Breaking Down the Barriers to Achieve Quality Hires

Dec 2, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Most recruiters will say that making quality hires is their top priority, but they often fail to back up those claims by accepting accountability for the post-hire performance of the candidates they source. Recruiters cite limited authority over hiring decisions or training and supervision as barriers to accountability; meanwhile, managers say recruiters should be accountable for quality because they control the slate. To break the stalemate, recruiters must embrace each manager’s business objectives as their own and recognize both their accountability and authority for hiring top performers.

At Advanced Technology Services, Jim Hefti, VP of HR, took time-to-fill off the table, while holding the company’s recruiters accountable for first year employee turnover. He also gave the recruiters the authority to reject a candidate at any stage of the hiring process. How did the company’s managers react?

“They don’t like it, but they’ve learned to accept it,” says Hefti. “Our first year employee retention rate has improved by 3% to 5% and time-to-fill actually improved when we stopped focusing on the number of candidates we were submitting and started focusing on submitting quality candidates.”

It was just as difficult for recruiters to embrace their new responsibilities, according to Holly Mosack, ATS recruiting manager, but she says recruiters diligently educated managers that quality hires result from sound hiring processes, not massive quantities of interviews, and they persevered through the first six months. Then, both groups saw their first glimpse of improved first year turnover statistics, and they haven’t looked back.

Hefti also installed a talent management structure that makes performance management the joint responsibility of HR and managers. New hire performance is evaluated at 90 days. An HR talent manager gets involved if a new hire is not meeting or is not projected to meet performance expectations. Every time a new hire quits, or fails to meet his or her performance goals, recruiters, managers, and talent managers meet jointly to review what happened and make adjustments in hiring profiles, training, or supervision.

Managers’ satisfaction with the recruiting department is measured through a separate annual survey, because Hefti focuses on tangible measures and accountability that drive the company toward its business goals.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.