Setting up a Global Agile Sourcing Team – Part 2

In part 1 of Setting up a Global Agile Sourcing Team, we learned how to define functions and split roles within teams. It is now time to dig a little deeper and learn how to implement aspects of agile.

Why Agile?

For the “agility”

First of all, we did not implement components of agile because it would look cool or attractive. The goal behind it is simple; when your environment is continually moving, when it is the first time you hire these profiles, realigning frequently is critical.

For the accountability

Recruitment: who’s problem is it? Often, the hiring manager seems to be expecting candidates but doesn’t get involved in the identification of the right people for their team. By implementing Agile sprints, they are fully engaged at every stage of the process, from scratch, and it fastens the processes afterward. It avoids the good old “these candidates are great but can I interview five more?”

STEP 5: Introducing Sprints and Checkpoints

A proper intake meeting takes place with the recruiter, the sourcer and the hiring manager to not only define the role but also think about potential target companies and to leverage as much as possible from the hiring manager. It is also essential to understand why the role is open and what is expected from the hiring manager is critical to attracting the right people.

The sprints

Once the intake meeting has taken place, sprint one can happen when the sourcer screens incoming applicants. It can also happen when the sourcer mines the ATS for candidates, and internal candidates and referrals are being approached. Remember the “wiggly line of intent” from Tris Revill on Part 1? The goal of sprint 1 is to focus on the low hanging fruits: who are the most obvious candidates for this role?

Identify profiles on social media (LinkedIn being the most obvious) to help show the hiring manager and the recruiter your search. This will help them check to see if your search is aligned and make them understand the external market, etc.

And as sprints go by (usually one-week sprints but it can be aligned according to difficulty/urgency), sourcers go deeper in the complexity of sourcing. Always keep it simple.

The checkpoints

At the end of each sprint, we schedule a checkpoint involving the recruiter (so that he/she keeps control), the hiring manager, and the sourcer.

At the first checkpoint, there should already be either applicants or people on the ATS.

We would progress the selected candidates to the interview stage.

“In progressing candidates at every checkpoint, you ensure a better candidate experience because they don’t have to wait for the recruiter to have a full shortlist before starting the interview process.”

Also, the hiring manager will give feedback on the identified profiles (yes contact/ no do not contact).

There are three reasons for asking the hiring manager to review profiles before contacting them:

  • Involving the hiring manager and leveraging on their knowledge (you show a company or a university, and they think of another one, etc.): co-building the search.
  • Help the hiring manager understand the reality of the “market” and be realistic.
  • Increase the conversion rate: contact only the people that have been vetted by the manager = less profile contacted but more thoroughly = better conversion rates and no spamming.

At every checkpoint, do the same: get the feedback from the interviews, review the people who became candidates, progress them to interview and define actions for the next sprint.

You are co-creating your search with the hiring manager, the recruiter, and the sourcer. Everyone is on the same page and aware of the next actions to take for the next sprint. At each checkpoint, decide whether you have enough good people or should continue.

STEP 6: KANBAN and Stand up meetings

Stand up meetings

When you have a lot of positions to deal with, all at a different stage, keeping your mind clear and the focus can get complicated.

Multiply this by the number of people in the team. If you are a manager and you can quickly lose track of what is going on, and the momentum goes down.

Procrastination, loss of focus is probably one of the sourcer’s most common problem.

The solution is relatively simple: have a 10 min stand up meeting every morning with the whole team and talk about:

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  • Successes: what have you achieved yesterday.
  • Priorities: divide your time in half days (i.e., I will identify people for this role on social media this morning and will handle responses and reach out to people for this other position this afternoon).
  • Struggles: I have tried this and could find anyone; I did my search this way, etc. Your teammates will help you unlock your problems.

KanBan

Having a post-it board, using Trello, even Excel (if you live in 1992) or any other tool is extremely efficient to help you define your priorities. It helps to understand visually at what stage each role is and move the cards according to their stage of the sourcing/recruitment process.

This avoids to “forget about a role” or be lost in the workload.

This is a screenshot of the one we used; each column is a stage of the process.

STEP 7: Escalation, Pair Sourcing and “power hour” (or Swourcing)

If everything were easy, the world would not need sourcers. You never know how hard a role might be when you start. We deal with people and business constraints that do not always go well together.

We saw in part 1 of the series of articles that the sourcers have different levels. When a sourcer is ready to take over a role from one of their colleagues to push the sourcing further, this can be used in two cases:

  • Pair Sourcing: your Level 1 (or sometimes 2) sourcer struggles a bit, sit down with them and source together. Compare how you build searches and try to “unlock” the situation together. This helps to upskill your team.
  • Escalation: Identifying people in the ATS and “standard” social media sourcing is not enough. You agree on the checkpoint with the manager to pass it over to a more experienced sourcer who will dig more in the sprints.

You are all a part of one team. As a team, you should get together for an hour, lock the door, get your head down, keep it fun and ideally gamified. The sourcer who finds the most profiles receives a little prize.

This is what is called a power-hour or sometimes Swourcing.

CONCLUSION

As the great runner, Kim Collins once said: “Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.” Nothing is perfect. The goal of this is to show a way that works. If I could give a few tips to sum it all up, it would be the following:

1. Empower your recruiters: they are in charge of the whole process, sourcing is one channel. Sourcing is NOT required on ALL the roles.

2. Recruitment is the hiring manager’s problem: Include them, leverage on their knowledge and network, co-construct the searches, and they will like the results.

3. Never assume you know: realign constantly, we live in an imperfect world. Manage expectations and stick to reality.

4. Showing sourcing expertise will gain you trust: sourcing is like ping pong, everybody thinks they can play until they meet a champion and realize it is an Olympic Sport ( Sven Eissens).

5. Keep it SIMPLE: don’t start by spending hours finding gems on Instagram if a simple Boolean string can give good results. Go deeper into sourcing when required.

6. Keep the fun: create a sourcing spirit in the team and the company, gamify your power hour, organize training to keep learning.

French-based in Switzerland, I fell into recruitment (yes a "headhunter" with suit and tie) straight from university, moved to London, then Geneva, set up recruitment teams in my agency years, set up my own agency and decided that sourcing was really my thing and that I wanted to focus on it fully. I'm the "crazy sourcer" my TA clients call when they struggle on an impossible role, I train internal sourcing teams, set up sourcing/recruitment/employer branding strategies. These days, I'm spending most of my time setting up a state-of-the-art sourcing function within PMI (Philip Morris Intl) to help them in one of the largest business transformation worldwide, transitioning to a smoke-free future. Speaker at SourceCon Europe Budapest 18, sourcing summit Europe / Germany / UK, 2nd SourceCon Grandmaster Runner-up 2017, co-organizer of #truGeneva and #truParis. I enjoy meeting other people who think likewise, always happy to share and meet, please get in touch!

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