It’s Embarrassing: Every Business Function Measures Quality, Except Recruiting

quality

Recruiting Is Literally the Last Function to Measure It’s Output Quality

Quality is such an easy-to-understand thing. It is an improvement in performance above and beyond the ordinary. Since the 1980s, every internal corporate business function has found a way to measure the quality of its outputs, whether they are products or services. There is no debate among corporate executives and managers in other functions about the need to measure output quality, because their customers and partners demand quality. And in many cases, government regulations even require that the quality of the output be measured. The sole remaining functional corporate holdout that has resisted measuring output quality is HR. And the worst offender within HR is recruiting, which is the focus of this article (and features prominently in ERE’s fall conference).

Other business functions from production, customer service, supply chain, and even maintenance have found a way to both define and then measure the performance of their provided services. Most business functions have even gone so far as to measure quality at a Six Sigma level, which is an astonishing low 3.4 errors per 1 million actions. With Six Sigma being the gold standard, if recruiting did measure quality, it appears that it would only reach a painfully low 1.6 Sigma level (One study reveals the hiring failure rate within 18 months to be 46 out of 100 hires, and another found that 50 percent of hourly hires will quit or be fired within six months).

It is simply unprofessional to assume that your function is automatically producing a quality output without actually measuring it. Only 58 percent of recruiting departments report measuring quality of hire, but when you look closely, less than half of those actually measure new hire performance on the job (the No. 1 quality factor that must be measured). In a world where “quality is job No.1,” recruiting is unemployed!

There are three essential reasons why you must measure the performance of your new hires. They are: 

Reason 1 – The Performance Improvement of Hires Reveals Your Business Impact

The output goal of recruiting should be to increase new-hire on-the-job performance by a measurable percentage. By proving that new hires perform at a rate of say 5 to 10 percent higher (compared to last year’s hires), recruiting can then easily calculate its total yearly revenue impact in dollars.

At a company like Apple, a mere 10 percent improvement in the performance of a single new hire generates an extra $229,000 in revenue each year (just multiply its average yearly revenue per employee of $2.29 million by 10 percent). For 100 new hires, that’s an extra $22 million that would be generated and nearly $230 million added with only 1,000 better-performing hires in a year. No matter how high your “cost per hire” amount is, recruiting better performing hires has a helluva ROI! And improving new-hire performance is thus a good supporting argument for requesting more budget. 

You can’t improve what you don’t measure, and generally whatever you measure improves – a HP motto 

Reason 2 — You Can Improve a Process Without Measuring the Quality of Your Output

The second essential reason for measuring your quality of hire is that it allows you to continually improve the process that generates that output. Any continuous improvement process expert (i.e. Kaizen) will tell you that the only way to “validate” each of your process components is by finding out the common factors that were present when a high-quality product was produced and which were absent when a lower-quality output was produced. Obviously without a measure of output quality, you can’t identify the “root causes” that hinder process performance.

In recruiting, that means (and often it’s a legal requirement) that you validate critical process elements including your hiring criteria, the best sources, accurate candidate screening processes, hiring manager performance, the best interviewers, and offer closing process. Fortunately with a quality measure as a benchmark, simple statistical methods can reveal which process elements make the largest contribution to success (hiring above average performers). Unfortunately, firms never seem to ever find the time to validate each of the components of its hiring process. The one exception, Google, in its validation effort showed that its well-established screening criteria like grades and unstructured interviews simply didn’t make any contribution to producing higher-quality hires. Simply put, if you don’t identify what process components have an actual impact on output quality, you’ll never know which process components accurately predict on-the-job success.

“Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten” – Motto of Gucci 

Reason 3 — Being a Data-driven Function Adds to Your Ability to Influence Managers

Once again lagging behind all other business functions, many recruiting functions have recently begun moving in earnest toward an approach where all decisions are based on data. This approach is more impactful because executives and managers love numbers, so using and presenting numbers makes recruiting more credible and businesslike. Because the No. 1 contributor to hiring success is the recruiter’s relationship with their hiring managers, being able to influence them is critical. As Google puts it, “The best thing about using data to influence managers … is that it’s hard for them to contest it. For most people, just knowing that information … causes them to change their conduct.”

