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How do you measure Quality of Hire?


Meredith Stack


Quality of hire is the most important metric for recruiters in 2020. But what does that really mean?

Ten years ago, “quality of hire” wasn’t even a choice on most recruiting surveys. Now it’s rising to the top of the list., In 2015,  39% of companies said Quality of Hire (QoH) was their most valuable recruiting performance metric, in a survey by Clear Company; a year later, 40% of big companies worldwide (and 45% of small businesses) called it a ‘valuable metric for performance’ in LinkedIn’s global trends report.

QoH is like GDP – it’s a reflection of the overall health of your recruiting process and a direct reflection of your workforce performance. One study found that the top five percent of workers – who represent your highest quality hires -- produce 26 percent of total output, which translates to 400 percent more than you would expect.

Imagine if all of your hires reflected the traits of that top five percent.

Predictors of success.

The benefits of a healthy quality of hire are clear but finding the right measures to determine QofH. Several factors that aren’t always obvious to recruiters and hiring managers impact quality of hire. And in many cases, the factors that many think equate to quality, don’t truly measure quality.

In 2018, LinkedIn Talent studied years of past survey data to identify a list of the best and worst predictors of QoH. Not surprisingly, “first impression” ranked as the worst predictor of success, because it’s biased and largely irrelevant. Just because someone is charming in an interview doesn’t mean they will be a good addition to your team.

More surprisingly, LinkedIn found that skills and experience were also weak predictors; whereas problem-solving ability, team skills, ability to learn, job fit, and culture fit all ranked as strong or essential predictors of a quality hire.

This data illustrates that a candidate’s traits and abilities are far more relevant to the hiring process than their past jobs or academic pedigrees.

Defining QoH for every role.

Companies can use these broad predictors as a first step for reshaping their recruiting process to focus on QoH. Then you need to get more specific and identify the traits that will make a candidate right for a particular position. To do so, companies need to look at their existing workforce and establish a baseline for success. Here are the four steps to get there:

  1. Identify high quality existing employees in your workforce. Look at data around retention, time to ramp-up, performance reviews, promotions, and 360-degree reviews by managers and peers to identify high performers in each position or business unit.
  2. Determine what makes these employees successful. Ask their managers, peers, and the employees themselves why they are thriving in these roles. Are they good leaders? Are they collaborative? Can they quickly solve problems or manage conflict? Do they fit the culture of the team? Identifying individual traits and behaviors that drive success can help recruiter’s hone their search criteria.
  3. Use that data to create a job fit profile. A job fit profile defines the behaviors, skills and, traits that a candidate will need to succeed in that position, with rankings for how important each trait is. For example, rapid problem-solving and spatial awareness may be high impact traits required for a project manager, whereas assertiveness, optimism, and adaptability will be critical for a sales role. Linking traits and behaviors to specific positions ensures new hires will fit the role as well as the company culture.
  4. Compare and contrast. Use pre-employment assessments to narrow your shortlist of candidates then compare those profiles to make your final choice.

In a tight labor market, you can’t afford to make bad hiring decisions. Focusing on QoH rather than time or cost of hire will ensure that the best candidates are selected and create an engaging and motivated company culture where everyone is expected to thrive.

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