Show Me These 4 Things and I’ll Show You a Quality Hire

Dec 26, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 10.33.22 AMQuality of hire is such a broad metric to quantify. There are certain metrics which provide a baseline talent and HR leaders can use to make decisions, add corrections, or make improvements, such as cost per hire, source of hire, and time to fill, to name a few. They can be calculated relatively easy. Quality of hire is certainly an important metric to measure, yet can be a complicated metric to calculate as there can be varying factors that influence it.

It happens every day across Corporate America … Mr. or Ms. hiring manager has an open position and calls down to recruiting or out to their trusted search partner and says, “I need to upgrade the talent and quality of this position.” But what truly constitutes a great quality of hire? I posed this question to multiple talent leaders and hiring managers and every single one of them provided differing criteria.

Read most HR/recruiting blogs or platforms and you’ll find many avenues on how to rate quality of hire:

  • Only hire “passive candidates”
  • Hire through a search firm
  • Give them an assessment
  • Hire from the competition
  • Employee referrals are the highest quality

The definition and measurement of “quality of hire” will depend on the position and the ongoing input from the hiring manager and others in the organization. In fact, asking someone to measure quality of hire can be somewhat similar to running a contest to see who has the best spouse. Each of us (I hope) will surely think that our spouse is the best because we are with him or her. We chose to get in the relationship with this individual based on our own personal likes, desires, and criteria, or as the saying goes … “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” However, although we all may perceive quality somewhat differently, we all may be able to come to an agreement that there are certain factors which directly correlate to quality of hire: culture fit, productivity, impact, and tenure.

Culture Fit: Does the individual fit the culture of the company/organization? Are they an integral team player willing to take on new challenges, more responsibilities, go the extra mile?  Do they get involved in the causes outside of work, do they represent the company well? Do they exude the core values of the company/organization?

Productivity: Hiring productive employees can be measured by setting upfront target goals.. If you run a sales organization, you can measure and track new sales, sales meetings, pipeline development, etc.

You can also rate an employee’s ongoing and future performance through continued goal setting and attainment, using 360 evaluations and through consistent communication of performance feedback.

Impact: Everyone should have a Reggie Jackson on their team — a clean-up hitter who can make a huge impact on the game. In executive search, I have always asked candidates for their top two greatest professional achievements that made an impact — how much money they saved the company, systems they implemented on time and under budget, process they streamlined or saved time, etc. The ones who got it were able to provide me detailed and quantitative impactful achievements that made them stand out amongst their peers. The ones who never got it, usually responded with something like, “I’m a hard worker … I show up on time … I’m a team player …”

There is an individual in my network who inherited a very tricky IRS Audit. Needless to say, this individual finished the audit months ahead of schedule and with no outstanding flags or problems. This was a huge impact for her company and its tax implications. It is precisely the type of personal career achievements that hiring managers need to look for when interviewing and hiring.

Tenure: Turnover is not good for any company, especially when a person leaves and takes all the knowledge with them. Companies should strive to focus on retention; yet this is hard to do because people don’t quit companies, they quit people. But tenure is a huge part of quality of hire. A good employee who is engaged will be productive while making an impact throughout the business, which will hopefully result in tenure, saving the company from having an open position, from losing knowledge, and losing other top employees in the department.

Measuring quality of hire should focus on factors that can be directly connected to an employee’s performance, achievements, and contributions. You can locate these factors in an interview (pre-hire) and in job performance (post-hire). Instead of focusing on whether a candidate is passive, comes from a search firm, or is referred by a top employee, the standard of selection for a quality hire should be consistent in these core areas listed above. Once human resources defines the company’s criteria and adds in standards, procedures, and measurement tools, you will now be more readily to define and calculate your quality of hire.