A Simple Quality of Hire Measure That Anyone Can Implement

If you’re looking for a quality of hire measure that takes little time, money, and statistical expertise, consider this four step simple model.

  1. Survey hiring managers on new-hire performance — in an electronic survey, simply ask each hiring manager to provide their performance assessment of their recent new hire. Ask them at time of hire, at 6 months, and at 12 months, to simply rate each new hire on a 1-10 performance scale, where five is the average on-the-job performance for a new hire in their job family and 10 is an exceptional performer. Sometimes the “would you rehire?” question is the least painful way to judge new hire performance. So consider an alternative approach, which is to ask a simple, “would you re-hire them?” question to their hiring managers (where one means you definitely wouldn’t re-hire them based on their performance, five means you would probably re-hire them, and a 10 rating means a definite re-hire decision with no hesitation). If you want to get even more sophisticated, you can use the new hire’s performance appraisal score, individual new-hire error rates as a representation of their on-the-job performance. The gold standard, of course, is to use individual performance data that covers volume and quality.
  2. Did they quit? — after 1, 6, and 12 months, check the voluntary turnover of new hires and compare that turnover rate with last year’s (from within the same job family).
  3. Were they fired? — check to see if the new hire was forced out or was fired within 12 months. And compare the firing rate results from last year (from within the same job family).
  4. Now determine what predicts performance and what doesn’t — once you have established that you have top-performing hires in each job family, you can then go back and statistically identify which of the hiring process components (selection criteria, sources, hiring managers, interview questions, etc.) that the top-performing hires had in common and that the poor performing hires did not. Obviously you would want to reuse the factors that best predicted new-hire performance and fix or abandon the ones that didn’t predict on-the-job success.

Facetious Arguments Covering Why Recruiting Can’t Measure Quality Of Hire

If you listen to people who claim to be experts in recruiting, from the arguments that they present, you would think that measuring output quality was an insurmountable obstacle. Obviously experts like JD Power and Consumer Reports would disagree because they have somehow found a way to measure product quality and even service quality in areas that are much more complex than recruiting. Below you’ll find some of the most common arguments against measuring the performance of new hires, and why each one doesn’t hold water.

  • We can’t define quality — it’s ridiculous for professionals running any modern business process to publicly state that they can’t define what a quality output is. Much more complex processes including production, supply chain, aircraft maintenance, and even medical processes have found a way to define a superior process output. Yes, there are multiple aspects of quality to consider in recruiting. But if you focus on newhire on-the-job performance, there are only three basic ones to worry about: 1) on-the-job performance; 2) retention; and 3) hires who must be terminated. And none of these rise to the level of difficulty that couldn’t be easily defined by a black-belt quality control expert.
  • Measuring quality is too time-consuming & expensive — the argument that it’s too difficult and time-consuming to calculate quality is another specious argument for a mission-critical process that continually supplies the organization with its lifeblood of talent. I can cite dozens of cases where a single “Homer Simpson bad hire” cost their firm millions and just as many where a single innovator hire (i.e. Tony Fadell at Apple) literally made the firm billions. A corporate hero, Steve Jobs, found that a top-quality hire produced 25 times more than an average hire, so, yes, the quality of hire matters. Even for a single mid-level hire, the company will likely invest over $100,000 in their first year’s salary, training, and hiring costs. So it makes no sense not to measure whether that significant new-hire investment produced an employee who met or exceeded performance expectations. Recruiting leaders somehow find the time to measure the cost of hire (an insignificant but still complicated success measure), but they never get around to calculating the measure with the highest potential impact, the quality of hire.
  • We don’t have total control — recruiting doesn’t have total control over hiring, but it does design and own the hiring process. And as a process owner in the corporate world, the owner is held responsible for measuring the output quality of the process. Most other corporate processes also rely heavily on managers to execute it, but most process owners long ago realized that “you can’t blame your customer” for bad process results.
  • HR professionals simply aren’t good with numbers — that may be the most accurate counterargument, but unfortunately, it’s still not a good one. In a business world dominated by numbers and dollars, you simply shouldn’t have anyone on your HR team who doesn’t understand metrics in general but measures of quality in particular. The level of metrics that you need for measuring quality of hire is so basic that you might only need the help of a single Six Sigma or quality control expert to measure the performance of your new hires. And those experts probably already work at your firm in the production or quality control areas.
  • The raters of quality are subjective — ratings made by people are subjective, and as a result, they do vary. However, every other business function has found a way to identify and account for some degree of human variation. In recruiting there are of course statistical ways for “normalizing” subjective hiring manager and candidate judgments. After on-the-job performance, the two key remaining new-hire factors are retention and firing rates, which are not subjective. And finally there is a way to avoid most subjectivity related to measuring performance if you start off with the jobs that are already quantifiably measured every day. Those already quantified jobs include sales, customer service, call center jobs, and even most engineering jobs. And for the remaining jobs, it simply makes no sense for the HR department that runs performance appraisal not to push to have the output of every major job quantifiably measured.
  • Data issues — everyone who calculates metrics has “data-issues,” but recruiting is No. 1 at overdramatizing theirs. With a relatively low volume of hires, we are not talking about “big data” here. And with only three data sets in my simplified model (hiring manager assessment of quality, retention rate, and “fire rate,” an Excel spreadsheet will do for most firms. And if you (as some are) worried about small sample sizes, realize that sample size is relevant only when you are sampling from a total population. If you measure the performance of every new hire, you eliminate most sampling issues. And once you establish a baseline standard for a quality, you can use it for a significant period of time.

