In the early days of Sprint Recruiting, we tested a variety of prioritization measures including: Red,Yellow,Green / 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. It helped us identify the top roles to work during the sprint. I read the SCRUM method by Jeff Sutherland and the chapter on the point system really changed the game. Assigning a budget of points to roles helped us visualize and measure our success during the sprint.
When readers reach out to me after reading the book, one of the most common questions I get involves the point system. I thought it would be good to knock out the two most common questions in this post.
How many points?
This is one of the biggest questions. The number of points you provide your client as a budget is completely up to you. If it’s a small department, try starting with 100 points. The beauty of the Sprint Recruiting model is that you are encouraged to test and iterate during the sprint. If you find that 100 points isn’t enough, change it the next sprint and measure the difference in production.
In larger organization, I tend to give large department leaders a budget of 500. It is then up to their discretion to further allocate the points to their directs. As an example, let’s say your executive has five direct reports. One particular department has experience a lot of turnover or recently added a lot of critical roles. It’s the discretion of the executive to allow more points to that particular department.
It could look something like this:
- Department 1: 75 points
- Department 2: 200 points
- Department 3: 25 points
- Department 4: 150 points
- Department 5: 50 points
One of the benefits of this approach is that department leaders 3 and 5 with less points aren’t screaming at you to get all of their roles filled. They understand from their executive that during this sprint, your focus is on department 2 followed closely by department 4.
How do managers determine which roles are important?
When I introduce this methodology to a new division or client, I usually encourage hiring managers to attend the Sprint Recruiting training. This allows them to see the process from beginning to end. One of the inevitable questions they ask is how to determine which roles are most important.
I like to share with them this matrix. The y-axis is the impact to the business. This could be defined as risk exposure, loss of revenue or any other definition of impact they desire.
The x-axis is the effort required by the recruiter. We all know there are some roles that require more time and effort to make progress. This could be due to the complexity of the position, the requirements, the talent market or sheer volume of candidates. This particular axis is owned by the recruiting group in defining.
Using this example. The Mission Critical roles are those defined as requiring high effort from recruiting and are high impact to the business. You will want to guide your sprint owner to allot 60% of their points into this bucket. If you have 100 points for the department, the 60 points in this area could be divided between two roles. This is exactly what you want because it will allow the recruiter to concentrate their limited focus on getting to their WIP limits on these roles before moving forward. (If you want to see how they work together, check out: How prioritization and WIPs work together.
The rest of the quadrants take the similar approach in definition. Walking your hiring partners through this matrix as they are allocating roles will allow you to force them to define success for the sprint. So using the example above, let’s look at how our example manager allocated their roles.
Our Mission Critical roles are the Project Manager and Data Scientist. If you look at Mission Necessary, you have 3 project analyst roles. It makes sense to fill the project manager role before hiring for the analyst but you may find some analysts while search for the PM. Make sense?
For the Quick Wins, let’s assume the MIS Analyst role is in final interviews so you still want to put some points on it to measure your work.
This process does take a little getting used to but once everyone locks into the allocation matrix, the calls move smoothly.
The beauty of the process is that it provides mutual accountability and enforces a team effort to fill the critical roles. The ability for recruiters to quickly assess their progress and identify where their focus should be creates an addictive level of efficiency in the process. The visualization of your efforts during the sprint helps managers know how much progress you made and also opens the conversation for what went wrong.
This is the formula leading to iterative success and learning by your hiring partners and the recruiting team each sprint.
and Sprint Recruiting
I joined the HR industry in 2004 after working as a sales leader in the Financial Services Industry for eight years. After spending his first couple of years in HR trying to fit in, I found my voice. Now I leverage all of the things I once hated about HR to become a consultant and invaluable partner to the businesses I support. I contribute to the HRGazzette and to DataDrivenInvestor on Medium. WARNING: my writing style is raw and in your face, not what you would expect from an HR executive.
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