Best In First Out: And why you shouldn’t recruit (or date) the first person you see Posted at 0:00, Thu, 18 August 2016 in Industry Insights

I first heard about the ‘Best In First Out’ philosophy while researching a presentation I recently conducted on sourcing. I found the concept interesting and thought it could benefit my peers, but as it was a little off topic so I decided it didn’t quite fit my presentation. I now have this platform to discuss my findings and thoughts on the concept

Best In First Out
Simply put, Best In First Out states that you shouldn’t immediately submit the first few qualified candidates you find to your hiring manager for review. The rationale is that these candidates typically won’t be the absolute best you’ll be able to find. It also doesn’t allow your hiring manager the opportunity to feel satisfied that they’re selecting the best talent from a pool of candidates that represent a good cross-section of the market.

Before I go any further I first I want to give some background on the origins of the Best In First Out concept.

Essentially Best In First Out is adapted from two different methods used in the accounting industry to determine the value of unsold inventory. Those two methods are First In First Out, and Last In First Out.

First In First Out (FIFO) states that unsold inventory is comprised of the goods that were most recently acquired. The goods you acquire first are the ones that are sold the fastest and the goods you most recently put into your inventory will be the last to go. Conversely, the Last In First Out (LIFO) method implies that your unsold inventory is comprised of the goods you acquired first. The advantage FIFO has over LIFO is that goods are sold in a more methodical or systematic manner and that when older goods are finally sold, that price could be significantly different from the original cost to acquire and store that inventory.

Factors that go into considering which method to use for accounting purposes depend on several factors including the effects of inflation/deflation on the value of that unsold inventory. First In First Out is the more generally accepted method amongst accounting professionals because it is applicable in more business scenarios and provides for better accounting principles.

Best In First Out for recruitment
How this relates to recruitment was best expressed in a recent Linkedin article by Nagarjunda Reddy. His analogy about First In First Out explains that submitting the first few candidates you speak with would be like a single person walking into a bar and leaving with the first person that speaks with them. This strategy doesn’t allow for any selection to occur and doesn’t allow for the best match possible to be made. With that being said, implementing a Best In First Out approach to screening and submitting candidates is an overall better strategy that will end up producing better results in the long run.

Best In First Out means that in order to present a batch of candidates that allows for hiring manager selection, as well as representing the best that the market has to offer, you need to find and speak with 15 quality candidates and then submit the five strongest. This way your hiring manager feels satisfied in being able to select from a deep pool of high-quality candidate, representing a cross-section of the market. They can then confidently move on to the offer stage.

Putting it into practice

I had the opportunity to try out this method recently and found it to be very effective. After kicking off an engineering role with my hiring manager, I set a goal to find and speak with 15 candidates prior to submitting what I believed to be the five best. I made a point to set the expectation that my manager may not start seeing candidate resumes for a few weeks while I built up my pipeline. I let him know that I intended to only submit the top candidates from my search and that they would be vetted not only for their skill sets but their genuine interest level in joining the company as well.

From the five candidates I submitted, the hiring manager phone interviewed all five, selected three for on-site interviews. Of this, one ended up receiving and ultimately accepting the offer. The whole process from start to finish took about six weeks. I found the Best In First Out strategy to be a more efficient and a more methodical way in which to fill this particular role. I should note that I was very lucky in that I got a lot of good responses from my reach out emails to prospective candidates as well as a good amount of quality inbound candidates via our job posting. This helped me build up my pipeline quickly and within just a few weeks determine the top five worthy of submittal.

I’ve only had the chance to use this method a handful of times, but in the small sample size I’ve had to measure its effectiveness so far, I feel it’s worth trying out to see if it can benefit you as much as it has benefited me.

Have you employed the Best In First Out method? We’d love to hear your experiences. Get in touch with us on Twitter @MitchelLake