Owning your quality of hire to recruit and retain top talent

Team job interview

5 mins, 39 secs read time

Is quality of hire worth measuring? Crosschq’s recent research certainly indicates that it is; in fact, 39% of talent leaders consider it to be the most valuable metric for building winning teams. But what exactly does it cover and how do you measure it? Those questions are much harder to answer. At Greenhouse Open 22, Mike Fitzsimmons, Co-founder and CEO of Crosschq, moderated a panel with Cole Napper, Senior Director of Talent and Analytics at Booster, Jo Avent, CPO at Crosschq (formerly TalentWall), and Brian Jacobsen, Head of Global Talent Acquisition at Sumo Logic. Read on for some highlights of their important conversation.

What do we mean by quality of hire?

There’s no industry-standard definition of the “quality of hire” metric – it can mean different things to different people. Mike started off by asking each of the panelists to reflect on what the term means to them.

Brian says, “It’s making sure that the people we find are successful at an organization and that we’re bringing the right people.” And he’s recently been thinking a lot more about how to track this.

Cole draws a comparison between recruiting and baseball, explaining that you need more than a single data point. “Quality of hire is just your number of at bats. Would you stop there if you were running a Major League Baseball game? No, you’d want to know your batting average. What’s your hit rate? How many rockstars are you bringing in? And from a cultural standpoint, how many people are flaming out in the org and how can you contribute to them sticking around longer?”

Jo believes the term should be unpacked a little more. “When we talk about quality of hire, are we talking about that human being? About that person’s quality? Or is it more about, ‘We have this job requirement and how close did we come from a team and process perspective to really fulfilling the requirements that we set out to fulfill?’”

Why is calculating quality of hire so difficult?

The panelists’ answers to the first question demonstrate various ways to think about quality of hire and also hint at how challenging it can be to measure. Mike wanted to explore this topic further, so he asked the panelists to share how their companies calculate this metric and what challenges they’ve faced in doing so.

“There’s often a gap between what happens in the business and what comes back to the talent team, so a lot of the evidence that I get is anecdotal,” explains Brian. “You’ll hear something like, ‘That person’s great. Hire more people like that person!’ And it’s not really setting recruiting up for success by identifying the characteristics and traits that are driving that success and helping us track it.”

Cole admits that he’s a bit of an outlier because he doesn’t see measuring quality of hire as that complicated. “When I think about quality of hire, I think about it objectively and subjectively. On the objective side, at Booster, we’re using this for all of our frontline population. We have things like productivity scores, safety scores, driver safety, a variety of different metrics, and essentially you just take an average of those, 30, 60, 90 days into the job. It’s very simple and everybody is on board.” Cole also says that for employees at Booster’s headquarters, it’s a little more complicated, but still possible to measure quality of hire by asking managers questions like, “Would you rehire this person?” or “How is this person contributing to the success of the team?”

For Jo, quality of hire can be complicated because it’s not just about the employees themselves – it’s also about the support your organization is offering them. “How are you providing the right tools, resources and ecosystem for that new hire to be successful and contribute in the way you hope they can?”

Using data to debunk quality of hire myths

Everyone is susceptible to bias in their decision-making, especially if they don’t take time to question their own assumptions or reevaluate the way things have always been done. This is where looking at data can really come in handy.

Mike spoke about a Crosschq enterprise client who had been running four pre-hire assessments. “Through the analysis, we found that two of those are not only horrible candidate experiences, but they have no correlation to quality. Not only are those products riddled with bias, but you can see on paper that there’s no correlation to a quality outcome decision.”

Each of the panelists had a similar story about how they’d used data to debunk a quality of hire myth. Brian says at a previous company, many of the people on the hiring team were against hiring someone with a networking background for a particular role. But when he looked at everyone on the existing team and charted out their skill sets, nearly all the top performers had a networking background. “Just by looking at the data, I was able to easily say that actually this is a core competency that we’re looking for and it really changed the profile,” Brian shares.

Jo’s story is about a VP of sales who was convinced that they needed to only hire athletes for their team. “But when they looked at the data,” says Jo, “it turned out that the most successful salespeople in the team were actually moms who had just come back from maternity leave, so that was a shock and a revelation and transformed the way that they did hiring.”

Cole explains that Booster has been having a hard time retaining traditional truck drivers – those who already have their commercial drivers license. So instead of looking for people who fit the typical profile, they’re going directly into service industries and training people there to become drivers. “Our turnover rate has gone down and our quality of service has gone up. So this is a great case for how quality of hire can make a difference,” says Cole.

Don’t be afraid to get started

As the discussion came to a close, Cole offered some advice for anyone who’s interested in getting started with measuring quality of hire. Begin by agreeing on some standard practices, such as when you will do a quality of hire assessment and how you’ll do it – he suggests choosing a few standard questions to ask the hiring manager 30 days after a new hire starts, for example. This will allow you to collect a baseline that you can layer more complexity on over time. It’s all about starting somewhere and prioritizing progress over perfection.

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Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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