The Minimum Requirement for Improving Quality of Hire

Skipping all suspense, I will just say that the minimum requirement for improving quality of hire is that the quality of the hire is measured.

As Peter Drucker said,

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Well, duh (some of you might be thinking).  I know…it seems obvious.  However, do you get any reports on how well your hires are doing?

I have been a recruiter for a long time with several companies, and to be honest – I have never been told how my hires are doing on a consistent basis.  Occasionally, I will hear about an employee that is doing stellar or how one failed miserably.  Even this is rare.

Even if I looked up every hire in the system I currently have access to, I would only see the annual rating of Exceeded Expectations, Met Expectation, and Needs Improvement.  This being the rating summary of a rather complex and lengthy annual performance review involving managers, peers, and basically 360 data.

How can we improve the recruiting process and what we are doing in trying to get top talent, if we do not have the constant feedback on how our hires are performing?  How will we know if the change or changes that we make are affecting the quality of hire or not?  Again, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

As recruiters, I think we should really be gathering our own information (in addition to the performance review), because we need to know about our specific hires in a consistent and timely fashion (yearly is too long to wait and will slow down the change we can make due to the lack of timely feedback on its effects).  However, getting this data can not be a lengthy or cumbersome process, otherwise hiring managers will not want to complete it.

In doing research, I have found that I like the simplicity and value of Deloitte’s 4 question performance review (as talked about in the Washington Post’s article in March 2015 called “What if you could replace performance evaluations with four simple ...“).  I also added 3 more questions that I think are valuable and created the below survey that the hiring manager would receive every 3 months after hiring an employee to quickly gauge quality of hire.

Does this person still work for you? 

(Yes or No)

If you had to do it all over again, would you hire this person for our company? 

(Yes or No)

Based on the current performance that you have seen the last couple months, what kind of “Player” is this person?

(A Player, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F)

Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus.

(1 – Strongly Disagree to 5 – Strongly Agree)

Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team.

(1 – Strongly Disagree to 5 – Strongly Agree)

This person is at risk for low performance.

(Yes or No)

This person is ready for promotion today.

(Yes or No)

That’s right, 4 yes/no questions and 3 multiple choice questions…no short answer or essays (no typing).  It should not take more than 5 minutes to complete.  This can be done with any free survey software, website, or mobile app.

This is a Quality of Hire Survey, be clear with the hiring managers this is not part of a performance review, will not be shared with employees, and will not be seen by anyone other than the recruiters trying to determine quality of hire.

Also, yes, I said every 3 months and I would do it beyond the first year (maybe 2 or 3 years or forever).  Not only is this key information that is important as a recruiter, but it would be interesting to see how it changes over time.

For example, it is said top performers get bored after a year or two because they master the job.  Well this would tell you if someone (who is considered a high performer) leaves after a couple years, his or her performance starts to drop, or everything stays the same.  Depending on the change, it would tell you something about the work environment and potential problems for top performers that then could be potential talking point to consult with your manager.

These results can be further divided for interesting research and data if you also have a good survey or good way to track where the hires came from (source of hire).

For example, you may get hard data that shows the best quality did come from referrals.  Then you can play with making small changes to the referral process.  Then depending on how you change the referral process you can improve the quality of hires.  Thus making incremental improvements, backed by data, to improve the process.

Likewise, I previously posted about split testing job posts.  So if you make changes to the job (text, images, etc.), instead of just looking at the number of applications and hires…now you would have the data to look into the quality of hire from the job post.  Perhaps in a rewording of the job and requirements, you can substantially increase the quality of hire.

There is a lot of power and ability potentially gained by consistent and timely reports on your quality of hire.  Now you can make changes and manage it to improve it.


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Comment by Eric Putkonen on August 20, 2015 at 8:09am

I am leaving a comment on my own post because I just read Jim D’Amico’s post on ERE called “Why You Are Not Ready To Talk About Quality Of Hire”. Read it at

He is right in that if we can remove some of the hiring manager’s opinion with KPIs, that would be better. So if you added a couple more multiple choice type questions around the candidates performance and key performance indicators (KPI)…this survey would be slightly longer and much improved. You ideally want a causal relationship of the survey to the candidate’s quantifiable performance. Opinion could be skewed.


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