5 tips on how to run a successful hiring sprint
TL;DR – Our Top 5 Hiring Sprint Tips
1. Prepare a Detailed Hiring Plan
Don’t go live until you have a clear plan to execute against
2. Know the Process before you start
Use as much automation as possible to speed it up
3. Line Up the Hiring Community
Reverse engineer the talent funnel to secure maximum buy-in
4. Define Authority & Ownership
Convince senior leadership with data that delegation of sign-off is critical to success
5. Secure Headhunting Power
use data to ensure the right size team for the sprint
Need to hire lots of people fast? Do these 5 things well
We were tasked by one of our partners Volta Trucks to make 50 hires in 50 days and build their global sales and market team from scratch. Learn more about our solution and the full hiring sprint case study.
This is how to do it:
1) Prepare a Detailed Hiring Plan
This may sound obvious, but a clear hiring plan is required to execute at extreme speed and scale.
There can’t be any question marks left open. Lack of clarity and detail will cripple the speed required to complete the mission. Everything needs to be in place with sign-offs pre-authorised. The only way to get that is to have extreme detail in the plan.
What’s needed: Clarity on roles, volumes, locations, WFH/Remote/Office, salaries, benefits, all job descriptions completed, hiring team for each role, hiring process for each job family. Etc.
Case Study: At Volta Trucks, we consulted on the number of roles, the types of roles and confirmed all of the above specific details. We then provided data-led guidance on how much their Internal team needed to grow for the sprint to be successful. Once team size was signed off, the next step was Resource Management. We distributed the roles evenly amongst the team based on role type and team specialisms. This was all completed in under 2 weeks
2) Know the Process before you start:
To have any chance of pulling of a successful sprint the process will need to be clear, frictionless and fast. Think McDonalds. No matter which McDonalds you go into, the process for assembling a Big Mac is exactly the same every single time. Applying a similar approach to hiring at scale, the same process executed over and over breeds pace. Of course, bringing in talent has many nuances but conceptually this is helpful.
Be very clear upfront with all parties about what the process is. Provide training upfront and introduce automation wherever possible in that process. This way, when it kicks off there are no skill gaps or lack of understanding around the process.
What’s needed: Build the end-to-end process and then train the whole hiring community on exactly how to complete the tasks required. Try to build in trigger points for automation using your ATS this will eliminate a lot of administrative tasks. Any good ATS will have the functionality required. (if you don’t have one Ashby, Greenhouse or Workable are a great place to start from our extensive experience optimising ATS setups)
Case Study: At Volta Trucks we spent the first 48 hours focused purely on training. This included everything from the sprint hiring process, Volta’s journey as a company, what the future looks like and the culture. From Day 3 onwards was solely focussed on hiring.
We also removed a second screening stage that the Hiring Managers would undertake. We ensured we had detailed and consistent screening procedures, so the hiring manager would be comfortable to interview based on our recommendations, instead of a second screen. The intense 2-day training ensured we were culturally aligned to ensure candidate fit.
3) Line Up the Hiring Community
These types of sprints are only possible if the hiring community have the ability to conduct the volume of interview required. You need to pre-engage and get them onboard. To do this you will need to show them the task ahead in data format to really get their buy-in.
Reverse engineering the hiring funnel data they are likely to experience over the sprint period is key. This will open their eyes to the task at hand and allow them to build a team and secure diary availability to successfully take on the sprint.
What’s needed: Top to bottom of the funnel. Reach outs, pre-screens, 1st stage, 2nd stage, offer, accepted. Show the volumes and conversion ratios at each stage.
Case Study: All HMs at Volta Trucks involved in the sprint were fully informed on what the aim of the sprint was, who was involved, what the process was and what the timescales were. We also then all booked in calls with the HM to introduce ourselves and go over any last points. We also identified ideal interview dates ahead of time, so the HM would book this time out in preparation.
4) Define Authority & Ownership
For sprints to work you need remove the blockers. Often these bottlenecks will come in the shape of senior sign off to go live and or to offer. TA/HR/Hiring Managers need to have the authority to offer delegated to them prior to the sprint kick off.
Use the data funnel for the sprint to show senior leadership the volume of signoffs that will be required and how without those sign offs up front, it will be operationally impossible to hit the deadlines. This should give leadership the data to convince them to sign off in batches or delegate responsibility.
In practice this should include an approved max salary to go to for all roles. For any offers above the pre -approved budget additional sign off is required. That way, the TA team and hiring managers can put offers out to candidates for salaries that are already approved without causing a delay.
Case Study: At Volta Trucks, all salaries and benefits were agreed up front and communicated during the onboarding training. Benchmarking of salaries had taken place, so as long as offers were made within bandings, they were already approved. These boundaries were clearly defined and escalation points for exceptions were also agreed, so blockers at offer stages were kept to a minimum. Time to hire was 18 days, which would be near impossible with bottlenecks.
5) Secure Headhunting Power
Once everything is in place the real work begins and you need the power to execute the sprint in you TA function. The data funnel for the project will show you how much power you need at the top of the funnel to carry out the project. In the case of Volta for example it was 8 people for 50 days to deliver 50 hires.
Most people will often not use data and end up under-resourcing the talent function required leading to a failed outcome. The data will allow you to procure the right level of support.
What’s needed: Whatever power you use to deliver the sprint they must be embedded into your ATS & systems otherwise the administrative tasks will be too large for the in-house teams to manage and will end up turning your TA team into administrative co-ordinators with no time to proactively headhunt. Therefore, using agencies won’t work well… Either use your current TA team (if they have capacity), bring in TA contractors or use an awesome Embedded Talent Consultancy like Bond.
Case Study: To hit 50 hires in 50 days for Volta Trucks, we bolted on 8 TPs. This was in addition to their current internal team who focussed on all non-sprint activity. That clear divide removing distraction and disruption for other talent acquisition programmes.
A weekly Scrum and daily kick-off call was massively important to maintain pace and focus. We had an Hour scrum on a Monday, then 20 minute daily kick-off calls to reallocate resources and solve inevitable unforeseen challenges fast.