Are We Ready for a Quality of Hiring Manager Metric?

When will we have more robust talent acquisition metrics which give a more end-to-end view of talent acquisition and all of the stakeholders? Today, we just have a quality-of-candidate set of metrics. What if we have a suite of quality metrics which spanned the process and all of the key stakeholders? The metrics could include the quality of: candidate, hire, hiring manager, recruiter, and process.

You see, quality metrics (something I’m talking about in Atlanta in October) in talent acquisition are still in their infancy. For the most part, companies measure quality of hire by 60 or 90 terminations, candidate slate metrics, or surveys. What if we turned these metrics on their head, and measured quality throughout the process? Rather than focusing on quality of hire, we could focus on quality of the hiring process. This would render quality of hire one of the output metrics, as opposed to an input metric.

Talent acquisition teams tend to focus on only the outputs. The quality of hire, in this case, is an output metric. It’s the thing that a system, which is the culmination of people, process, and technology, ultimately produces. The reality is that you really do not control the quality of hire. The process and all of the participants control the quality of hires the system produces. If you want to attract, select, and hire better quality candidates, then work on the process of attracting, selecting, and hiring better candidates. This will force you and everyone involved to have a greater stake in producing quality hires.

One of the most critical aspects to producing quality hires is …drum roll … the hiring manager. And we rarely, if ever, measure anything that the hiring manager does. All of the organizational focus is on what the recruiter is doing. We measure things like time to fill and hiring manager satisfaction. While these measures are very important, they do not tell the whole story.

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I propose we start measuring items such as:

  • Quality of interview — this would be a candidate survey measuring the quality of the interview itself.
  • Time to requisition approved by hiring manager
  • Time to schedule and complete interviews
  • Turnover by hiring manager
  • Cost to hire by hiring manager

When we start to add these critical measurements to the process, it will give us a much better idea of what is really going on to the hiring process. And this will give us much better control to improve the quality of hire.

Tom Becker is the CEO and founder of Talennium. His obsession is to transform the staffing and recruiting industry to become more data driven. With over 17 years of experience in recruiting, he has lead domestic and global teams with up to 2,200 recruiters and has successfully built a centralized recruiting function which grew to $120MM in annual revenue for COMSYS/ManpowerGroup. In past positions, he has transformed the Bank of America careers site to the industry leader, attracting more that 14MM monthly visitors.




13 Comments on “Are We Ready for a Quality of Hiring Manager Metric?

  1. “One of the most critical aspects to producing quality hires is …drum roll… the hiring manager. And we rarely, if ever, measure anything that the hiring manager does.”

    Will never happen, certainly not at agencies. There the hiring manager is God, and woe to anyone who dares suggest that their interviewing skills are sub par, or that not giving feedback for three months isn’t perfectly okay. The reality is most agencies are bottom feeders, they know the reqs they get are from generally troubled organizations, or they would have been able to hire someone themselves, and that these orgs usually have broken hiring processes to put it kindly. Nor is it likely to happen in most companies. Maybe in less political companies, but for most the managers have a cache with their superiors, or lack thereof, that determines their assumed performance, not objective reality. And recruiting is usually nested within HR, and HR is usually the punching bag of every org, and the root of all their problems in many people’s opinions. At most it’s a tolerated cost center, whose expertise is rarely acknowledged much less called upon.

    In recruiting the hiring manager is The Customer, and in Sales! The Customer is always right. And since recruiting is dominated by Sales! people, usually of the worst sort, they generally want to keep recruiting strictly in the Sales! arena because keeps it devoid of accountability, standards, and other forms of advancement which might force them to actually perform in a measurable sense beyond getting the fee booked. Any sales manager worth his or her salt will tell you that you need to temper Sales! people with management, and with metrics and accountability, and that there’s more to every process than just Sales! But in recruiting the Sales! lunatics are running the show, bow to stern, top to bottom, inside and out. It’s one of the last few refuges for them in the modern world that has largely left them in the dust, all they have is this, used cars, mattresses, and credit card call centers these days. They won’t give it up easily.

  2. Haha, I’ve been saying this for years (as have many Talent Acquisition professionals I’m sure.) Fun to think about, but sigh, unlikely at best. Then again, if Uber can rate its customers…..