Also Measure On-The-Job Performance Of Hires From Your Vendors

If you use agency or executive search recruiters, it makes sense to measure the on-the-job performance of the new hires who they provide your firm. If you use recruiting process outsourcing, you should also demand that they work with you to provide proof that they are providing above average performers.

Final Thoughts

It’s time for recruiting leaders to face the reality that the “measuring quality” problem has been solved by every corporate functional area except recruiting. Hotels, restaurants, airlines, and automotive manufacturers have also found a way to accurately measure the performance of their product/service. And even Denny’s measures quality with a customer comment card on the table.

We have come up short in many areas but perhaps the hardest to understand is “the failure rate of new hires” (which is the new-hire performance area that is easiest to measure). Measuring the number of new hires who must be fired is easy because there are so few of them, but it is at the same time critical because “bad hires” can do a great deal of damage. Next measuring the turnover rate of new hires is also quite easy and objective. Rather than attempt to get actual performance data, at least initially use the hiring manager’s assessment of their own new hires. I would specifically avoid commonly proposed metrics like quality of applicant, candidate/hiring manager satisfaction, time to productivity, and training hours required because these are not actual year-end on-the-job performance measures. Next you simply need to validate each of the components of your hiring process to determine which ones actually contribute to finding and selecting better performing hires in each of the firm’s critical jobs. And finally after conquering “the measuring quality issue,” recruiting should work with HR leaders to help them also move into the 21st century of the measurement.

The time for excuses is over, and it’s no longer acceptable to whine about how difficult it is to measure new hire quality, when everyone else has found a way to measure quality long ago. And by the way, if it takes longer than six months to develop a measuring process, you are part of the problem.

 

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About the Author

DJS campus headshot

Dr. John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business impact; strategic 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," Staffing.org 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 www.drjohnsullivan.com and on www.ERE.Net. He lives in Pacifica, California.

  • http://www.medievalrecruiter.com/ Medieval Recruiter

    “It is simply unprofessional to assume that your function is automatically producing a quality output without actually measuring it.”

    For every other profession except Sales!, yes. But, as everyone knows, recruiting is Sales!, and has nothing to learn from these other fields you mention. We don’t need to measure quality, we just need more Sales! and the world will be right as rain.

    For anyone who missed it, that’s sarcasm.

