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| 2 minutes read

Time to rethink Quality of Hire

I am excited to be presenting at LEAP TA Life Sciences in a few weeks in Boston where I’ll be speaking on the topic of “How to Measure TA Effectiveness’.  As part of that presentation I’ll be exploring the various metrics that Talent Acquisition leaders use to determine the effectiveness of their functions and publishing new data from AMS on some key TA metrics such as time to hire, internal mobility and agency usage.  But I’ll also argue that those metrics fail to demonstrate real value to the business. Hiring what may turn out to be a poor performer in 40 days can’t be as valuable as hiring in 50 days what could be a high performer.  And a new hire that costs you less won’t necessarily be a better hire than one that cost you more.

To truly measure the effectiveness of Talent Acquisition we surely need to look at the quality of talent we are hiring in to our businesses, the impact of that talent and the potential that talent has to add future value as well as present value.  According to a recent LinkedIn report, 48% of respondents measure quality of hire today but 88% say that it would be a highly useful metric for the future – the conclusion presumably being that many don’t know how to measure quality of hire or how to start.    

Whilst 48% of businesses measure quality of hire today I think the effectiveness of those measures is likely to be questionable.  Most will be measuring quality of hire through measures such as new hire retention (i.e. how many leave within x months of joining) and Hiring Manager satisfaction (i.e. to what extent does the manager that chose the employee believe they made the right choice!).  Few businesses that I speak to today are effectively evaluating new hire performance and correlating that back to the hiring process.

The HBR article linked below proposes a ‘Moneyball’ approach to recruitment, seeking evidence to define high performance within existing teams and then defining strategies to attract and select talent that is most likely to be successful.  I wholeheartedly agree with the evidence-based approach to defining what good looks like but I wonder if this approach fails to evaluate the potential for candidates to add value in the long-term as well as the short-term.

Gartner offers a new definition of quality of hire that resonates with me:

Quality of Hire: A measure of the caliber of new talent an organization hires, defined by their potential to contribute to the organization’s goals. 

They go on to argue that “the emphasis must shift from hiring manager satisfaction to the organization’s perspective, and from specific, role-based skills to cross-role potential”. 

I will use my presentation at LEAP to propose new metrics that can best assess quality of hire – a range of metrics that will enable organizations to evaluate the immediate value that new employees provide as well as evidencing an employee’s potential to provide future value.  Following the presentation at LEAP I look forward to sharing those thoughts here in a future post.

Some business leaders we’ve spoken to recognize the need for a more analytical approach to hiring but are intimidated by how to get there. Defining and tracking performance doesn’t need to be a complicated, multi-year project where you start producing troves of new performance data. You often have the data you need; it just requires some hard thinking around how to utilize it.


future of work, talent acquisition, talent retention, life sciences, technology, internal mobility