Five Ugly Numbers That You Can’t Ignore – It’s Time to Calculate Hiring Failures

Tape Measure
Some numbers indicate failure so clearly that you can’t help but pay attention to them.

For a minute, assume the role of a senior executive who has just been handed a business scorecard containing performance numbers in five critical business areas. After looking at the numbers below, would the data make you cringe?

  • 70% of users are dissatisfied with the process.
  • 50% of customers regret their buying decision.
  • 46% turnover among new buyers.
  • 46% failure rate of process output selections.
  • A mere 19% are unequivocal successes (less than 1:5).

It’s Time to Face the Numbers and Facts…

Almost any senior executive would be alarmed upon learning that users were dissatisfied, failure rates approached 50%, and a significant percentage of your customers regretted their decisions.

Obviously, if the numbers listed above came from an important profit-impact function (supply chain, finance, customer satisfaction), everyone would be screaming for a complete rethinking of the entire process.

Unfortunately, the above metrics represent failure in the recruiting and retention elements of the talent management function. I have encountered no other business function that more completely avoids defining and measuring process failure than talent management.

Selection decisions are often about as accurate as a coin flip.

–The Recruiting Roundtable

Talent Management Failure Metrics Are In*

Here are more details on the five numbers provided above.

This data can be taken together as a clear indicator that we might have numerous failures in talent management:

  • 70% dissatisfied — 70% of the external customers (applicants) and 28% of the internal customers (hiring managers) indicate they are dissatisfied with the hiring process (Source:
  • 50% customer regret — 50% of the processes users (both managers and new hires) later regret their “buying” decision (Source: The Recruiting Roundtable). In addition, 25% of new hires later regret taking their new job within one year (Source: Challenger, Gray)
  • 46% turnover — 46% of new hires leave their jobs within the first year (Source: eBullpen, LLC) and 50% of current employees are actively seeking or are planning to seek a new job (Source: Deloitte).
  • 46% failure rate — 46% of U.S. new hires must be classified as failures within their first 18 months (fired, pressured to quit, required disciplinary action, etc.) (Source: Leadership IQ). In addition, 58% of the highest-priority hires, new executives hired from the outside, fail in their new position within 18 months (Source: Michael Watkins).
  • Only a 19% success rate — only one out of five of the process output can be classified as unequivocal successes (Source: Leadership IQ).

Some additional data points to consider include:

  • 66% regret hiring decisions — Nearly two-thirds of hiring managers come to regret their interview-based hiring decisions (Source: DDI)
  • 50% new executive turnover — nearly half of new executive hires quit or are fired within the first 18 months at a new employer (Source: Corporate Leadership Council).
  • Newly promoted executives don’t do much better (40% of newly promoted managers and executives fail within 18 months of starting a new job (Source: Manchester, Inc).
  • Less than 50% are qualified — a majority of managers surveyed (59%) believe that less than half of all candidates they interviewed were qualified (Source: eBullpen, LLC).
  • 65% lie on resumes — the key data source that we rely on to source and narrow down applicants contains untrue information more than half the time (Source: The Risk Advisory Group )
  • Resume-sorting failures — Of all the “perfect resumes” sent out by mystery shopper candidates, only 12% were actually scheduled for interviews (Source: Hodes’ Healthcare).
  • Bottom performers produce less — hiring and retaining below or even average performers have real opportunity costs because top performers can increase productivity, revenue, and profit by between 40% and 67% over average performers (Source: McKinsey & Co.).

* Note: I have purposely chosen publicly available sources that cite these research results. To find the material, you may use a simple Google search, but please don’t contact me for detailed references.

The samples in each case varied, but what if they were an indication of how poorly your organization’s talent-management function was performing?

Only 30% of organizations measure quality of hire, and only a handful specifically define and measure recruiting process failure. It’s time to adopt a business process management approach; start to measure successes and failures in the same way that other business processes already do.

Article Continues Below

Plan B, of course, is to ignore this warning and to continue to assume that existing processes are either error-free or on par with the Six Sigma standards of production, quality control, and customer service.

My Goal Is to Get You to Pay Attention

You can conjure up arguments about the validity of the research done by outside consulting firms, but that’s not the point. The key learning is to take a moment and ask yourself these key questions:

  1. Have you clearly defined what “hiring failure” is? What failure rate is acceptable?
  2. Can a process be properly designed so that so many that are involved in it do not have remorse or regrets about their decisions?
  3. Is it ever acceptable to have a process where the dissatisfaction rates exceed 25%?
  4. Has the time finally come where you bite the bullet and calculate the quality of hire, failure rates, and the ROI of your function?
  5. Is it time to move beyond simply calculating output metrics (i.e., 22% are dissatisfied) and in addition to begin to use metrics to identify why your failures occur?

