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Quality of Hire – Your Most Important Hiring Metric?

Fact Checking Your Hiring Strategy: Facts are Stronger than Opinions

Hiring strategies need a plan and every strategy needs an anchor point, something that takes what we think is good, right, or actionable and brings definition and clarity to it. When it comes to putting the right person in the right seat, we need to know two things.

  1. What is the right seat?
  2. What does the right person for that seat look like?

A traditional hiring model might focus on skills, experience, and time in a role but that’s only a part of the story. If you want to see the big picture you must look at the whole person.

If you told someone you went out for dinner they might ask you, where did you go? What did you order? Based on the QUALITY and EXPERIENCE you will either recommend the restaurant or warn the person off. It’s the same with candidates, you want to see the whole person, and to do so with definable metrics. Defining and measuring quality is crucial to having the right person in the right seat, and the right seat for the right person.

Quality of hire can include:

  • Job performance
  • Employee Engagement
  • Retention
  • Time to Productivity/Ramp up time
  • Cultural fit

Quality is Valuable

Taking something traditionally subjective and making it quantifiable is challenging but there are tools out there to help. For example, we use the quality of hire index: Job Performance + Time to Productivity (ramp up time) + Employee Engagement + Cultural Fit.

Hiring manager satisfaction, although an important factor, is often not included in the measuring quality hire calculations. If you are going to look at that then your hiring team needs to hold that in tension with the parameters of the search and the overall agreed up on needs of the team. Some of the more accurate and supportive metrics include common indicators like:

Job Performance

The achiever pattern: when exploring new candidates, it is essential to get an idea of the how and the why of what they have achieved, not just the fact they have done something. Questions include but are not limited to: What challenges has the candidate overcome? Who did they work with on the project? What promotions did they receive and why?

For most companies, new hire performance criteria are the gold standard measuring quality of hire. Managers can review performance data over time to determine how well a new hire has been able to exceed performance expectations. There are a variety of ways to measure job performance, including tying performance to role specific measurable outcomes.

Retention (New Hire Turnover)

Turnover metrics are harder to quantify since there can be other factors impacting retention. Factors could include reduction in workforce, toxic culture or management, limited career pathing opportunities, or performance issues. Measuring turnover is an essential quality of hire indicators. According to Forbes’ article about the average cost of replacing an employee can range from one half to two-times their salary; a costly outcome that isn’t just limited to the financial impact.

Retention is the number one step in the hiring strategy; it’s in a company’s best interest to reduce new hire turnover by prioritizing retention in quality of hire measurements. Keeping your best people and giving them room to grow is essential. The courageous candor that is fostered within regular one-on-one meetings will clue you in to what your people want and leads to deepened employee engagement.

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is an essential metric in measuring an organization’s quality of hire. Measuring new hire satisfaction is not only an opportunity to track employee engagement but also an important feedback loop to improve your onboarding processes. The first 90 days will set the tone for the first year, and beyond.

Employee engagement surveys aren’t the only objective measuring tool for assessing quality and satisfaction. Other options include participation and attendances in company related events, team feedback and levels of involvement in collaborative projects. The key to success in employee engagement is the fostering of a transparent, honest, and open forum where team members know where they are, what is expected of them and how they can achieve what is before them. With intentional career pathing and defined growth opportunities employees are more likely to be engaged and will help engage those around them. It’s a win-win.

Time to Productivity (Ramp up Time)

Quality of hire means that the value an employee provides is more than the cost to hire, train and develop a new hire for the specific role they were hired for; it’s the ROI. Ramp up time, or time to productivity is one quality of hire indicator that helps hiring managers qualify how well a new hire meets post hire expectations. When bringing a new team member aboard it takes time for them to adapt to the role and the culture; to learn the processes and “language” of the organization. Onboarding a new employee takes resources and having someone who can “hit the ground running” and who is given an environment and support to take immediate ownership will reflect a quality hire.

Cultural Fit

Culture describes the environment, values, and language of your organization. In other words, it is the “feel” of your company; what you stand for, pursue and provide for your people. While sometimes a bit more controversial, cultural fit can be included in quality of hire calculations.

According to an article by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), companies that leverage ‘culture fit’ best do so by tying culture to objective measures that are mappable like specific skills, abilities, values and motivators. Finding someone who is aligned with your mission and values and shares a common language for how you operate will quickly connect them with what you are pursuing, and what is valuable to your organization.

The danger in using culture fit as an indicator is that you can introduce biases in your hiring practices.  This will actually undermine a company’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives. Rather than culture fit, some organizations prefer aligning new hires to metrics that favor a value fit. Quality of hire calculations that factor in value fit as an indicator can lead to healthy innovation and team integration.

The goal is to put the right person in the right seat, into a position that will play to their strengths and enable them to have the best chance of thriving both now and in the future.

Quality of Hire Metrics Applied

Understanding how these indicators can collectively work together can help you evaluate what’s working and how successful the new candidate has been. The quality of hire calculation measures the value an employee provides against the cost to hire, train, and develop the new hire for a specific role.

Perhaps you’re an executive, hiring leader or an HR professional looking to revamp your hiring process. You’re navigating everything from the Great Resignation to Quiet Quitting, adjusting to a remote, hybrid or full return to office environment or you’re losing out on candidates to counter offers or unmatchable compensation. Whatever you’re facing understanding the principle, methods, and calculation of quality of hire is critical for long term organizational success.

At Titus Talent, we are committed to partnering with organizations to define the seats they are looking to fill and then finding the right people for those seats through our unique hiring process, which decodes the whole person. In addition to our distinctive hiring solutions, we offer training. Our 4-phase hiring process will prepare you with the innovative framework and tools needed to hire 4 performance and hire 4 management.

We put the right people in the right seats, at any level of your organization to ensure quality of hire.