    “once you have established that you have top-performing hires in each job family, you can then go back and statistically identify which of the hiring process components (selection criteria, sources, hiring managers, interview questions, etc.) that the top-performing hires had in common and that the poor performing hires did not.”

    Exept that’s completely wrong. First, what most people do is measure the top performers and never bother to measure the bottom performers. As such, they rarely see the comparison that actually alows them to zero in on anything of significance. The often overlooked problem is that top and bottom performers have common attributes that aren’t exposed if you don’t measure both prior to hire. And in reality what you’d need to do is measure everyone via some criteria prior to hire, and prior to knowing, or more realistically subjectively judging their performance, and then go back afterwards for evaluations to see what truly predicted performance. Post hoc measurement can easily allow the data to be twisted to justify any hiring approach. By only measuring once it’s been decided who the top performers are, you’re doing as much to justify pre measurement bias as to determine what’s really causing success.

    While you are correct that recruiting needs to measure quality there are problems, but not the ones you mention. While the customer determines the ultimate measure of quality, the actual quality measures used by most organizations often have little to do with actual demands from their customers. Customers don’t, for example, determine the gauge of metal to use in cars, or the failure rate of resistors used in circuit boards for different applications. Companies figured out on their own what would work and delivered it, the role the customer played was imputing up into the process what their tolerances were for cost, safety, reliability, and other factors. And the customer implicitly understands that the lower they push the price the more compromises will have to be made; they know damn well a 5K car is not going to be competitive with a 50K one in fit and finish, longevity, performance, etc. However in recruiting, they want that 50K car candidate – no, they want the full on 300K car candidate! – for 5K. And, thanks to all the wonderful Sales! people running around in recruiting assuring hiring managers that this is totally reasonable, that’s what they expect.

    Again, we come back to the basic problem that companies don’t value people. Feeding quality components (in this case people) into processes/organizations that ultimately view them as worthless and disposable as evidenced by the actual PRICE they’re willing to pay (like most US companies) is pointless.

    “Most other corporate processes also rely heavily on managers to execute it, but most process owners long ago realized that ‘you can’t blame your customer’ for bad process results.”

    Yes, you can, if your customer is an idiot who always misuses and abuses the product. This customer is always right BS is just that, BS. If your ‘customer’ has decided that the way to treat the product of your process is to spend hours on end screaming at it and demeaning it and outright abusing it, running it way past its limits and burning it out, then your customer is a moron who doesn’t understand how to use the product you provided him. You can either take the Sales! approach of ‘the customer is always right,’ or do what a normal person would do, and try to educate customers on what they’re doing wrong, and explain to them that, for example, while it might be amusing to make margaritas with their new ride-on lawnmower by turning it on its side and hurling the ingredients at the blade while at full throttle, that’s not its intended use and it might result in poor product performance, failure, or even injury and death. But in recruiting we have Sales! people running everything. It’s essentially an industry of BS merchants and hustlers desperately going after the next fee with nary a thought to quality. Why bother when BS will suffice? So, why bother explaining the value of good management, of no over working people, of actually providing some PTO so people aren’t ripped apart by stress? It’s much easier to call the clients who don’t get that ‘challenging’ and then get the fee when you destroy someone’s life by placing them there.

    You’re right, it is an inexcusable shame that we don’t measure quality. But what you’re missing is the customers don’t want quality, they want to be BSed about it, but ultimately get the disposable product. And I’m not even talking salary exclusively here, it’s how people are treated more than anything. Hours worked are creeping ever upward, PTO ever downward, benefits are evaporating, and salaries are stagnant. So, here’s your solution: as you measure quality of hires, measure the quality of the product the employer is offering as well. Because in the case of employer employee relationships both are agents, and so equally buyers and sellers of each other’s products. So, let’s see how the quality of the employment product being offered measures up, and match them with candidates of equal quality level. We don’t do that because we all know the worst employers will still be demanding, with a straight face and no irony or tongue in cheek whatsoever, the best employees. And our ever devoted Sales! people will tell them that can be done, no problem at all.

