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Talent Acquisition: Do You Have a Lean Process?

July 10, 2014

The concept of “Lean” is based on the principles of increasing efficiency, decreasing waste, and using 471795821empirical methods to decide what matters, rather than uncritically accepting pre-existing ideas.  These same principles in manufacturing can and should be applied to talent acquisition in any industry!  As a matter of fact, if you take a closer look at the key attributes of the lean philosophy, the similarities between lean manufacturing and lean talent acquisition are quite surprising.

Primary goals of a lean process include: improving quality, eliminating waste, reducing activity time and reducing total costs. 

Let’s compare:

Lean Manufacturing

Lean Talent Acquisition

Improve Quality – understand customers’ wants and needs and design processes to meet them.

Improve Quality – identify and measure critical employee knowledge, skills and abilities.

Eliminate Waste

  • Eliminate overproduction
  • Reduce periods of employee inactivity
  • Reduce non-value added work activities
  • Decrease excess inventory
  • Reduce defects & scrap


Eliminate Waste

  • Understanding when candidate pool is optimal and make quick informed hiring decisions
  • Quickly progress through recruitment activities
  • Reduce or eliminate manual administrative tasks
  • Management of candidate pool
  • Decrease poor hiring decisions

Reduce Activity Time

Leverage technology to reduce “time to hire”

Reduce Total Costs

production should meet demand

Reduce Total Costs –lower administration burden, reduction in safety incidents, decreased absenteeism, improved retention and legal defensibility.

One can quickly see that the lean principles, when applied to talent acquisition, can have a big impact on HR efficiencies, costs, and quality of hires.  As well as an overriding theme throughout lean is continuous improvement.  In the manufacturing sector, that is accomplished by performing incremental improvements over time to processes and services, while keeping the primary stated goals in mind.  At Select International, we pride ourselves on the practice of continuous improvement.  We use an empirical approach to understanding and refining critical job requirements, testing profiles, pass rates, utility, and predictive capabilities.  At the same time, we continue to measure objective system outcomes to meet the above stated goals and adjust our system to better meet them.

Candidates, and ultimately hires, are truly a product of the process.  The focus is to get the right people, in the right position, at the right time, and in the right quantity.  To meet this goal every organization should leverage technology to increase efficiency and provide the data to make the best decisions possible.  Utilizing a robust on-line application system with competency based assessments is designed to do just that.  As you review your Talent Acquisition process I challenge you to take a critical look with “lean” in mind.  What does your system do to improve the quality of hires while reducing wasteful activities, time to hire, and total cost?

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John Mirtich John Mirtich is a Senior Consultant and Business Development Manager based in the Cleveland office of PSI. After joining PSI, he honed his I/O skills by implementing entry-level selection systems, designing leadership development programs and managing the executive assessment process.