recruiting funnel

I’m confident that all people involved in recruiting, have seen a similar picture. A recruiting process, starting from a job opening and ending with a single hire.

Recruiting is, without doubt, the most mature field of HR. “A Century of Selection”, was the title of an article published back in 2014, in the Annual Review of Psychology, a well-respected journal in the field oh HR. The title says it all. A whole century, was enough time to understand, test and define the concepts surrounding recruiting. The result of this process is what we’re all being taught in HR-related courses at Universities and on-the-job trainings. A standard, straight forward process.

On the one hand, I understand why. HR, like any other business function, makes sense in the context of an organization. An entity to be considered an organization should consist of more than one individual. After the very first person or group of people start a company, recruiting begins. Not Com&Ben, not training, not performance management. RECRUITING. A workforce is required to scale any kind of operation and to lead to growth. That’s why recruiting is the first HR thing all organizations do. And that is why recruiting is such a well-defined HR field.

On the other hand, though, I can’t resist questioning the status quo of recruiting. How can something, that was conceptualized – in its core – decades ago, be relative and effective nowadays?! The approach that we are all familiar with, may have worked in the past, but does it work equally effectively in the contemporary business landscape? With all these rapid changes and evolution taking place all the time, I highly doubt that how we’ve set up recruiting is any longer effective or relevant.

Apparently, I’m not the only one to question how recruiting is currently performed.


More and more companies change the way they recruit and the main driver of this change is the Agile Methodology. Agile Methodology is what succeeded the classic waterfall method for developing software and created a better, more dynamic way for getting stuff done.

While agile principles go way back, it wasn’t until 2001, when the publication of the Agile Manifesto was released. The idea of “agile” took off rapidly and now it’s at the hurt of almost all digital transformations, reshaping management and how organizations operate globally.

In the recruiting context, agile recruiting is a project management methodology using sprintsprioritization of tickets, and periodic feedback checkpoints to bring flexibility and efficiency to the recruiting team, and visibility to hiring managers.

This may seem a bit vague, so I gathered a few bright examples of companies that have started the shift from old recruiting models and now innovate in the field, disrupting everything we know about recruiting, by applying the agile methodology.


Despite its long 125 years, GE manages to stay relevant and continues to reinvent HR. Starting from its former CEO, Jack Welch, who made plenty of HR headlines with his famous “rank and yank” approach to performance management, the company is now pioneering in the recruiting field as well. A few years ago, when GE decided to scale up quickly its new Digital Division, a major transformation in recruiting took place.

GE’s agile model of recruiting

Imagine a cross-functional team, that works together on all requisitions. The team, at all times, has three major roles.

  • A “head count manager” represents the interests of internal stakeholders, whose main priority is to have their positions filled quickly and effectively.
  • Hiring managers, who rotate on and off the team, depending on their openings.
  • scrum master, who makes sure everything is running smoothly.

Finally, the whole model is supported by a talent platform connecting talent pipelines, skills, technical assessments and headcount backlogs, who also feeds a Kanban board so members of the team can visualize their progress.

The major benefit of the model is that talented people don’t get lost in the process, when not matched to a specific position. Considering that the team works on several hires at once, team members can share information about candidates who may fit in more than one role.

So, despite the many years, GE continues to preserve its spark of innovation and change.

Change is in our DNA: We compete in today’s world to solve tomorrow’s challenges. We have endured because we have the determination to shape our own future. Although we’re still on the journey, we’ve made great strides in revamping our strategy, portfolio, global footprint, workforce and culture.

Says Jeff ImmeltFormer CEO, GE


When she was a Talent Acquisition Lead at Hewlett Packard, Yael Benado, was confronted with recruiting challenges that we all experience in our everyday recruiting efforts. As she stated:

Between competing with well-financed enterprises and the latest startups that have pioneering, breakthrough technology, it’s difficult—and costly— to attract top talent.

Having experienced the value of agile, she incorporated a number of agile principles in recruiting processes. Here’s what she did:

Daily stand-up: “Every morning we meet at the same time and place. We take the description of a position that needs to be staffed and ask ourselves what works, where we’re stuck, and what needs an extra push. The answers to those questions determine what we’ll focus on that day. For example, a manager who hasn’t given us feedback on a batch of resumes we sent for review quickly becomes a bottleneck. We may need to remind him and use gentle persuasion (“You’re going to lose this candidate if you don’t get back to me today”) to get a response.” The daily stand-ups helped her team identify and resolve issues quickly, and prioritize tasks on a daily basis.

She used a recruiting Kanban board to track the progress of each open position, which the team treated like user stories. As each recruiting team member recounted the activities of the previous day in the daily stand-up, they moved open positions around on the board to reflect the current status. Recruiters gradually moved candidates from “pipeline” status through the first, second, and third interview, and finally to the job offer. That process has helped keep the team sane when they had ten concurrent full stack developer positions to fill in six different departments.

