Home > Human Resources > How does LEAN apply to recruiting? Think of recruitment in terms of running a manufacturing plant process….

How does LEAN apply to recruiting? Think of recruitment in terms of running a manufacturing plant process….

Throughout my training as a recruiter, I have always been taught the value of lean manufacturing. My former boss told me to think of running a recruiting firm like running a manufacturing plant. You have your salesman (people prospecting potential ‘customers’  to receive ‘job orders’) , a plant manager (a recruitment manager), and plant personnel (junior recruiters reporting to a recruitment manager). When I first started in recruiting (back in 2002), I spent two years on the phones stuck at the ‘plant’ level working my way up to a plant/recruitment manager. (At that time, it was a rule that you had to spend 2 years evaluating candidates before talking to any customers at all!). There was shift work involved (9am – 3pm, 3pm – 9pm) as we all worked on an hourly wage. We worked till 9;00pm two nights a week thinking that the best time to contact your ‘key’ candidates would be in the evening – while your daytime was spent on managing your existing contractor base and responding to ‘fires’ / emergencies.

I spent two years of talking ONLY to candidates (no customers) and re-activating old files that my manager kept in filing cabinets for over 20 years ago. Talking only to toolmakers, control designers, PLC programmers and mechanical designers. This is where I learned my technical know-how. When there was a problem of why we cannot fill our customer orders, my former manager (the salesman at the time) always turned to me to find the ‘problem’ / ‘bottleneck’ within the plant process (i.e. recruitment process) in order to push product (candidates) out the door. Maybe it was a problem with plant personnel (junior recruiters or not enough staff), or a problem with inventory (not enough files being re-activated). In any case, we always needed to find a way to re-engineer the ‘recruitment’ process to make the process more ‘efficient’ , more ‘profitable’ or more ‘lean’. (This sounds a lot like continuous improvement).

David Szary’s article ‘Seven Deadly Sins of Waste’ in Recruiting is a good example of how to think of ‘LEAN’ outside of a manufacturing plant and work Lean into a recruitment process.

Categories: Human Resources
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