Recruiting: How Your Talent Team Can Implement Scrum

November 7, 2012 by

implement scrum

First of all – what is Scrum? (Hint: It’s not just what’s pictured above)

Scrum is a project management system typically used for software developers as a framework to manage their projects. The great thing about Scrum is that it can be used for a variety of different projects within different departments.

On a talent team, where each member is working on a variety of different searches, it is imperative to implement some form of project management. I highly recommend using Scrum as a system to check in daily on each recruiter’s projects, pinpoint any impediments/issues, and work together to be a more efficient team.

So, how exactly will Scrum work for your talent team?

For starters, you’ll want to establish a consistent procedure. Kick off each morning with a daily Scrum team meeting. Plan a time when Scrum will be conducted, and hold each teammate accountable to come to the meeting fully prepared.

During Scrum, each teammate will discuss which projects he or she worked on the day before, how much time was spent on each search, and how much time he or she plans to spend on each search that day. By tracking hours spent on each search, you will be able to recognize potential patterns and hold ups/impediments. This provides the perfect opportunity to work with the talent team to understanding why any particular search is taking more time than planned, or less time than planned. If a search is going quickly, the recruiter can share what went well and how to be more efficient when taking on similar searches in the future. If a search is taking much longer than expected, your team can work on understanding the impediments, solving them, and offering any advice that will help with the search.

Each week, recruiters should develop a SMART goal for themselves regarding each search. For example, a SMART goal may be to “source 30 qualified candidates and submit two candidates to the hiring manager”. It can also involve things like gathering feedback from the hiring manager, or coordinating final round interviews. The purpose of creating these goals is for each recruiter to push him or herself throughout the week in a realistic way. If it takes less time to achieve a SMART goal, the extra hours can be allotted to another search that is taking more time. On the other hand, if SMART goals aren’t being met, the team can collaborate in determining how to best meet these goals, and also determine if there are any impediments.

Another goal of Scrum is to prioritize your work. By prioritizing your work and your time, your talent team should be more effective and efficient. Ideally, newer searches will have more time spent on them, as it takes hours to source new candidates and ramp up on a search. Older searches should have less time spent on them, as candidates have already been sourced and would ideally be going in for interviews.

At the end of the week, Scrum teams retrospect. In your weekly retrospective, your team will discuss how the week went, overall — what went well, what went wrong, and how the team can improve.

Using Scrum is an excellent method to track time spent on searches, check in with teammates, constantly improve as a team, and address impediments. It is important to note that Scrum is a team effort, and each member of the team is expected to participate just as much as his or her manager or whoever is running the meeting. Scrum is more about instigating open group discussion and efforts to improve as a team, rather than a manager or director checking in on each recruiter. Talent teams who implement Scrum in the appropriate manner will certainly run more efficiently and produce better results.


  • Todd Nilson

    Katy, our team is early on in its implementation of scrum practices for recruiting and I wanted to thank you for your views on what it can mean for the team. I had not initially been thinking about the time tracking element of scrum–this was very helpful!

  • John Hoskins

    Katy – great article that will change my behavior. This is a best practice for virtual teams too. Thanks for sharing. The Star system thingy wasn’t working but this is thumbs way up. Love to show you SalesGenomix someday if you have 15 minutes we can help you meet those Smart Goals for sales hires.