Article

7 Corporate Recruitment Tips for Agile Organizations

May 31, 2024

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Emily May

The word ‘recruitment’ can elicit negative feelings in candidates and hiring managers alike since the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath triggered the economy’s downturn and disrupted common hiring patterns, work locations, employment rates, and more. While some businesses recover from low revenue levels and professionals continue to navigate a competitive job market, having a strategic approach to recruitment is critical.

I sat down with Shannon Ewan, CEO at ICAgile, to learn ways agile organizations can build an intentional recruitment strategy that results in the right hiring decisions and a flourishing team culture. 

Common Challenges in Corporate Recruitment

While recruiting for roles within your team is an exciting journey that indicates growth, many organizations face challenges in the recruitment process that impact efficiency and can result in losing time, money, and talented candidates or recent hires. 

A few of these common hiring challenges include: 

  • Dated recruitment strategies that haven’t been adapted in years
  • Lengthy application processes
  • Unclear organizational values impeding candidate/employer alignment
  • Lack of transparency with candidates

Recruitment has always been a field that carries unique hurdles, and the list continues to grow as more organizations move their application processes online and try to stay ahead of new HR software and technologies

7 Corporate Recruitment Tips for Effective Candidate Assessment

Despite the challenges businesses face in recruitment, leaders can implement several proven solutions to improve hiring results. 

As I interviewed Ewan about ICAgile’s approach to hiring talent, the common thread in our conversation was the ultimate goal of alignment. It’s not about simply filling a role based on what looks good on paper–it’s about achieving the “two-way fit,” as she describes. 

Most of my colleagues at ICAgile who have been working here for several years are content with the work environment and confident in their professional growth. I was also surprised to learn that previous team members who have since moved on often maintain their relationships with leadership. 

You’re probably wondering how to build strong relationships such as these at the start of the hiring process. Our CEO simplifies ICAgile’s approach to hiring top talent with seven tips that help organizations refine their recruitment strategy and hire the right people. 

1. Continuously Adapt Your Recruitment Strategy

The most effective recruitment strategy isn’t set in stone. Ewan recommends that organizations continuously revisit and adapt their processes over time. Feedback structures allow teams to experiment with new ways to optimize the hiring process and collect insight for further refinement.

For example, at the end of the applicant screening process, checking in with the candidate on their experience or sending an anonymous survey could clue hiring managers in on gaps in the system that could cause long-term challenges or impact retention rates.

My original plan was to base this article on recruitment best practices. However, after reviewing my prepared questions, Ewan shared some practical knowledge that helped me reframe my approach to this article. More importantly, what she shared should be the foundation of any corporate recruitment strategy, especially for agile teams.

“When we talk about the space of best practice, it's usually in a space that's not as adaptive,” she said. “We're not going to define a process and just stick with it. We want to learn from what happens in terms of team performance, culture, and morale and use that knowledge to inform changes to how we recruit and hire.”

2. Involve All Levels of Your Organization in the Hiring Process

One unique aspect of the ICAgile corporate recruitment process is that it’s team-based. “Many organizations have an HR team that drives recruitment; however, at ICAgile, we seek to involve several people from all levels of leadership, with whom the potential new hire would be working,” Ewan explained. In practice, this includes the hiring manager, the direct report, collaborators, and an interview with an individual from higher leadership. 

The team-based approach continues into the decision process, where those involved in candidate evaluation and screening weigh in on how the candidate would fit into the team’s dynamic and the skills needed for the role.

“When recruitment is purely driven by an HR department, while it’s helpful in terms of efficiency and processes, these hiring managers won’t be working as close with the candidate in comparison to the team.” 

3. Define Team Behaviors and Values

In addition to screening the applicant for the skills and experience necessary for the role, another defining characteristic of the ICAgile hiring strategy is the focus on what Ewan describes as core behaviors. “We have the core behaviors defined in our handbook because we see teams in collaboration as the producers of value for our customers, and we want to ensure that we’re incentivizing the team-based behaviors that support our culture and values.” 

The emphasis on core behaviors makes it easy for team members engaged in the interview process to identify key attributes and characteristics in candidates that align with the collective mindset at ICAgile. 