After viewing these research numbers, I hope you’ll agree it is time to rethink most talent management processes and metrics.

Do not concern yourself with the accuracy of any particular external study; their primary value is simply to stimulate you to do your own research within your own firm to find out if these problems and failures identified by others are currently occurring.

Action Steps to Consider

There are a handful of firms (DaVita quickly comes to mind) that have adopted a business process approach to their recruiting function where they clearly define and target failure.

If you’re interested in adopting this approach, here are some action steps to consider.

  • Clearly define failure — include top candidates you failed to identify or attract; top candidates who dropped out early; the quality of candidates you didn’t hire; offer turndowns; good hires but bad initial placements; poor-performing new hires; legal costs; delayed time to initial productivity; dissatisfied or disillusioned candidates; frustrated hiring managers; and early turnover among new hires.
  • Adopt a business process management approach — work with experts in supply chain, CRM, Six Sigma, etc., to learn about business process improvement tools and approaches.
  • Shift to data-based decision-making — shift away from the approach where you assume that things are working; instead, rely on hard data to meet decisions and to continually improve every key process.
  • Mystery shoppers — use mystery shoppers to identify process problems.
  • Change your assessment approach — a significant portion of recruiting process errors occur because of an over-reliance on subjective tools like interviewing. A superior approach is to increase the use of validated skill assessment tools and to ask candidates to solve real problems.
  • Conduct failure analysis — whenever you have a major process failure, use a failure analysis/root-cause identification approach to move beyond symptoms and to identify the real underlying causes of the failure.
  • Assume failure — even when the process is made more objective, there will still be significant number of failures. Accept that fact and develop a process that allows you to identify those failures early and to minimize your losses.
  • Calculate the cost of each error — work with the CFO’s office to calculate the costs and the business impacts of all major errors.
  • Assume that all sub- processes are suspect — assume that bad hiring decisions are a result of poor design features in a multitude of sub-processes including job descriptions, resume sorting, interviews, reference checking, hiring manager monitoring, and onboarding.

Final Thoughts

Throughout my career, whenever I have had the opportunity, I ask recruiting and talent management leaders a simple, straightforward question:

If you hired 100 people, what percentage would turn out to be failures?

Not surprisingly, 99% of the time all I get in return is a blank look. In direct contrast, if I ask the same question on failure rates to those who lead other business functions like supply chain, production, sales, customer service center, etc., I get an immediate numerical response coupled with the costs associated with each increased percentage point of errors. It is my hope that the data referenced in this article will cause you to increase your focus on identifying failures and failure rates in each of your major sub-processes.

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website and on He lives in Pacifica, California.



32 Comments on “Five Ugly Numbers That You Can’t Ignore – It’s Time to Calculate Hiring Failures

  1. These persistent failure rates are exactly why we felt compelled to come out with our new book “Onboarding – How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time”. (Bradt and Vonnegut, Wiley, 2009)

    Our core premise is that things work better when all onboarding efforts across talent acquisition, accommodation, assimilation and acceleration point in the same direction, integrated into one Total Onboarding Program (TOP).

    There are some new ideas in this book – some that some recruiters are definitely not going to like. But they’ve got to like the idea of lowering these failure rates.

    Readers can download an executive summary (and click through to order the book) at

    George Bradt – PrimeGenesis Executive Onboarding and Transition Acceleration

  2. Dr. Sullivan, outstanding article. The following, in my opinion, is the critical recommendation:

    “Shift to data-based decision-making — shift away from the approach where you assume that things are working; instead, rely on hard data to meet decisions and to continually improve every key process.”

    Our market MUST adopt data-based decision making. Further, the way we capture that data (at given trigger points) MUST be insulated from ‘gaming of the system’ (i.e. post-hire surveys). For example, if we can define failure (or success, and levels in between), we can have technology do the assessment/rating piece for us. I’m not saying there won’t be kinks, but this will prevent (to a degree) gaming of the feedback so as to earn a ‘favor’ down the road (i.e. “I’ll rate you highly on this post-hire survey, Mr. Recruiter, if you promise to work on my positions first in the future.”)