  • http://www.PeopleAssessments.com Tom Janz

    Yet another attack of armor-piercing logic from the savvy Dr. Sullivan on a topic close to my heart. From my first book chapter with Marv Dunnette on A Dollars and Sense Approach to Selection Decisions, to my book on Behavioral Interviewing that contained tables for calculating the business impact of better interviews, to articles in the International Journals of Forecasting and Management– and to the Talent Curve Simulator software written to project the financial benefits of valid assessment in multi-hurdle screening programs, I have tried in my way to move the needle on this conversation. I share the viewpoint that unless we can talk about the benefits of optimal talent acquisition solutions in the same cost metric as needed to get budget approval for them, HR and recruiting will remain stuck in the “cost center” mentality. And we all know what executives want to do with cost centers— minimize or eliminate them.

    Medieval Recruiter also brings up good points worth the annoying habit that George Carlin admitted to having. It’s called thinking. True there are the staffing solution hucksters that swarm and charm with the language of “cloning the DNA of your top talent”. Just a few will do– the top 3,5, or 7, depending on how desperately they want the business. Sometimes they will even show great patience and ask for more than 10. No matter. When you hear such manipulative drivel, put down the phone or pack up and leave quickly. No need to be polite in the presence of pick-budgets. They don’t care about your success and they are completely science-free.

    Uncovering what successful vs. struggling talent does differently requires a careful look at both types, Confirming the prediction power of measurable characteristics of candidates that lead some to perform successfully and others to struggle requires a fairly large sample that contains both types– at least 100 and 150 is better.

    Its clear that educating customers is just as big a problem as educating recruiters, HR, and operations execs. We need to have a common understanding of what constitutes practical and valid evidence before we get to having effective ‘evidence-based’ decision making on staffing methods. Google is leading the charge in that regard, and others are looking to learn from that. All in the right direction.

    • http://www.medievalrecruiter.com/ Medieval Recruiter

      I disagree. As firms like Google advance, other existing and more entrenched firms will fight such approaches. People rarely change, they just dig in deeper and more forcefully espouse their beliefs regardless of evidence for or against them. There’s a reason why this push to quality has happened in other industries but not in recruiting, and it’s because recruiting is one of the last great bastions of uncontrolled corporate lunacy, and the Mad Men types who capitalize on that kind of chaos. A recruiting agency is like a license to print money for people with no morals or ethics.

      And the reality is, companies just don’t care. They don’t value their people, they are disposable, which is why there’s no massive quality push. While I enjoy Dr. Sullivan’s articles, I think he and a lot of people in the recruitosphere are completely oblivious as to how bad it is out there for most people. And because of the dominance of Sales! types in our industry, rarely if ever is any objective information brought to the forefront and reviewed. Rarely do you see articles on Ere or elsewhere with a title like, “Can You Afford The Best Candidates/Employees?,” or, “Do You Even Deserve The Best Candidates/Employees?” Nope, no real Sales! recruiter would ever open up that can of worms, and in all honesty why should they? They need to make a living, and there’s a never ending line of recruiting hucksters waiting to convince any and every manager that no matter the depths of their incompetence or depravity, or the heights of their abusiveness, their lack of compensation, or lack of benefits, that they too deserve and can have the best!

      • http://www.PeopleAssessments.com Tom Janz

        I never said it would be easy or quick. “The journey will be long, the setbacks numerous” to quote a possibly recognizable tone of voice. No question that life sucks unless you are in the tippy top club, but what’s the alternative to finding the good folks out there (there are more than you might think), and picking winnable fights here and there? Whining is never as rewarding as winning, except in Napa.

        • http://www.medievalrecruiter.com/ Medieval Recruiter

          True, but you’ll never win by accommodating idiocy either. Someone has to be willing to say the things that are true, but which everyone else avoids. I’m heartened by companies like Google and other newer companies and what they’re doing. But the fact remains the majority of employers in the US are small to medium sized businesses. Their recruiting department is Jane or John from payroll. Their idea of corporate branding is, “How dare you not know who we are, we’re the top employer in East Bumscrum and have ten employees!” Their managers are graduates of the scream-and-kick and throw-a-tantrum schools of management. Their benefits consist of, “We promise not to sue your family for lost productivity after you die because, when you were diagnosed with a very treatable cancer, we fired you rather than take the hit to our insurance premiums, so now you’re terminal.”

