The one with TRU Quality

You those little grains of sand that get stuck in the machinery of your brain and as much as you try to ignore them you know they are there? Well it’s one such grain of sand that has led to this post.

I can’t remember how it first got stuck in there but if I was doing a ‘Peter Ustinov as Poirot’ style trail of breadcrumbs it would involve:

  • A comment made in my performance review 4 years ago
  • A blog post from Katie McNab (which I can’t find)
  • A conversation with Lisa Scales
  • A tweet from Bill Boorman

The upshot of this grain of sand and what has followed is that I am a track leader at #TRULondon being held in a few weeks in ….yes….you guessed it….London.

For a good description of TRU I will turn to Peter Gold who said this on his blog recently:

“What is TRU?

In case you are not sure, TRU events are UNconferences which means there are no formal presentations instead being replaced by tracks. A track is an open conversation between a small number of track leaders (typically 1-3) who start a discussion around a topic and the audience debate as they choose. The tracks are very informal, unstructured, sometimes heated and often fun. People can come and go as they choose rather than made to stay put until the end.”

You can book tickets and find out more information by clicking the image above but the reason for this blog is not to explain the unconference process or how it all works. The point of this blog is to gather some views on the track I am running to feed into the debate on the day.

The track is entitled “Quality of Hire” and refers to the metrics so beloved by organisations. I imagine if you put the average resourcing manager under the spotlight and asked them about their metrics they would all quote at minimum time to hire and cost per hire. These are really easy to track and calculate and are so called ‘hard measures’ that help people achieve bonuses. They may throw in something about average age of vacancy and some may even include some kind of turnover measure either during probation or during first year of employment. I’m sure there are some classics I’m missing but you get the idea…

The conversation I want to have is how do you effectively measure quality of hire. I have a few ideas myself but don’t want to share them just yet…. so Dear Blog Readers, the floor is yours, let the debate commence…..NOW!

P.S. I’ve chatted this idea over with a few people over the past few weeks who have had a little input. One of them, Roger Philby of The Chemistry Group apparently has an argument that will “blow you out of the water” so if you feel so inclined please tweet Roger (He’s @RogerPhilby) and continue to goad him into turning up and making his argument live!

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “The one with TRU Quality

  1. Recruiters tend to see Quality of Hire measures as boring, scary or painful. Here’s why:

    – Recruiters are stuck in the hamster wheel of req management. Our focus is on filling the next req. We’re not great at looking back – especially not looking back 1, 2, even 5 years.
    – QoH requires long term data in order to get an effective measurement. Unless you’re capturing assessment results somewhere central, that data is going to be difficult to put your hands on.
    – QoH measures are either too simplistic, i.e. Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc: We hired a sales person, and our sales went up. Therefore the sales guy was a good hire. Not necessarily. There are always other factors at work.
    – Or they are too complicated for our reptilian brains, i.e. There are too many factors at work that determine whether someone goes on to be successful – personal circumstances, manager quality, training… And 99% of that is outside our control. We can hire someone we genuinely believe will be a superstar, and they will crash and burn. Because (say it with me) there are always other factors at work.
    – Assessments tend to focus on past performance. Not on potential. They’re not the same.
    – Recruiters tend to have sales backgrounds. We tend to have a “Must. Fill. Req.” mindset. And we’re not usually experts in assessment validation. Most recruiters wouldn’t know where to start in terms of correlating performance data with assessment data.
    – Nobody likes to admit their interviews/assessments don’t actually work. And if they don’t accurately predict good performance why are we using them?
    – It’s all subjective anyway. Assessments are subjective. Performance management is subjective. The data we’d use to track “success” is provided through the lens of the manager and their opinions about what good looks like.

    Which all sounds like self-hating recruiter bashing. But that is the reality. And that’s not to say that we shouldn’t do it. Of course we should. QoH can be incredibly powerful. But we need to go into it with our eyes wide open, and understand the limitations.

    Therein endeth today’s sermon.

  2. Since when and since why would you want to make a recruiter responsible for the quality of the successful candidate? The decision-maker is properly responsible for the quality of the people joining their team. If the recruiter fails to put decent candidates in front of the hiring manager, the candidates are rejected and the ‘time to fill’ metric comes into play. If the hiring manager recruits people who are of insufficient quality, they have me to answer to.

    If the recruiter is to be responsible for the quality of hire you may as well give them P&L responsibility for the whole bloody organisation.

  3. I agree with Katie and following that train of thought there may be an approach for teams that recruit more than a handful of people every year.

    In the USA, presidential candidates used to use a ‘momentum’ measure to assess whether their campaign momentum was speeding up, the same or god forbid, slowing down. The data was created through a qualitative question to voters asking simply ‘have we gained ground on the other candidates?’. Voters would base their answer on their overall perceptions of the campaign – ads, interviews, the volume of coverage, comments from friends, anything – and it would give them a great overall view on their progress.

    Given it’s so subjective, could hiring teams therefore regularly ask the company (spilt leadership team line managers) ‘if the quality of our new people joining the company in the last six months has gone up, stayed the same or improving?’ At least it gives a top line view and delivers on the perceptions of the workforce, which can be an important part of attracting new people and general employee satisfaction.

    Might complement the other measures? #justsaying

  4. Hi Rob
    Great theme to kick things off. I remember a seminar about 10 years ago hosted by a forward thinking recruitment company on successful metrics in the recruitment process. I sat with the Recruitment Manager (MgrA) of what was at that time the largest IT consulting company in Europe and the Recruitment Manager (MgrB) of one of the world’s largest consulting companies.

    I asked them both what they measured and did Quality of Hire figure in their thinking:
    MgrB – ‘not sure what we measure, that is all done by the States’
    MgrA – ‘my job stops when the candidate gets to our door to start work’

    I fear we have not moved on greatly, mostly because of the cogent comments from Katie. In particular, if there are no performance based measures in place for current employees and there are no performance indicators used in the recruitment process (PreVisor used to have some great business performance predictive assessment tools, before the takeover by SHL), then it becomes difficult to measure QOH.

    But I agree, we have to try and get some basics in place. Imagine any other part of the business that did not measure its suppliers on quality of delivery, quality of the product that was purchased and the impact on the overall business performance.

    Roger Philby has some brilliant ideas and has implemented some truly revolutionary approaches to ensuring his clients to hire Quality. Come on Roger, get over to #TruLondon and share 🙂

    I am looking forward to the track and resulting debate.

    See you in London.
    Alan Whitford

  5. Jacob S Madsen

    From the ranks of those that read, learn and adopt
    Thank you for huge inspiration be it from original post or indeed from comments, – very inspiring and lots gone into my head from this. Katie your comments really covers a lot

  6. Pingback: Round-up of #trulondon 5 content | itsdevelopmental.com

  7. Pingback: The one with a quality measure | Masters or Bust

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