    1. Uber and their customers are generally part of a group of people who understand exchanges are mutual, and that ratings go both ways. Employers still think their employees are at their disposal, and that they are disposable, and that they should be ‘grateful’ and ‘thankful’ for being granted the inestimable privilege of working for them, and they’d better appreciate that salary which the employer is in no way obligated to pay, they’re just being nice…

      In order for hiring managers to get rated there would have to be a MASSIVE shift in how employment is approached in this country. I can see this happening in Europe, but not the US. In the US The Customer is always right, except it wasn’t always that way. There was a time, so I’ve heard, when businesses realized that a relationship is a two way street, and respect went both ways or it wasn’t a relationship. Then the Sales! people took over everything, demand everything, everything, everything, is Sales! And ever since all that’s mattered is the fee, and how ethically or unethically you get there is incidental, almost as much as the quality. How candidates were treated didn’t matter, because The Customer was always right, and The Customer decided they should wait six months for feedback, and go through forty interviews.

      That the candidate was also a customer hasn’t really occurred to anyone in recruiting until the last six months apparently, when Candidate Experience became the buzzword of the moment, and everyone was shocked to find out repeated interviews by highly unskilled people and no feedback kinda pissed people off on a fairly consistent basis. That this was surprising is understandable, up until then almost all these people thought granting an audience with them was the utmost honor that could be bestowed on a person, that candidates and employees might start to demand equal respect and treatment back as was given was truly a shock for most people, it certainly was for all the Sales! recruiters I know, who almost as if by instinct routinely expect candidates to do anything and everything the employer requests and get super pissed and annoyed when they don’t, but then flip out the second the candidate so much as asks a question.

      1. What’s important to business leaders is what drives business value. Period. Here and in Europe. If you can build the case for creating business value through the candidate experience, then it will be valued. But as long as the function of TA (and HR for that matter) remains completely untethered from business results, as long as we can’t measure activity (must less results), as long as they are order-takers, it is what it is. TA professionals who say it’s not “fair” for them to be held accountable for things beyond their control (tell that to a CEO, a P&L owner or a parent for gods sakes) are the bane of our industry.

        Until we are willing to measure the return on TA investments (it’s not that hard) – on the quality of hire over time – particularly for roles that are critical to building the most business value (think an engineer at Raytheon or a brand manager at Coke or a developer at Amazon) – then we can’t be “advisors” or “consultants”. But I *do* look forward to the day when recruiters stop saying: “Will you please complete this survey about how I did on filling this req, Mr Hiring Manager??” and instead say “While you’re completing this survey about how I did, I’m going to complete THIS survey about how YOU did.”

        For more on this line of thought…. …..

        1. The fact that so many act contrary to their business’s value belies this statement. Businesses go out of business quite often, which means people make mistakes and have access to imperfect information, which means it is absolutely possible for something to be a driver of business value and still be completely ignored or not valued by business leaders if they’re unaware of it, or convinced it’s a non issue. So it’s not as simple as stating to a business leader that treating employees like crap isn’t a good idea, especially if they’ve been taught all their lives that as ‘business leaders’ and ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘job creators’ that the world owes them something.

          “TA professionals who say it’s not “fair” for them to be held accountable for things beyond their control (tell that to a CEO, a P&L owner or a parent for gods sakes) are the bane of our industry.”

          The subject of this post is hiring managers, not TA people, and it is the typical Sales! response to just blab about ‘closing’ or other such nonsense and not address reality. If you want TA people to have accountability, then they need more control and say over the process. If hiring managers are the final decision makers, and you’ve delivered quality people and they’ve just been too busy trying to jam their own heads up their rear ends to make a decision, you either need the authority to force a decision or the backing of someone who can, or the process will stall through no fault of your own.

          I have no problem being rated myself, at my last job I welcomed it, and when it blew up in almost every hiring manager’s face they weren’t happy. But, that’s when I finally got some backing from someone in the company management to hold the hiring managers accountable, and wouldn’t you know it, as if by magic, times to hire started going down and quality of hire all of a sudden started going up. It was a miracle.

          You want reciprocal ratings, and that’s good, but that implies responsibility for the end result of the process does not lay in the hands of one individual. The reality is that most incentives for hiring managers align against making a hire. People are flexible, so the consequences of an overworked team aren’t instant, however the consequences of a bad hire usually are. There are usually no immediate or obvious rewards for a good hire, and just leaving a position open interminably and claiming you haven’t seen any good people is usually just taken at face value as being true with zero consequences. So, who in their right mind is going to make that hire unless they absolutely have to?

