. On day 7, I called the Sprint Owner for the line of business to realign priorities. The conversation went something like this:
Sprint Owner(SO): Hey Trent, what’s up?
Me: So you know this position you said was worth 60 points? Has something changed?
SO: No, why? It’s still the top priority to get filled.
Me: Does the hiring manager know it’s your top priority?
SO: He better.
Me: Well, we’ve sent X number of qualified candidates, but he hasn’t returned any calls, emails, or anything. I will move on to the next job on the priority list if that’s ok with you.
SO: Give me 30 minutes.
-20 minutes later…
SO: You will hear from them in the next 5 minutes. If he doesn’t get this role filled in this Sprint or the next one, it’s going to be his ass, not yours! Deal?
True to their word, we had the feedback we needed from the hiring manager who was previously AWOL. Out of the five candidates we presented, we were able to hire the most qualified candidate quickly and close the job. We also were able to leverage the other four candidates in roles within the department that were not yet posted.
This example shows how focusing on the top priority and leveraging the partnership with your Sprint Owner allows you to not only fill the job quicker, but also increase your efficiency by filling roles before they are even posted.
That is the kind of partner you need to be successful in implementing Sprint Recruiting. Not all of our Sprint Owners are like that, but the ones who usually get priority on our team. Take your time to help develop the relationship needed with your sprint owner for both of you to be successful.
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