Conversely, Ewan cautions against hiring individuals who are too similar to one another. “Part of being adaptive is making sure we don’t get too much of the same thing. We need to have diverse perspectives.” She further describes that being too narrow-minded during the hiring process can result in a groupthink dynamic, impeding growth and creative problem-solving. 

In essence, aligning on core behaviors promotes retention and positive long-term outcomes for the hiring organization and the candidate.

“We take the growth mindset approach. If a candidate is flexible, curious, and committed to learning, this will be more important than an applicant coming in with all of the skills needed out of the gate. We believe that skills and capability can be built along the way.”

4. Don’t Move Too Fast or Too Slow

Top talent moves fast, creating a sense of urgency within the interview process. However, organizations must find a balance that provides enough time to ensure a mutual fit. Ewan suggests it’s not about ‘closing a deal’ but gauging alignment. 

In my experience with the interview process at ICAgile, I applied and received an invitation for an applicant screening the next day. The process didn’t take longer than a week and a half. Rather than lengthening the process over several weeks or months, the interviews were scheduled more closely together, and the discussions and questions within the interviews were very focused. 

As we discussed the importance of not moving too fast or too slow, Ewan described how essential details can be overlooked if organizations move too quickly. 

“Even though we hire within a short time cycle at ICAgile, we make sure there are several venues for the candidate to ask questions, talk to the hiring manager and other people on the team, and iron out other vital details like benefits or concerns.” 

5. Communicate the Realities of Your Work Environment

When assessing mutual fit, be sure to communicate the realities of your work environment. “Candidates are going to figure out the realities of the work environment eventually,” said Ewan. 

A handful of topics to cover include:

  • Expectations
  • Work-life balance
  • Growth opportunities
  • Internal communication & leadership styles

“To paint an accurate picture, be transparent and open. Have candidates meet with a variety of people so that they can hear from different sources and see what recurring themes are present.” 

6. Take a Holistic Approach to Candidate Evaluation

When performing a candidate assessment, it’s important to note that not all candidates will excel in this high-pressure setting. Conversely, some applicants may be great at interviewing but might not be the best fit for the role, so it’s important to take a holistic approach. 

To account for this, ICAgile learns about the candidate from multiple perspectives, including:

  • Reviewing work samples
  • Providing candidates with workplace scenarios or dilemmas to evaluate their critical thinking, creativity, and ability to apply their experience
  • Inquiring about extracurricular activities and interests, such as volunteering, side projects, or trying new things
  • Identifying a track record of consistency

“We want to make sure that we don't miss something based on a candidate’s interview style.”

7. Hire Lifelong Learners

Perhaps the most prominent green light in the ICAgile corporate recruitment process is a candidate's commitment to lifelong learning. “A track record of learning and trying new things is particularly important for us because change is in our DNA,” Ewan proudly stated.

She described that as a small and growing agile organization, continued education is necessary to respond to change and adapt. Further, even if someone has minimal professional experience, you can tell when looking at their resume or conversing in an interview that they are curious and motivated to learn–whether through reading books, listening to podcasts, picking up new skills, or taking a course.

“In this day and age, it's critical for every organization to hire lifelong learners because so many things are getting disrupted, and you've got to have people who are curious and want to learn and grow.”

Conclusion

The key takeaway? Hiring professionals must prioritize human interactions over processes to gauge alignment with potential candidates. By adapting to new challenges, involving the entire organization, creating a positive experience for candidates, and having focused conversations around values and expectations, teams are more likely to find the right fit for their roles–and at a much quicker pace than the average hiring journey. 

Are you ready to start your agile HR journey? Consider exploring ICAgile’s certification courses in Agility in HR (ICP-AHR) and Adaptive Org Design (ICP-ORG). These classes provide real-world takeaways, frameworks, and methods that prepare teams to apply agility to HR strategies and build their collective intelligence. 

Did you find the recruiting tips in this article helpful? Follow us on LinkedIn to stay in the loop.

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TAGGED AS:
Organizational Enablement, Agile HR, Agility in HR, Adaptive Org Design

About the author

Emily May | ICAgile, Marketing Specialist
Emily May is a Marketing Specialist at ICAgile, where she helps educate learners on their agile journey through content. With an eclectic background in communications supporting small business marketing efforts, she hopes to inspire readers to initiate more empathy, productivity, and creativity in the workplace for improved internal and external outcomes.