Tag Archives: quality of hire

The one with the quality job

I’m not sure who first said “better, faster, cheaper – pick any two” but it does seem to be enduringly true.

I was recently invited to be part of a judging panel on the “In-House Recruitment Awards” (thanks Mark & Simon) and was assigned a few categories to do the initial judging prior to a bun fight round table with my fellow judges. There was a great deal of enthusiasm evident in most of the submissions but I must confess having read through the 9 or so entries I was disappointed at what seemed to be the focus for those entering as the best…

I first worked in recruitment as a consultant and then in the 2000s moved in-house at a time when recruitment was a burgeoning speciality and the role was still mostly completed by generalists. At the time, from my perspective the focus seemed to be on process (HR professionals to focus on process?! NO!) and not enough on either of the key stakeholders in the relationship – the hiring manager and the candidate.

I was encouraged as my career developed in recruitment to see some of the great facets of agency recruiters – proactivity, service focus, relationship management, were becoming evident in those who were taking in-house roles but for the fight was always about getting the right person in the right role at the right cost/time (in that order). The budget was something to be managed not something that managed me and line manager expectations were to be soothed as me/my team beavered away to try to find the right person.

What made me slightly nervous in reading the award entries that success (and the subsequent definition of best) was largely driven by time and cost – faster and cheaper with little or no attention paid to the quality of the candidate. There didn’t seem to be any mention of any post induction measurement, performance, retention or in its broadest sense talent.

If you ask the board of an organisation what they need from their recruitment function I imagine (and I have asked) their focus will be about increasing the capability of the organisation, about hiring people with potential and about the future prospects of the business. Whilst compliance with budget and efficiency of hire are of course important (especially to the line manager and the finance director) they do not in the true sense add value to the organisation past the day the new employee starts.

I think the recruitment profession as it now seems to want to distinguish itself from the remainder of the HR, needs to take a step back and think about what represents true value to the business, what it really wants to be known for and if in the list of better, faster, cheaper it may be about choosing the first and one other…

Just as a small post script I received an in-mail on Linkedin this afternoon from a recruiter working for one organisation but on site and in the name of another. The ‘host’ organisation is one that likely has a tough retention challenge and who’s wider brand has taken a hammering in the last few years. This was her missive:

Dear Rob,

Hope you are well.

I am currently recruiting for a Senior OE Specialist. I came across your cv. Pleae could you let me know your current situation? Are you available. Alternatively please pass my contact details to anyone you know that may be interested in this role.

Better? Faster? Cheaper?



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The one with my rose tinted view

I always had this notion that the recruitment function was something akin to the A&R function of a record label.

The ‘A&R man’ was the one who spent their lives going to gigs, trying to find the next big thing and nurturing them their early rise to a point where they can justify signing them (or beat another label to the punch). The Artists & Repertoire function was historically responsible for scouting and development of new artists for the label and their success was measured by the success of the acts they signed.

You could argue in the Cowell era of manufactured pop (which could be likened to a brief assessment centre resulting from an open application) that the days of that traditional A&R function are numbered but Mr Cowell et al are making lots of money, big sales numbers and attendance figures are being posted by bands that have grown the old fashioned way and been scouted. Either way the people who get all the way aren’t chosen by a team of people sat in a darkened room listening to 30 seconds of music and then deciding…at least I hope not!

The other aspect of A&R that matches my notion of recruitment is that A&R are measured by the success of the artists they sign – hence my conversation last week about measuring the quality of hires brought into an organisation. Whether my job title involved Resourcing or Learning I’ve always seen it as part of my role to ensure that not only did they get signed but also they got the best chance to succeed once they were in the building.

It seems from some conversations last week my notion of recruiting maybe somewhat outdated as it seems a portion of recruiters see their responsibility and accountability as stopping when they ‘sign on the line which is dotted’ and whether that’s a sign of times and the volume of work a recruiter is saddled with or the role has evolved past my notion I’m not sure.

The other distinction that came out in conversations last week was the number of people who see recruiting as a function distinct from Human Resources and maybe here again I may be behind the times. It prompted me to tweet at one point “When did recruitment emancipate itself from HR?” as when working as a recruiter I saw myself as an HR professional who specialised in recruitment. To listen to some of the conversations last week this isn’t a view that many recruiters seem to share.

