Kanban is an approach that works by making things visible. We show you how, by sharing our experience using Kanban in HR to manage a recruitment and hiring process.

Recruitment is complicated!

Many years ago I worked at a company as a scrum master. One day, I was visiting the HR manager and she was complaining bitterly about how complicated recruitment was. It seemed like the main problem was keeping track of all the open roles and candidates, while still having a full time day job. Does that sound familiar?

And as a hiring manager, there is nothing worse than finding the perfect candidate, then finding it out took HR too long to make the offer, and the candidate has already accepted another job.

Although we weren’t using Kanban in HR yet, I thought making the process visible to the manager and her staff might help. A Kanban board is a great visual tool for tracking complex workflows. So we created a physical kanban board on her office wall.

 

Kanban for Recruitment

The first step is understanding the recruitment workflow, and making columns for each step in the process. Once we know the steps, we place them along the top of the Kanban board. I simplified the steps in the picture below. But you can include whatever steps match your current process. Remember, at any stage a candidate could move into the bin if they are not a good fit. For us, that means we send them a very nice email saying no thank you.

Example board for Kanban in HR for Recruitment

Do you track at the role level or the candidate level?

One of the challenges with using Kanban for recruitment is the complexity of tracking multiple applicants for a single role. Do you track at the role level, or the candidate level? Well, we tracked both. We created swimlanes (a horizontal row – indicated by the green arrow above) for each role that needed filling. And, we used dots to track candidates in that swimlane.

The black vertical line on the board indicated where people start applying for the roles. At this point in the board we start tracking individual candidates. Each candidate is a blue dot with the applicants name on it, showing where they were in the process.

Make Progress Visible

We added extra info on the board to help make the process easier. For example, some hiring managers have multiple open roles, so we grouped swimlanes by hiring manager. This change, makes it easy for each manager to see the progress for their open roles.

We would also highlight who the interviewers are with in a yellow card on the board. This made it super easy for anyone in HR to know who to set these up with. Each time a step was completed, the candidates blue dot moved either to the bin or the next step in the process.

Now, at a glance we knew exactly what was happening with recruitment. The mayor benefit of Kanban in HR is that anyone can see what the progress is for themselves, without having to ask HR. This was instantly a major timesaver for our busy HR manager.

Kanban in HR

Kanban for recruitment is just a first step for using Kanban in HR. We’ve also helped HR teams use Kanban to organise events, onboard new hires, manage performance appraisals and objective setting, as well as their daily recurring work.

What are some of the opportunities you see in HR that could benefit from Kanban? Tell us in the comments. Then, we can share other stories of what has worked for us.

Your Turn

Well, what do you think of this board? Have you tried something like this yourself? What tweaks would you need to make it work for you? Give it a try and let us know in the comments how it goes. And if you are already using Kanban in HR, then download our Team Task board quiz below to see how you score!

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