Boost Quality of Hire with Real-Time Feedback

Nine metrics you should be tracking to maximize quality of hire.

By Lou Adler Mar 1, 2016
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Remember your first GPS? If you went out of range, it took 15 to 20 seconds of recalculating before the device could provide new directions. And by the time you received the new directions, you were often past the point of no return. Then you had to stop and let the system catch up. When guidance was delayed, you might have ended up lost, or at least frustrated.

The same is true when measuring the success of your talent acquisition efforts.

To improve quality of hire, the feedback loops in your recruiting, sourcing and applicant tracking processes need to be in real time, not weeks or months after the fact.

If you can’t assess quality of hire until six to 12 months after the person is employed, you’re doomed before you even begin: You’ll select the wrong people, create havoc among your hiring managers or discover too late that your latest solution is no better than what you started with.

Choosing the best candidate every time needs to be the major objective of a company’s talent acquisition efforts; the goal is not to be more efficient at what’s currently being done.

Measuring Job Fit

Measuring and monitoring the quality of your hires starts with applying the same criteria to applicants that managers use to rate their best employees.

Top performers are those who:

  • Exceed expectations.
  • Consistently deliver results.
  • Work well with the team and fit within the culture.
  • Don’t make excuses.
  • Don’t need a lot of direction or coaching.
  • Are self-motivated to do the work required.

As long as you define the job expectations, the role within the team and the organizational culture, all of these characteristics can be quantified before a job offer is made.

To measure a job applicant’s quality pre-hire, rate the candidate on a scale of 1 to 5 on each of seven factors: Five factors measure a candidate’s ability to do the work, and two factors assess the individual’s motivation to do it. High scores in both sections indicate a great hire.

Getting Feedback

A data feedback system will ensure that your processes are on track for achieving the best pre-hire quality of hire. If you don’t know what you’re looking for before you start searching, you’ll never know when you find it. Nor will you be able to assess each candidate properly.


Here are nine key metrics that can help you find the best available talent:

Interviews per hire. If a manager needs to see more than four candidates to make a hiring decision, you have a major problem somewhere in your process. Most often, the problem is that the recruiter and manager are not clear on the real job needs.

Sourcing mix. For high-demand and management positions, recruiters need to expend extra effort finding passive candidates and getting solid referrals. Together, these two sources of hire should account for at least 50 percent of the applicants that recruiters present to hiring managers. When the percentage is lower than that, managers typically want to see more prospects than necessary.

Impact of job postings, e-mail and voice mail. You’ll get a sense of how effective your recruiting messages are by tracking response rates to your communication. The goal is steady improvement, so monitor these rates daily or weekly. To get above a 20 percent response rate, your e-mails and job postings need to highlight the employee value proposition and emphasize the job’s duties, not the skills needed to do the work.

Quality of talent pools for critical positions. Before any search, have your recruiters select the 20 best resumes of people already in your company database. If your managers decline to see any of them, you need to initiate some major talent branding programs to improve the quality of potential applicants in your talent pool. This will result in reduced time-to-fill by creating a just-in-time hiring process.

Level of interest on the first call. You’ll find out if your recruiters are good at engaging passive candidates by tracking the percentage of passive and referred candidates contacted who agree to an exploratory discussion. Anyone can get the names of great people. The best recruiters can persuade them to take part in an initial discussion. Shoot for 80 percent or better on this metric.

Yield from the top of the funnel to the bottom. Keeping passive candidates engaged from the first contact to acceptance of an offer drives improvement in quality of hire. Gain insight into how well your organization is doing this by tracking the number of candidates seen by your hiring manager, the number of offers extended and the number of offers accepted.

Break down acceptance rates. You should expect active candidates to accept offers within your compensation range more than 90 percent of the time. But if your passive and referred candidates aren’t accepting offers within your salary bands at least 50 percent of the time, you either have a compensation problem or your jobs don’t represent true career moves.

Sourcing channel effectiveness. Track the source of all your candidates, either by their Performance-Based Hiring Job Fit Index scores or some other measure of quality. This will give you a big clue as to where you should be spending your recruiting resources.

Assessment variance. Hiring team members should share their ratings of the candidates on each of the seven factors in the Performance-Based Hiring Job Fit Index. If the variance on any factor is more than plus or minus a half point, get more data before deciding whether to move forward with the candidate. Wide variances indicate a process that’s out of control.

With real-time feedback, you’ll know when you’re off course and what you need to do to get back on track. When the data is weeks or months old, it’s too late to recover. Tracking and using talent acquisition data should be part of every HR leader’s skill set, in order to convert HR into a strategic asset by ensuring that your company is hiring the best person possible for every position.

Lou Adler is the CEO and founder of The Adler Group, a consulting and training firm based in Irvine, Calif.

Web Extras

HR Magazine article: Competencies Hold the Key to Better Hiring
SHRM article: The Holy Grail of Recruiting: How to Measure Quality of Hire
SHRM article: Quality of Hire Top Metric for 2016
Article: The Best Way to Grow Your Business Is to Hire More Achievers (The Adler Group)


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