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The Agile Recruiting Manifesto

Posted By Keith Halperin On February 4, 2013 @ 1:22 am In Advice and How-Tos | 6 Comments

While I recruit for almost anything, over the years I’ve done a lot of software engineering recruiting. I’ve learned that software engineers in startups typically have short time frames to develop, modify, and test their software, and to do it effectively, there is a formal method called “agile software development.”

Since I usually like to understand what it is I’m recruiting for, I did some research about agile software development, and found out the the principles behind it were formulated in 2001 in a document called The Agile Manifesto. There seemed to be a great deal that could also apply to recruiting. I decided to “sample” — aka, steal it — and substitute some appropriate recruiting terms for the software terms, and about three years ago I sent it out. Here it is again:

Manifesto for Agile Recruiting

We are uncovering better ways of hiring people by doing it and helping others do it.

Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Quick, quality hires over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Principles behind the Agile Recruiting Manifesto

We follow these principles:

  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of quality hires.
  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  • Deliver quality hires frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  • Internal customers and recruiters must work together daily throughout the project.
  • Build projects around motivated individuals.
  • Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a recruiting team is face-to-face conversation.
  • A quality hire which is on time and within budget is the primary measure of progress.
  • Agile processes promote sustainable employee development.
  • The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • Continuous attention to professional excellence and first-class service enhances agility.
  • Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
  • The best requirements, processes, and hires emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

I think it’s a pretty good statement of what we recruiters should strive for. What do you think about this? Does it reflect what you believe and want to strive for? Do these principles seem practical and achievable, or do the cold hard realities of corporate recruiting “bloatocracies” dominated by the “GAFI” Principles of Greed, Arrogance, Fear, and Ignorance/Incompetence prevent anything like this from being done?


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