    It is going to take influencers like yourself to convince VPs and Directors that technologies and apps-du-jour are nice (i.e. sourcing applications, iPhone apps to contact applicants quickly, etc.) . . . however these apps, in many cases, have no true business impact. Sure, maybe a sourcing app reduces your overall TTH, but does it necessarily increase QOH? Probably not as QOH is all too often not a KPI of the typical Line Recruiter.

    Earning a “seat at the table” should be due to the fact that you speak to business impact and earnings (or share-price, etc.) impact of hiring decisions and strategies. If this happens (meaning outside of a few F500 firms), I believe we’ll see more data-based decision making apps and add-ons (to enterprise TMS’) replace the hyped-up (yet business-impact-empty) solutions we see salivated over today.

    P.S. Again, great article.

  3. WW I have to post my obligatory counterpoint but I do notice an evolution in your rhetoric- I appreciate your point about assuming significant failure and I am all for a data-based approach as a key element in hiring decisions. Also great that you expanded your focus beyond assessment and into a wider view of process design/improvement.

    Here are my standard points for your convenience; the more symbolic and abstract the job role, the less effective traditional backward looking assessment. Rote jobs hired for in large numbers respond best to predictive techniques.

    However, even in jobs with highly specialized physical skillsets, factors such as local group motivation, cohesion, conflict resolution ability, and versatile management can easily overwhelm individual attributes. Two words for this phenomena: Bill Belichick.

    I don’t think that 65% of people lie on resumes- I think its more like 20%, inline the with many cross-dicipline and cross cultural studies done relating to personal honesty. I also dont think that half of interviewed candidates are not qualified (on paper that is); they may not be qualified culturally, which may speak to pervasive discrimination and sorting on various levels that may or may not improve business outcomes.

    Yes you would expect high executive turnover and a large proportion of failed executive appointments as those roles are often symbolic, abstract, and more highly subject to external performance factors beyond the organization’s control.

    Pre-hire assessment for those roles needs to be rethought in terms of group dynamics and external conditions; innovation and efficiency are often in tension as one example, but there are many others; growth v. profitability is the classic case.

    I will never tire of this conversation…… although I certainly expect that others will 😉

  4. The author certainly succeeds in giving the reading community plenty to think about. He is to be commended for putting forth information which, good Lord willing, could play some small part in helping to further the standing of the Recruiting profession.

    While I agree that the Recruiting profession tends to be it’s own worst enemy, especially in regard to being able to talk with business executives in terms those executives appreciate, the bulk of this article strikes me as yet another version of the old “it’s all Recruiting’s fault” blame game played by others responsible for the actual “failures”.

    The survey results represent various sides of the overall story – from every perspective except Recruiting’s. Where are the survey results from asking Recruiters (the experts actually doing the work) “how satisfied are you with the final hiring decisions your hiring managers make?” or “how often do your hiring managers make the hiring choice that really is best for the company?” etc..?

    The author encourages us to “clearly define failure”. This is a fair and appropriate thing to do. However, the examples of failures listed are all seem to be focused on Recruiting and fall woefully short of telling the full story of “failure”. If we’re going to define “failure”, then doing so with a pre-conceived mindset that it’s all Recruiting’s fault isn’t doing anything but setting the entire organization up for yet another “failure”.

    I guess I must be the exception because I’ve never worked for or with any company that had anywhere near the 46% failure rate stated above for US new hires. Is that for non-exempt manual labor, but it seems way too high for exempt professionals.

    In closing, stating that “Unfortunately, the above metrics represent failure in the recruiting and retention elements of the talent management function.” is simply preposterous. Limiting employee “failures” to functions within the Talent Management arena is to bury one’s head in the sand to the myriad of other factors (beyond the control of Talent Management) which contribute to the types of “failures” listed above.

    Should the whole process be better run and measured – absolutely! But, if the full gamut of accountable parties and factors isn’t included, it’s just another exercise in making Recruiting out to be the whipping boy.

    It’s ALL Recruiting’s fault? I don’t think so!

  5. As a headhunter on my 30th year I am proud to say that as far as the 350 people I placed I had the opposite numbers where as 95% of my people stayed and the reason I know this is because I only received half a dozen falloff correspondances back to me. Perhaps placing people in the medical tech field had a lot to do with it as well as many engineers most likely thee most solid of citizens .

    Ed Bertolas

  6. Thank you for the article Dr. Sullivan, and thank you for your comments everyone.
    If you wish to find out if an organization is working, ask the people who are actually doing the work. Likewise, if you want to fix a situation that isn’t working, give those same people the resources and authority to make changes and ask them to fix it. You should begin by going bottom up and inside the organization, as opposed to top down and outside.


