Tel: +44 (0)7970 137351


A UK university lost potential staff because its recruitment process took so long that candidates often took up other posts – frequently with rival institutions. The university required a complete overhaul of their recruitment system in order to reduce processing time and to secure much-needed staff.

A Process Flow Diagram of all the recruitment steps (from the point the post was approved internally to the time of offer to a potential candidate) revealed that certain aspects of recruitment depended on preceding steps, which is where the entire process could easily stall. Typical time taken to recruit was between 20 and 142 days, the average being 93 days. Total time to recruit an individual was a massive 48 hours, costing £6,000 – of which £1,479 was wasted time.

Through Lean-6 Sigma analysis, a number of ‘quick-win’ short-term improvements were identified and implemented, plus medium-term and long-term goals were also defined. Applying the ESSA acronym (Eliminate, Simplify, Standardise, Automate) created sufficient data to formulate and propose the launch of a new e-recruitment system – and the overall results of changes made were to reduce average recruitment time from 93 to 68 days. In addition, individual recruitment costs dropped from £6,000 to £810.

The project also served as an opportunity to identify other projects that linked to the University’s strategic development group – which, as a result of the Lean-6 Sigma recruitment exercise, wished to extend the use of Lean-6 Sigma across the entire university organisation.