She encouraged her team to become subject matter expert by embracing a specific principle of the Agile Manifesto: “Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility“. Her team conducted face-to-face meetings with each manager looking for a new team member, which helped to define the requirements of the position to match market conditions. For example, if a manager wanted a JavaScript expert for server-side development with five years of experience, the recruiter would tell them up front that this will be a difficult position to fill. But if the manager could make do with a candidate with just one year of experience, the recruiter could sign an employment contract within a couple of weeks.


Christopher Maneu, although not an HR person, shared an exciting blog about Deezer’s ongoing journey towards agile recruiting. The journey started by identifying the main pain points of their recruiting process and asking for the blessing of the HR Director to improve them. After HRD’s blessing the team consisting of engineers – experienced in agile – and recruiters, went on its quest to re-engineer recruiting.

Everything started with Kanban. As a matter of fact, two different boards: a candidate board and a job offer board, which after two iterations was removed, as the info was redundant with the company’s ATS.

The purpose of the “Candidate board”, was to track each candidate through the recruitment process. The team was not sure about which columns were needed, so it started to map out the different steps that follow a candidate through the process. Each open position came with a technical test or challenge that should be done by any candidate. When the test was sent, the hiring process was really kicked-off. To give you an idea of how the team started creating the Kanban board, take a look at the original column structure:

  • Test sent: the exercise was sent to the candidate. We’re waiting for the completed project,
  • Test received: the candidate sent us his/her project. It was sent to the hiring manager for review,
  • Test validated: the hiring manager — with assistance of his/her team — has validated the candidate’s project,
  • 1st Interview: this column represents the 1st in-person interview slot. It’s subdivided into two columns: planned/done,
  • 2nd Interview: this column represents the 2nd in-person interview slot. It’s not a mandatory steps for all our positions, This column is also subdivided into planned and done,
  • 2nd Interview: this column represents the 2nd in-person interview slot. It’s not a mandatory steps for all our positions, This column is also subdivided into planned and done,
  • Validation: We’re waiting for the validation of all the interviewers from the 1st and 2nd interview,
  • Decision making: We’re discussing the opportunity between the hiring manager and the recruitment team to elect this candidate or not,
  • Management approval: we’re waiting for the management to sign-off this hiring,
  • Prop. Sent: we sent an offer letter to the candidate and waiting for his/her answer,
  • Hired: the candidate has accepted our offer. It will be now handled to our HR department for contracts and onboarding,
  • Rejected: Somewhere during the process, we’ve decided that the candidate is not ready for any of our open positions,
  • Gave up: Somewhere during the process, the candidate canceled himself/herself the hiring process.

While the above columns constitute a great example of how you can set up your own board, the most crucial element is its constant adjustments. Deezer’s team after each iteration would alter the columns, the info depicted on each post-it and parts of the process to make it more effective and efficient.

For example, the recruiter color code put a lot of pressure on them. Sometimes, a recruiter would not have any candidate in the process for a few days, and it was totally okay. However, it was not clear when managers would see a board without any note of your color. So, the team reverted to same color notes for everyone.

Deezer’s final candidate note template:

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In its core, agile comes with great organizational improvements. According to VisionOne’s 12th Annual State of Agile report71% of the companies applying agile methodology are better able to manage changing priorities, and 62% have improved their delivery speed or time to market.

These results are evident in recruiting as well, which is why agile is making its way to recruiting.

When Amber Grewal, for example, was at GE Digital, she reduced her average time to hire to 2 to 6 weeks, down from 10 to 15. She achieved that by implementing a fully agile recruiting methodology in her team. Furthermore, Garner reports that an agile approach can benefit tremendously recruiting on multiple levels. Reduction in time, cost per hire and increase in recruiter’s productivity are only some of the advantages, recruiting may witness, when incorporating agile.

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I’m very confident that after reading this, you will get excited about agile! I’m encouraging you to explore the links provided, cause each link contains valuable insights and detailed information on how you can utilize agile in your recruiting.

Finally, a quick tip from my side: Test alternatives to discover what really works for you and your business. Have always in mind candidates. They may not be very familiar with the new process, because very few companies work in such a way, so they may not be very fond of it. To avoid negative candidate experience, focus on explaining what you do and why you do it. Enriching your customized, agile recruiting process with ample information will make your candidates buy-in more easily in what you have set up for them.



Recruiting is a topic dear to my heart, so I really hope to have helped you in a way. Share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me and make sure you don’t miss my future posts by following me on LinkedIn. Finally, if you’d like to get in touch, my email is or you can message me on LinkedIn.

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