There’s no big finish to this post but since attending TruLondon last week, posting the blog on Quality of hire and spending the weekend reflecting on both these thoughts have been bouncing around my head so I thought I’d share them and see if anyone has a reaction one way or the other…

P.S. I am wholly prepared to concede that my notion of the A&R function maybe related to my rose tinted memories of listening to unknown bands in smoky pubs

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The one with a quality measure

“I went to TRULondon and all I got was this lousy blog post”

Trying to summarise a 45 minute multi-person conversation (for that read bun fight) into a blog post is something I find very difficult but here goes…

Yesterday I attended #TRULondon5 and having taken Bill Boorman up on his invite to run a track about 20 people were assembled to have a conversation about measuring quality of hire.

I started by setting the scene (which I’d also done in a post you can read here) and giving some clarity on keeping the conversation on track and no veering off to what was seemingly everyone’s favourite topic social recruiting. I think I may have enforced that a little strongly at times so if I did trample on anyone I’m sorry!

Rather than try and summarise the narrative here are some of the points that arose:

  • Are we trying to define quality or value? Some believe the difference to be semantic and what we are really trying to define is contribution.
  • Some thought value was the intangible and quality the hard measures. Others (mostly me) thought value is the tangible and quality was akin to value plus cultural fit.
  • Understanding the expectation of the role is key. Very different for entry level to senior management and an organisation doesn’t want/need everyone to be high flying innovators etc
  • There was a conversation about understanding ‘what good looks like’ with particular reference to a basketball player called Jeremy Lin (who I had never heard of). There’s a great post about him here from Hung Lee. It lead to discussions about the circumstances under which people succeed and what it takes to make talent flourish.
  • Length of service or tenure was asserted as ‘the one true measure’ which met with some agreement and some disagreement. Given the rising cost of employment it was a means to deliver a return on investment for the costs of recruiting/inducting/training etc
  • Given the rising role of contingent workers (not just temps but contractors, interims & consultants) some discussion arose about how that would impact any measure of tenure and also the disconnect between clarity of expectation on a contingent worker versus a permanent worker
  • Tying quality to performance was discussed at length. With objections raised about the subjectivity of performance measures, how performance expectation isn’t understood at recruitment stage and how difficult it is for recruiters to influence hire once the individual is in role.
  • Measuring assessment scores of new hires versus those of current employees was discussed as was of course the need for objective assessment and clear data. This of course would challenge some organisations on their current hiring practices and also requires a significant wealth of data to already exist.
  • An interesting point was raised around measuring an individual’s value as a social recruiting asset – so how many referrals they give the organisation which resonated with the concept of net promoter scores. We didn’t discuss this at length but it was certainly different.
  • The concept of following up with hiring managers and asking them structured questions was raised after the track but quickly shot down as requiring too much time and would be yet another thing that would end up being chased for

And then, as all the air seemed to have left the balloon, the fabulous Laurie Ruettimann interjected with a point which took the discussion to a whole different place and it went something like this…

“We need to get people jobs to stop them rioting”

which seemed as good a place as any to end….

Running the track was an interesting experience, they are difficult beasts to tame and I definitely don’t think I heard the silver bullet idea; I did get to understand opinions from different people and hopefully move the conversation on a step. This of course only represents my perceptions of the conversation and hopefully some other participants will comment.

For me, if I were implementing a quality of hire measure it would be a data driven exercise comparing the performance scores of hires against their group (whether that be function, division or whole organisation) to understand where they were in comparison to the whole. I think this would be sustainable and rational but would require the recruitment system and the HR system to interact which could of course lead to the end of the world. And yes performance measures are subjective but they are the subjectivity that gets believed (and actioned in many bonus schemes) so let’s get over that! I may be wrong  (often happens) but let’s at least do SOMETHING…

The importance of this can of course be questioned (‘why do we have to measure everything’) but if I was the CEO/HR Director I want to understand that quality is being brought into my organisation. If I’m the hiring manager likewise. If I was the recruiter I would want something to challenge the hiring managers with (a push back to contingent hiring decisions) but also a measure that empowers me to challenge the cost/time challenges that are ever present…

Having reflected on the experience the one thing that has surprised me is how recruiters perceive themselves in the organisation and how they see their role….but we’ll save that for another day.

In the meantime a few of us took part in a livestream chat after the track which you can see here if you can face more!


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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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