    Keith Halperin

  7. Ed, hi – your comment wasn’t failing to show up because of any dislike of it. It simply had fallen temporarily into a spam folder. I usually check that folder 2-3 times daily but had fallen a tad behind on it today. Anyhow, I “un-spammed” your original comment (that begins “As a headhunter on my 30th year…”) and it’s now up. Todd

  8. There are a number of factors that contribute to these statistics:

    1.) Poorly defined Corporate interview process
    2.) Poorly defined roles in companies that use concensus decision making.
    3.) Internal referral programs. Commonly called the friends and family program which by the way, is way too prevalent at C-Level and board level positions in corporations.
    4.) Extensive use, or overuse of social networking as a primary recruiting tool. Based upon metrics I have been following, the top producers in industry have little, if any web presence, most individuals who use social networking do not have complete profiles filled out and for website analytics, people spend less than 2 minutes on websites. Although there are some superstars that can be gleaned off of social networking sites and job boards, the majority of people that use these sites were laid off from their most recent employers. This probably contributes to the poor satisfaction rates of newer employers. Social networking sites were never set up to be recruiting tools. There is potential litigation for companies and recruiters who only use social networking sites as their primary recuiting tools, not only from an EEOC issue, but from a documentation issue as well( Workforce article). Ask yourself these question when recruiting: When was the last time a company laid off their top 100 producers? What are these companies doing to retain these top 100 producers? What characteristics do these people have that companies should be looking at in their new hires to increase the probability of success?
    5.) Too many point and click recuiters(?). I prefer to use the term, internet sourcers. Poorly trained recruiters add no value to the companies they work for,nor the companies they work with. I would state that in today’s marketplace, if the telephone were the only method of recruiting in , the number of recruiters would be a fraction of the people in the marketplace today.
    6. Most companies and recruiters can’t sell their opportunity.
    7. Most ompanies do not invest in training, or mentoring their people, or in succession managment programs.
    8. There is a new thought process in the marketplace that determines the ROI involved in recruiting. It removes the role from an administrative function to a separate P&L responsibility that reports directly to the President of the company.
    9. Companies not willing to invest in their most important asset – the people who work there.

    I am sure others could add to this list, but these may be good places to start to make our profession more effective and more respected in the marketplace.

  9. David, the only metric I can see that necessarily blames Recruiting is, “70% dissatisfied — 70% of the external customers (applicants) and 28% of the internal customers (hiring managers) indicate they are dissatisfied with the hiring process (Source:”

    While I can’t speak for Dr. Sullivan, I don’t believe his intent was to point a finger at Recruiting. It was to suggest that perhaps Recruiting would benefit by taking a longer-term view of the business impact the Talent Management function plays. That being said (and to Martin’s point), there are many positions where the pivotal success factors are intangibles that can’t be tested unless under extreme or real-life situations (i.e. which is surely not a typical interview or virtual simulation). Examples to go along with Martin’s reference to Bill Belichick might include a Marine Sergeant finding his team taking hostile fire in Iraq, a Weather Correspondent suddenly finding themselves trying to report a Category-5 hurricane with limited shelter, an Executive who finds his IP stolen or brand pirated while his organization is bleeding market share daily, etc.)

    Ultimately, I’m suggesting that predicting success is not easy. It’s a big reason that Exec Recruiters (like me) ask for our fees paid on day 1, not day 60, as we have little to no control over the circumstances and condition in which our newly placed candidate will operate (within reason, we can attempt to control circumstances, yet for the most part, we can’t.) We earn our fee by placing our Client in a highly competitive position of selection for the top level talent in the marketplace (and/or the top level of talent willing to consider their offering range.)

    And while it’s not easy to do what Dr. Sullivan suggests, should Recruiting and Talent Management run away because we think “someone is trying to point the finger at us?” Doing so wouldn’t change anything (i.e. “more of the same”) and there is definitely room for all functions to work together better from a business-impact perspective.

    P.S. You really let me have it personally with a comment of mine a few weeks ago, so this response here is, by no means, any form of ‘tit for tat’. In fact, we’re not very far off in agreement – it takes all functions to negotiate this challenge, not just ours.

  10. Josh, never any problem with you responding to something I post! However, I’m not sure your reply is comparing apples to apples.

