What Is Just-in-Time Recruiting?
Imagine sitting down at your favorite restaurant after a long day, looking forward to a good meal.
Your waiter asks you what you’d like. You peruse the menu, glancing over your options before deciding to order a nice juicy steak.
“Yes!” Your waiter replies. “We’ve already prepared it; it’s waiting under the heat lamp.”
“Oh.” You grimace, rethinking your decision. Looking back to the menu, you eventually decide to order the house special—a succulent swordfish.
“Yes!” Your waiter replies. “That’s been ready for hours, let me go make sure it’s still there.”
You blanch at this.
“But I want something fresh!” You sputter.
“Not possible,” he says with smug satisfaction. “We’ve prepared all your options in advance so they’ll be ready as soon as you want them.”
You’re shocked that the company would be proud of this production methodology. What happens if the entrees never get ordered? Won’t they have wasted a tremendous amount of time and energy? And don’t the options get stale? There’s no way customers will be satisfied with this.
Obviously, this scenario would be unthinkable for any restaurant. So why are recruiters satisfied following the same procedures? It might sound silly to compare recruitment game to food service, but the two share one important commonality—timing is everything.
This brings us to the concept of Just-in-Time (JIT)—a recruiting strategy that offers lower costs, a faster recruitment pipeline, and more qualified candidates for every position that needs to be filled.
Lean Manufacturing and Human Capital
JIT recruiting is a hiring methodology that involves providing hiring managers with candidates that match their exact specifications, precisely as they’re needed. It’s a system of hiring that’s based entirely on demand, rather than filling up a deep recruiting bench and waiting for positions to open up.
JIT has its roots in the popular Lean management philosophy. Lean business practices were born in the manufacturing world, involving continuous improvement through process optimization. Every manufacturing workflow is deemed to be either value-driving or detrimental; the value-boosting strategies are refined while the unhelpful ones are removed. Through this, more value is produced with less work.
This same methodology can be applied to a recruitment strategy. But unlike manufacturing, where inventory can sit in warehouses for weeks before it’s ordered, recruited candidates don’t wait. People move, develop different skills, and explore new opportunities. This is why recruitment agility is so important: Candidates in your talent pipeline have a shelf life (almost) as short as that succulent swordfish.
You Can’t Rely on Recruiting Benches
The traditional recruitment strategy of interviewing large swaths of candidates and selecting one from the throng is a relic of a time gone by. This system exposes companies to substantial waste:
- Wasted Time: Recruiters spend time reviewing data and building relationships with numerous candidates, only one of whom will get hired.
- Unused “Inventory”: if we think of human capital in terms of manufacturing inventory, then the more human capital a recruiter has, the more inventory is going unused. This is why having a deep talent bench can be detrimental to your recruiting efforts.
- People Move On: The recruiting process is long, and by the time a position is ready to be filled by a carefully selected candidate, the frontrunner may have moved on.
- Things Get Stale: The longer each candidate rests in your talent pipeline, the less relevant their skills become.
How Just-in-Time Revolutionizes Recruiting
JIT flips the above system on its head.
In JIT recruiting, candidate relationships and personal data (such as their ad responses, resumes, or LinkedIn profiles) are aggregated into an organization’s ATS along with all other touchpoints that can be used to determine candidate viability. This is a critical part of making JIT work: To find the right candidates at the right time, companies need access to as much information as possible. This includes every candidate who responds to your ad or who are referred by another party.
Armed with this data, recruiters can wait until a position is open and leverage their data stores to locate and connect with ideal candidates as quickly as possible. This system of human capital production falls in line with the Lean philosophy and offers several key advantages over traditional recruiting:
- Time Efficiency: Recruiters don’t need to invest time or energy in interviewing a surplus of candidates. By pre-qualifying each before they enter the pipeline, JIT supports a lean system of hiring that moves quickly.
- Candidates As-Needed: Deep recruiting benches are bad. JIT recruiting means that companies don’t need to accommodate large teams of potential candidates—candidates are contacted as they’re needed.
- Recruitment Agility: JIT means recruiting agility. It’s not uncommon for JIT recruiters to send a candidate through the entire pipeline—sourcing, contacting, interviewing, and submittal—in a matter of days. Compared to old-fashioned recruiting that can take weeks, the agility of JIT is hard to match.
The Right Candidates at the Right Time
Just-in-Time is the natural evolution of traditional recruiting. Rather than investing in a bunch of candidates that you keep warm under the heat lamp, JIT is a hiring solution that provides candidates only as they’re needed. In short, you’re not doing your clients any favors by prepping their options in advance. Each candidate chosen should be tailored to the needs of each business, contacted in a timely manner, and most of all, fresh!
Even though the JIT methodology has seen a slower adoption in recruiting than in food service, it’s no less effective. Give Urgenci a call if you need help evaluating your current hiring practices. We’ll be there to help.