What Is RecOps?

“RecOps” is the combination of recruiting operations and recruiting optimization.

It’s the “engine” that keeps a recruiting function firing on all cylinders.

It works in a similar way that “Continuous Improvement” does in Manufacturing or “Agile Development” does in software.  

These practices serve to enable positive outcomes like fewer defects on a production line or faster software deployment, for example.  

In the case of RecOps, the goal is to enable recruiting organizations to make better hires, faster, at a lower cost, with a better experience.  

If an organization is able to do this – if all organizations are able to do this – it would dramatically improve the experience for everyone involved and “fix” recruiting once and for all.

This sounds like a pipe dream but I believe it’s doable.

What I don’t believe; however, is that we can fix recruiting without a structured way of optimizing our talent acquisition functions.


Too often in our profession, we look for silver bullets or apply Band Aids to solve our problems. This tactical approach doesn’t create a muscle for continuously coming up with solutions to our biggest challenges. As such, it’s important to note that RecOps is not a tactic, a Band Aid or a silver bullet.

It’s a framework with a set of principles, processes and tools that help companies optimize their recruiting function in a deliberate and ongoing way.

RecOps is also not a one-time “recruiting transformation” initiative.

It’s an ongoing commitment to pursuing operational excellence. Because of this, it requires a steady commitment to weaving new ways of thinking and acting into your recruiting operations. At no part in this blog post will I state that this will be easy. To enable change in our recruiting functions (and our industry), we need to be willing to change ourselves. And as you know…the act of change is hard work.

For what its worth though, the best way to establish a RecOps practice in your organization is by taking small, incremental steps. Not big, scary leaps.


Before I write additional posts detailing how you can deploy RecOps in your organization, it’s helpful to talk about where it came from.

RecOps is not an invention. Specifically, it’s not MY invention.   

It’s the curation of known and proven practices from other fields applied to the Recruiting industry in a way that is most relevant to your situation.   So like most “new” things, it stands on the shoulders of giants and builds on other practices that came before it.   

Specifically, RecOps is inspired by (and borrows from) principles and methodologies from several optimization-oriented disciplines such as…

  • Lean Manufacturing (Manufacturing) – Six Sigma, Kaizen, Kanban, etc.

  • DevOps & Agile (Software Development)

  • Growth Hacking & Inbound Marketing (Marketing)

  • Customer Success (Customer Service)

  • Sales Enablement (Sales)

  • Design Thinking (Design)

  • Lean Startup (Entrepreneurship)

The magic of RecOps is building an understanding of these different frameworks and knowing when to apply them to your situation.  In the future, I’ll cover some ways that you can access this type of knowledge. For now, just understand that the collective of these frameworks serves as the foundation of RecOps.  The manner and consistency with which you apply them is what will drive the improvement of the health, productivity and performance of your talent acquisition organization.

Since we are at the beginning of developing the potential of RecOps, our understanding and our ability to do this more effectively will improve over time. So consider this article the first of many attempts to define and refine RecOps.