The best way to secure the best talent! Agile recruitment part 2/4

Having worked with recruitment in several different countries in Europe, I can with great confidence say that recruitment practises here in Norway (both in-house and external) are as far from agile as anywhere else. Processes are far too defined, results are focused on the process and not the hire, things move slow, there is little dialogue between recruiter and company or in-house recruiter and line manager. The list goes on…

Over the next four weeks we will write a series of 4 blog posts in relation to Agile Recruitment. If you want more insight into this, please listen to this episode of Smidigpodden with Ida Kjær from DNB and Tobias Falkberger from Norsk RiksTV. Here we talk about agile recruitment and how this is in the process of disrupting how things have been done in Norway up until now.

NB. Due to COVID we will not be holding any new breakfast seminars about this topic, but for a video-presentation of our seminar from 2020, please feel free to get in touch.

Part 2: The 8 agile principles we can use when recruiting

It is fairly simple believe it or not. What is perhaps difficult is to motivate yourself to work in a totally different way when recruiting but believe you me; once you get used to it you will wonder why you didn’t start earlier.

Out of the 12 Agile Principles, we have managed to implement 8 of these when recruiting:

  1. Early and continuous delivery
  2. Welcome changing requirements
  3. Work together with client regularly (If in-house it is important that HR / Internal Recruiter work with line manager regularly)
  4. Candidates primary measure of success (as in Software primary measure of success)
  5. Constant pace / momentum
  6. Simplicity
  7. Reflect, tune and adjust
  8. Make sure motivated individuals are working on the project


You are probably using some of these already, perhaps without knowing, but to yield the best results, you must use all of the 8 principles mentioned above. In addition; in order to get the best results from using the 8 principles, it is essential that you also stick to the 3 out of the 4 agile values:

  1. Interaction over processes and tools
  2. Customer collaboration
  3. Responding to change over following a plan

There you have it! This can easily be achieved and implemented, but it requires motivated individuals. So, let us look in more detail about what an agile recruitment process really is.

  • It is a process with less focus on fixed actions, processes and tasks but instead a process that develops / evolves constantly and over time
  • You continuously seek to learn and then adjust and show a high level of flexibility
  • The process is guided by, or formed by, candidate access and candidate availability
An example:


You have agreed a process where you have set clear deadlines and you have decided on what tools to use. If you stick to this you will deem the process a success. In other words; you motivate yourself to stick to a process rather than motivating yourself to do what is best there and then.

For example: Week 1: planning | Week 2 : Writing job spec Week | 3: Posting advert Week 4-8 | collecting candidates  | Week 9 first stage interview | Week 10 2nd stage interview | Week 11 test | Week 12 references | Week 13 offer


You set out a process that allows for flexibility and changes. You are not motivated by the process itself, but simply about finding the best talent. You are only satisfied once you have secured the best talent.

I tend to use a specific example when it comes to agile recruitment that is perhaps difficult to explain in a short text like this. I will try though.

A client of ours was planning to hire a xxxxxxx but was not ready yet to launch the position. I was however encouraged to take a look around my network already then. The same evening I found a star candidate and I decided to email him / her. He/ She was in a job and currently had other processes on the go. Although he / she thought my client was a very interesting company, he / she felt he / she had come too far in other processes to even enter one here with my client.
Stop for a moment there: If we had worked to a set process the conversation with this candidate would have ended there and then. Well actually, I wouldn’t even have contacted the candidate as we had not officially started the process yet.

Continued. I asked the candidate if he / she would meet with the CEO the following day if he was available. I thought that a meeting with the CEO may get him / her to see that this really is an awesome opportunity. He / She agreed and they had a meeting the following day. This got him / her more interested and a few days later he / she had a new meeting with the client. Now he / she really felt this was something of interest and started to put other processes on hold.
To cut a long story short:
4 weeks from my initial contact he/ she had secured a top level position within the senior management team. And even more interesting; the process wasn’t due to start before week 5.

So have a think about this until next week. Think about all the talent you risk loosing due to non-agile processes. Flip this around; think of all the talent you get access to by working in an agile manner.

Next week we will give you some more specifics in relation to how you can work in an agile manner in relation to recruitment. This will include agile in relation to advertising, testing, interviewing and more.

Written by Erik Falk Hansen