It’s difficult to find enough quality talent right now — historically so.
The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.9% in May, matching the lowest point in half a century. It’s even more difficult to find quality talent in some locations and industries. In the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area, which we call home, the unemployment rate in April was under 3 percent, including 2.2% in San Francisco, according to Beacon Economics. Meanwhile, in tech, the unemployment rate was just 1.9% nationally in April, according to a Dice report.
So what can employers and recruiters do? Some are getting creative — and desperate. For example, the Silicon Valley employers that are relaxing their dress codes in hopes it will lure candidates.
But when times are tough, the best practice is to perfect fundamentals that are essential for success, both individually and collectively. Some top recruiters are accomplishing this by applying The Toyota Way — the famed comprehensive management approach practiced by the Japanese carmaker — to recruiting. Let’s take a look at how you too can apply The Toyota Way’s 14 key principles to drive your recruiting efforts to success.
Principle 1: Base Your Management Decisions on a Long-Term Philosophy, Even at the Expense of Short-Term Financial Goals
Main idea: People need purpose to find motivation and establish goals.
Application to recruiting: Don’t let short-term hiring goals distract you from acquiring talented people who can help your company meet its long-term objectives. It’s better to leave positions open longer than to hire the wrong people. Just putting “butts in seats” will do little or nothing to help your company in the long term.
An important component of this is considering whether your company and the position you are hiring for are a good fit for the candidate. If either isn’t, the candidate is likely to be uninspired, and there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself having to fill the position again in the near future.
Here’s a real-world example to show how you might apply this principle. Suppose a software engineer is an active candidate applying for project management roles (software like Hirevisor can tell you this) with other companies, but isn’t making the final cut. You might try to hire this person for a software engineering role, but they probably wouldn’t stick around for long. You might try to hire them for a project management role, but they might not be ready for it. Instead, try offering them a “bridge” role that offers them a chance to use their current skills while providing a clear path to their longer-term career goals. By doing so, you maximize your chances of serving both your company’s needs and the candidate’s needs in the long term.
Principle 2: Create a Continuous Process Flow to Bring Problems to the Surface
Main idea: Work processes are redesigned to eliminate waste through the process of continuous improvement.
Application to recruiting: Create a consistent recruiting workflow, taking care to eliminate waste (both of time and effort) and roadblocks to improve hiring speed. Monitor key metrics that will identify areas that need improvement. Examples of such metrics (a fuller list available from ERE via Wikipedia is available here) include:
Additionally, work to optimize your use of sourcing and recruiting tools that save you time and/or help improve your recruiting results.
Principle 3: Use “Pull” Systems to Avoid Overproduction
Main idea: A pull system produces required material only after the subsequent operation signals a need for it.
Application to recruiting: Recruiters should take their cue — or “pull” — from hiring managers to avoid over-filling jobs, and conversely to avoid being underprepared when a large batch of jobs are needed to be filled.
This means recruiters need to sit down with hiring managers — both to get insights about the skills and experience needed for open positions and to learn about potential future hiring needs. As a Sourcecon article details, effective intake meetings with hiring managers are the foundation for effective sourcing and recruiting.
Principle 4: Level Out the Workload (Work Like the Tortoise, Not the Hare)
Main idea: Achieve more consistency and minimize waste by not overburdening people or equipment.
Application to recruiting: Recruit smarter, not harder. Recruiting smarter includes:
Principle 5: Build a Culture of Stopping To Fix Problems, To Get Quality Right the First Time
Main idea: Quality takes precedence. Any employee has the authority to stop the process to signal a quality issue.
Application to recruiting: Ensure that candidate and recruiting process quality take precedence over all other factors. If the hiring manager isn’t satisfied with the quality of the candidates delivered, always stop to take the time to analyze what you can do to improve the quality. Determine commonalities among satisfactory candidates and among unsatisfactory candidates to make beneficial changes to the recruiting process.
Remember that quality starts at the source but can break down at any point. So when candidates are unsatisfactory, consider changes to the job description and where and how you’re sourcing your candidates (for example, if you’re relying on outreach via LinkedIn, consider looking at pre-qualified pools). Then continue to work your way down the funnel to see if there issues with other parts of the process, from breakdowns in communication with candidates to shortcomings in assessment of candidates’ skills and experience.
Principle 6: Standardized Tasks and Processes Are the Foundation for Continuous Improvement and Employee Empowerment
Main idea: Be sure the system that is implemented empowers the company and employees.
Application to recruiting: Your recruiting process — including the tools that you use — should be implemented in a way that empowers performance. This means:
Principle 7: Use Visual Control So No Problems Are Hidden
Main idea: Use the 5S Program:
Application to recruiting: Use the 5S Program for recruiting.
Well, That’s Half of It
There’s too much here to fit in one post, so we’ll have to split this into two parts. We look forward to showing how you can apply Principles 8–14 of The Toyota Way to improve your recruiting strategy and drive better talent acquisition results. Come back to read Part 2, which will be published soon! Follow us by checking this out at our blog at https://blog.hirevisor.com
Hirevisor was founded on the premise that there is a better way to land top talent. We enable companies to find quality, actionable candidates in a data-driven way, all while delivering a stellar candidate experience at scale. Great companies are built by great people. Let Hirevisor help you find great people.