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The Cost of Quality of Hire Is Free
Posted By Lou Adler On November 1, 2012 @ 5:34 am In Advice and How-Tos | 9 Comments
I was training a group of hiring managers in New York City a few weeks ago on the fine points of Performance-based Hiring . The conversation quickly focused to quality of hire: how to both measure and maximize it. One of the sales directors in the room was quite frustrated with his recruiting team, and suggested the way he controlled quality of hire was by rejecting 9 of 10 candidates their recruiters presented. The rest of the hiring managers then chimed by saying how disappointed they were with the quality of the candidates sent by their recruiters.
They attributed the primary cause to their recruiters’ lack of understanding of real job requirements. I suggested the problem was more likely a quality-control issue: using inspection at the end of the process to control quality of hire, rather than defining and controlling it at the beginning.
If you’re old enough to remember, back in the 1980s the Total Quality Management  initiative became a global groundswell. This is turn spurred the growth of lean manufacturing, six sigma process control, and the Baldridge Award. The simple idea was that if you controlled quality at every step in the process, rather than reject the results at the end, overall costs would decline and quality would be maximized. The was the promise and essence of TQM and what its acknowledged leader, W. Edwards Deming, proposed. It worked, and led to a huge world-wide quality and productivity boom.
If you look around your business today you’ll see evidence of this concept in every function and business process, except for recruiting and hiring. Folks in HR and recruiting tried to implement these programs, but didn’t get too far. The underlying problem had to do with the lack of a meaningful and repeatable process for maximizing quality of hire. Without this, applying TQM-like controls is comparable to pushing on a cloud.
The problem for hiring has not yet been solved. Most companies still use a hiring process based on high-volume attraction and a quasi-scientific process for weeding out the weak, with the hope that a few good people remain at the end. A process based on how top people find and select opportunities might be a better place to start. With this in mind, here are some Deming-like TQM principles for building quality of hire into the system at the beginning rather than inspecting it out at the end.
Of course there’s more to maximizing quality of hire than described here, but if you don’t build quality in at the beginning of the process, you’ll never get it at the end. Desperation or normal business pressures will then force the hiring manager to hire the best person who applied, not the best person available. I address more of this in my new eBook The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired  (January 2013). For now, consider that it took 30+ years for the U.S. to accept Deming and realize that building quality in at the beginning is a far better process than inspecting it out at the end. Let’s not waste another 30+ years to realize that the cost of quality of hire is free.
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URL to article: http://www.ere.net/2012/11/01/the-cost-of-quality-of-hire-is-free/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.ere.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Deming.jpg
 Performance-based Hiring: http://budurl.com/pbhh1
 Image: http://www.ere.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/TQM_MODEL.png
 Total Quality Management: http://budurl.com/AGTQM
 Michael Porter: http://budurl.com/AGPorter
 Here’s a recent post I did for LinkedIn describing this and offering a reasonable solution: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20121024132950-15454-three-simple-steps-to-avoid-the-staffing-spiral-of-doom
 performance profiles: http://budurl.com/banishLA
 Recruitment advertising: http://www.ere.net/tags/advertising
 employer branding: http://www.ere.net/tags/branding
 The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired: http://budurl.com/EGFH
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