          I welcomed my ratings because I knew I could move them in the right direction. But I was held responsible for what I could do, nothing else. If I was held ultimately responsible for all hires and timelines with no reciprocal accountability from HMs and no authority to drive the process, I would have failed. The reason I succeeded is because basically 100% of stalls in the process ended up on their heads, and instead of someone telling me to push harder or work harder or Sell! harder, someone finally pulled their nuts out of the owner’s purse and went to his precious and favored hiring managers and told them they’d better get their acts together, because they were being held responsible for their own screw ups from now on.

          And, as mentioned, as if by magic, the process improved…

  3. I agree 100%, and google has long accomplished this. You reach a ceiling if you cannot interview, assess, and bring in great talent at Google, and everyone is aware of this. They (HR) offer training and help for those that struggle, and upskill them if they have issues.

    I would expand your metric to quality of interviewer, not just quality of hiring manager. Most companies hire in committees these days, with something like an average of at least 3 stakeholders for each role (of course lower levels like cashier might only have assistant store manager, so it depends on role scarcity and criticality).

    The best recruiter at google, according to their own data, is an engineer who has never worked in HR.

    Imagine that.

    In order to do any of this, they (google) had to build their own system, because the market offered not a single piece of software that they believed their managers would use. And with your background Tom, I”m sure you would agree that there hasn’t been anything out there that managers would touch.

    In today’s world, the interactions have to happen on the phone – it is a non negotiable. Ask yourself two questions:

    1) When is the last time you checked your email on your phone while sitting in front of your computer?
    2) When is the last time you mapped a location on your phone while sitting in the driver’s seat of your car that has GPS integrated and installed?

    The reason we do this is because our phones have leaner, simpler, more intuitive processes. If we give managers this capability, then they will use the system. If they use the system, we can measure them.

    Until then, all of the manager and interviewer data lies in spreadsheets, email, sharepoint, word docs, or nowhere at all. I don’t think a survey is enough, I think there are underlying data points (as google has found) that need to be systematized in order to be measured.

    Otherwise, you end up with hearsay, anecdotes, and qualitative data when you could have had quantitative data.

    In our platform, ratings of candidates are exactly like Uber, and everyone gets to rate (recruiter, manager, interviewer, etc). That rating (like amazon, google, and others) stays with the person through time, until it is updated or changed for a new position.

    1. What platform are you speaking of, I’d definitely be interested in checking it out. Any regular reader of my comments knows I think there’s a root problem driving such things, but I’m always interested in ways tech can improve things.

      One article I recall reading recently noted the vast chasm between sales oriented CRMs and ATS systems, and the author was right, and the vast difference between the two types of systems and how they’ve developed, I think, belies the ‘recruiting is sales’ claims, because if recruiting were sales, then candidates would be treated as customers. They’re not, they’re treated as cannon fodder, by and large, to be tracked and categorized.

      1. I would love to see the article! I wrote one myself on a similar topic. My basic stance on systems is this: If people use them you have data you can manage. If people do not then they are nothing but a glorified spreadsheet.

        Collaboration amongst users and insights that work for you are what really drive productivity. We all talk big data, big data, big data – but what does all the data mean? Marketing systems use big data in real time to make real time bids and decisions that humans can’t possibly make. That is big data that drives outcomes.

        Find me here to see system if you’d like:

  4. Sorry if already mentioned somewhere in all this.
    Who is going to set standards and be benchmarks and against what. Is this at all ‘measureable’ is the subject not far too subjective and multifacetted to ever reach a common understanding and denominator?

    1. Having done this before, the best thing to do initially is just benchmark yourself and only track objective measurements, things like time to hire, time for feedback on resumes and interviews, and time to schedule interview, etc. HMs tend to throw monkey wrenches into the process in those spots; they delay feedback or make it impossible to set up an interview. You can set up a simple binary quality of hire metric for both HMs and recruiters with a 30, 60, 90 day review process which just gives a Keep or Cut decision. On a company level you can at least get some improvement in those markers. On a macro level as to what really needs to be tracked, and more importantly what is actually predictive of good hiring, so you can track and improve that, who honestly knows. The blunt truth is few if any companies value their employees enough to bother investigating the question.

  5. I’m with you! I’d go a bit further, too. A true QoH metric needs to be measured over time (our view: at least two years after selection) and ultimately will reflect the quality of the recruiting process, the selection decision, the manager’s effectiveness at onboarding, engaging, etc. What we’re *tracking* is different than what we’re holding people accountable for (in QoH, there are many stakeholders who should have skin in the game – certainly not just TA as you say.)

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