    My comment about the author giving examples of definitions of failure which were limited to Recruiting is in the 4th paragraph of my initial post. It refers to the author’s wording of his 1st bullet point in his “Action Steps To Consider” section and my comment has nothing to do with the survey data you referenced in your reply.

    You attempt to support your contention that the author was not pointing fingers at Recruiting by saying you think his bullet point about the 70% dissatisfaction was the only one that blames Recruiting. In that the bullet point you reference is the very first one in his list (of 12!) under the heading of “Talent Management Failure Metrics Are In”, I’m not clear on how one could conclude that that is the only one that is negative towards Recruiting? Especially because that section of TM Failure Metrics follows a paragraph which contains the line “Unfortunately, the above metrics represent failure in the recruiting and retention elements of the talent management function.”

    Frankly, I’m fine with pointing fingers at Talent Management – it just shouldn’t be done (as the author did) to the exclusion of other (even more) culpable parties.

  11. With today’s economy and unemployment rates, more candidates are applying for every open position. I’ve read stories of companies who have posted a position online and within minutes have thousands of prospective candidates.

    The situation is ripe with potential lawsuits from candidates who feel they are treated unfairly. It’s critical in today’s world to ensure that candidates feel that all applicants are treated the same. If you impress candidates (meeting their personal needs) and have a good interview process (meeting the practical needs to get information from candidates and share information about the job/organization), “fairness” is less likely to be an issue. While we may not have the war for talent as in years past, high-quality candidates may still be considering many offers. Research by DDI and Monster reveals that 91 percent of job seekers say their perception of the interviewer affects their decision to accept a job offer (1 in 3 say it significantly affects it).

    In addition, negative perceptions can multiply—how many of you have come out of an unprofessional interview experience and warned your friends to stay away? Plus, you don’t know when a candidate today could turn into a customer tomorrow. That’s why in today’s highly litigious environment, we can’t relay on manager’s using their gut instincts to make hiring decisions.

    The interview remains the key decision making tool not only for bringing new people into the organization but for promotion, special assignments, job rotations, and success planning.

    Kelli Buczynski
    Development Dimensions International (DDI)

  12. Very good article, and some really passionate responses…I love it!

    I can really see David Lynn’s point about how many angles this could have been viewed in, but I also received from excellent insights from the article itself…this will take me into some new directions as I continue to strive to build the perfect recruiting machine. My take is, hiring is an organizational capability, and should be measured as one. To acheive this capability, you need to have the right combination of engaged and talented people (Recruiters AND Hiring Managers), consistent and repeatable processes, effective tools and driving leadership to create the desired organizational results…in this case Quaility Hires. Too many times I see metrics aimed only at the Recruiting Org and Team, rarely the Companies collective organizational capability, and never the Hiring Manager effectiveness. Very stimulating artilce!!

  13. IMSM, managers are usually evaluated for deliverables such as a quality product/service which is on-time, within budget, and without excuses. IMHO, staffing should be a managerial deliverable, too.



  14. I just read the article again and find the numbers staggering. With all the money and people focused on the issue, for so long, you’d think this problem would have been nailed by now! I completely agree on a supply chain like analogy and agree that it would do the recruiting domain good to review process and sub process failure rates and trends. My favorite is the SER, or the Submittal Efficiency Ratio. Measures the failure of submittals to number of invites to interview. This metric should be shared with Hiring Managers and Recruiters, IMHO (lol).

  15. Staffing as Process

    John, thanks for kicking up a storm of opinions in the measurement of staffing process yields. The metrics speak to the fact that most businesses still do not embrace talent acquisition as a process with inputs (candidates and candidate data), value-add components (descriptions, comparisons, evaluations) and yields (quits, terminations, performance variation). Companies with a process mindset, create measurements and process improvement initiatives. Firms who have embraced six sigma, or similar evidence-based decision making have learned that decisions driven largely by opinion are more prone to greater variation, or less predictable results.

    Recruiters making decisions largely based upon their expert opinion, leave a lot on the table when it comes to driving business results. A client that recently implemented an evidence-based candidate evaluation (local validation), was able to report a 89% reduction in 30 day new hire separation in one position and a 69% reduction in another. These dramatic improvements highlight the variation in yield of expert opinion based hiring decisions as well as provide a documentation of return on investment from process improvement initiatives.

    Thirty day separations would be viewed as waste in a manufacturing analogy: Raw goods that never became finished goods. In staffing process that equates to new hires that never even achieve proficiency.

    Waste creates rework. Rework doubles the time and cost of talent in a staffing process. Ouch!

