Recruiting Team Stand Ups 101: What? Why? How?

The What?

Stand up meetings, a valuable part of agile software development for years, are now being adopted by talent teams. A stand up is a frequent – often daily – short and snappy (5-15 minutes or so) team meeting which takes place standing up, hence the name! Each team member speaks briefly. Everyone’s communication is short and to the point. The idea is that if you’re standing up it removes the temptation to get comfortable, keep chatting and find the meeting has run long.

The Why?

If teams are not careful, recruiters can easily become silos, working completely independently of teammates. Due to this, it’s easy to see why stand up adoption is so common among recruiting teams. It brings benefits in knowledge sharing, collaboration, connecting distributed teams, transparency, and removing roadblocks. Team members can talk about where they’re stuck or having problems and quickly find solutions or escalate, “Oh, you’re having problems sourcing good candidates for this role? Try this!”. Stand ups are an especially worthwhile practice for teams with new members or contract recruiters leveraging the experience they bring, while also providing real time support to them in the activities they’re doing soonest.

Additionally the discipline of prepping for the stand up creates good habits of choosing the highest priority things to work on that day. It keeps everyone aligned and is a great opportunity to celebrate wins, commiserate over losses, and re-prioritze if needed. Done right it can also have the effect of getting everyone energized – and collaborating – for the day ahead.

The How?

  • Decide timing. Stand ups can be at any time, but the best time to have them is in the morning. It sets you – and your team – up for the day.
  • Decide cadence. In dynamic teams with plenty of change going on and a lot to share we recommend starting out with a daily stand up.
  • Ideally stand ups are face to face, but dial in stand ups (assuming usual best practices for having people dialed in) or video conferencing can work well. If your team is in the same city they should make a priority to be there in person as much as they reasonably can.
  • Decide content.
    • Team members share what they did yesterday and what they plan to do today.
    • Team members share a win and a roadblock.
    • Have a visual of the candidate pipeline displayed as a card wall (using a tool like TalentWall or Trello, or even having a physical card wall set up) and “walk the wall”. This is where each recruiter talks about candidates in late stages of the hiring process, or candidates they’re excited about.
  • The team lead is there as a roadblock remover in the same way the other team members are versus being an overseer. The stand up is not a reporting meeting and team members should address everyone in the team.
  • Share with the team the goal and “rules” of the stand up. Typical rules are:
    • Respect the team: show up on time having thought about what you’re going to share.
    • Respect the team’s time: keep it brief, and take bigger conversations off-line into smaller groups. It’s OK to say “ditto” if you did the same as someone else.
    • Reiterate that the meeting is for the team – it’s not a reporting meeting per se.
  • You can go around the circle or have a ball to toss. The person that catches it speaks next. This is a nice way to keep everyone on their toes.
  • The stand up should be self-organizing when it’s up and running. Anyone from the team should feel empowered to corral the team, get the stand up started, and keep the conversation moving.
  • Continuously improve: empower the team to share feedback about the stand up and make changes to enhance it’s usefulness. Tweaks you can make:
    • Change the frequency. Cut back from daily until you find your team’s sweet spot.
    • For large teams split the team in to affinity groups e.g. sourcers and recruiters, or sales recruiters and tech recruiters.
    • Play with content: Mondays – share main goals for the week, Tuesdays – talk about obstacles, Wednesdays – walk the wall, etc
    • Change the timing: push it back by 30 minutes if people need to get caffeinated  first, or do it after lunch to beat the post-lunch slump.

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