    Companies implement different processes for filling various positions. As such, macro-level staffing metrics can be misleading. Averages obscure the visibility to both the best and worst performing staffing outcomes. I advocate reporting at the job level. Companies report productivity at the product level, or line level. Staffing process yields should be measures with similar care.

    Write me for a white paper: Staffing Waste: Identify it, Measure it, Reduce it. It will invite you to rethink some of your staffing metrics and maybe even your staffing process.

    Joseph P. Murphy
    Shaker Consulting Group
    Developers of the Virtual Job Tryout®

  16. I appreciate all discussion on Talent Management Metrics… and this was very enlightening. For all the years and all the discussions on what metrics we should or should not use, as Dr. Richard Beatty of Rutgers University says, we have to stop playing “Metrics Jeopardy”. Thats when we (in recruiting) have the answers and go looking for the questions. This is a powerful thought… what are the questions the business wants our metrics to answer? If I took every article, book, and discussion on recruiting metrics, I would have a basket of metrics that would take my organization many staff people to manage. But, in the end… we should only measure and provide the answers to questions the business wants our metrics to answer. The trick is sometimes, we need to help them out with understanding what we can offer and provide suggestions.

    Jeremy Eskenazi
    Managing Principal
    Riviera Advisors, Inc.

  17. Well put, Jeremy. An important thing to consider is the value of the metric vs. the cost in time and other resources necessary to acquire and calculate it. Metrics should not be required merely because they can be calculated- they need to be justified as a cost. A rule of thumb is that no more than 5% of a recruiter’s time should be spent documenting, measuring, and justifying what s/he does the other 95% of the time, which (IMHO) should be to quickly and affordably put quality butts in chairs. Other activities such as gathering metrics, building brand, increasing retention, and improving the quality of hires (aka, “dealing with hiring managers unwilling to accept responsibility for their poor choices, lack of judgment, or inability to hire”) are beyond the scope of a typical recruiter’s duties. However, they seem like excellent duties to outsource or to bring in a Staffing Consultant like Dr. Sullivan.



  18. Keith, are you suggesting the following should be outsourced?:

    “… improving the quality of hires (aka, ‘dealing with hiring managers unwilling to accept responsibility for their poor choices, lack of judgment, or inability to hire’) are beyond the scope of a typical recruiter’s duties.”

    IMHO, outsource accountability for QOH and you are now on a very slippery slope. Why? Because you can always point a finger at ‘the consultant’, aka statements like “That’s the consultants fault.” and “I don’t know – that’s not my job. Call the consultant.”

    Another IMHO, if the level of mutual respect is raised with the Hiring Manages, these concerns can be better breached (albeit with kid gloves and no criticism). I may be incorrect, but some of the best Internal (and External) Recruiters I’ve ever met have had the intangible qualities that lead to the breaking down of the walls you describe.

    I’m with you on the over-analyzing and over-obsession with metrics that results in measuring the wrong things. However, I still believe in data collection (hopefully automated data collection that doesn’t involve any further data entry) because “what gets measured gets done.” Caveat Emptor, however, the challenge is measuring the right things or you have a mountain of meaningless metrics, right?

  19. John, thanks for the thought provoking article.

    Scott is right on. Talent acquisition is an organizational capability and should be treated as one. It is easier said that done and requires cross-functional collaboration at many levels, and investments. This is precisely what makes it challenging. Developing this organizational capability is a serious undertaking and requires strong leadership and executive buy-in.

    I suspect most large companies have defined processes around talent acquisition (at least on paper) and tons of data and metrics. But do they have a true capability around the hiring process? Process non-compliance, unreliable data, irrelevant metrics, and above all an inability to use the data effectively are not all that uncommon.

    Vikram Gundoju

  20. I tend to take a somewhat different perspective on this issue. While I agree with some of statements, I think it is too simplistic to call all of these issues “hiring failures”–especially with regard to turnover. From my perspective I find it difficult to call a top performing candidate a “hiring failure” when the issue may lie in the on-boarding process, a re-org, lack of leadership, etc. When companies are undergoing change, turmoil, high growth etc., and responsibilities become blurred, employee dissatisfaction becomes high and the result is turnover. I believe process is important, but getting too focused on hiring in terms of only process and metrics is not necessarily productive–especially if one is not looking at the whole company and considering other factors that may be having an impact.

  21. John,

    Your comments further clarify and substantiate why companies like ours are in business. I had this same conversation with an Angel yesterday with regards to companies thinking that 15-20% A Players is success rather than mediocrity.

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