          • Rob McIntosh

            Medieval – It is too bad that you don’t write the occasional article as I think you have a voice that people would want to hear even though they might not agree with everything you say. A dose of harsh reality from the field is what recruiting and HR leaders need to hear. Will you get everyone to change, heck no, but like water dripping on a rock, it eventually makes ta difference.

          • http://www.medievalrecruiter.com/ Medieval Recruiter

            I realized a long time ago that me caring passionately about things and working to change them will have as much an affect on the world as me not giving a damn one way or the other, and sniping from the sidelines. The latter is more fun, less disheartening, and less soul crushing. In any event, the real question to ask is why, despite almost everyone knowing what it’s like in the trenches of the profession, do we get fluff piece articles instead of reality? LinkedIn is littered with ‘think pieces’ about senior executives espousing the productivity benefits of their 8 months of paid sabbatical, meanwhile they give their employees five days off for the year. Ere has articles like those by Dr. Sullivan that are barely relevant to the majority of companies who have neither the expertise nor the infrastructure to gather and work with the data necessary. And quite frankly, the majority of those companies can’t be helped, and don’t want to be helped. They’re dead sure, with a conviction you can only wonder at, that everything they’re doing with regard to their candidates and employees is pretty much on target, regardless of the results.

            Honestly, I can’t think of anything that will solve the problems of corporate American with regards to HR and recruiting. Even if several thousand people suffered every and all indignities we’re all aware of in this regard to such an extent that they detailed them in a note with names, dates, places, and then on the same day and the same exact time, they all took shotguns to their offices and their heads, people are so oblivious they wouldn’t make the connection. Maybe in the aftermath of something like that, someone somewhere would chime in for the two seconds necessary to say, “Gee, maybe making people work 70s hours a week straight and not giving them any PTO worth mentioning isn’t a good idea, it might stress them a bit…” It would likely just pass unnoticed though. Employers could start demanding their employees throw their first born children into wood chippers in this country, and people would just shrug and accept it, and say, “What can you do, they’re trying to run a business.” Reason being, people are so conditioned in this country to believe that work equals being humiliated, demeaned, ordered around, used, abused, and thrown out with the garbage, that it’s simply expected.

          • Gareth Cooper

            We all need a sprinkling of reality in this ever increasing pixie-dust-world-of-HR and-recruitment. Medieval, those in the trenches still need to push on regardless of who is harping on about the next best thing.

            Credit to Dr Sullivan, every morning I know I can expect an article challenging some aspect of the world in which I work.

          • http://www.medievalrecruiter.com/ Medieval Recruiter

            I recently dodged a bullet. A contract position came my way from a really well known company in NY. The former colleague of a person already there got it though, and later, unbeknownst to them, I started working with them to fill positions. The company brands itself with all the usual BS of Innovation! and Opportunity! The reality is, after speaking to quite a few people currently there or recently left from there, that the place is a hell hole. Ridiculous hours, abusive managers, unpaid overtime for consultants of all people, when the hourly pay is one of the only saving graces of being a consultant, and yet these scumbags are routinely ‘negotiating’ it and approving it, but then saying it wasn’t approved after the fact. People are rotating in and out like they’re on a carousel, the turnover is sky high.

            And of course, the Sales! morons at my agency think this is a great account to go after. They’ve been trying to “get in” there for years, apparently, and to date I’ve made one of only two placements they’ve managed to get there, with every other req they ever sent our way being filled by someone else, or outright evaporating and us never hearing from that manager again, likely because they up and left. I’ve really just given up on this industry for now. I’m going through the motions, every one out of one hundred reqs filled is at an actual good company, and I can feel good about it, but I’m networking and interviewing carefully now to either get the hell out of this field, or go work for a company with a good reputation that’s actually deserved. Recruiting is lost, plugging away in the trenches has literally no point to it anymore, it’s wasted time.

          • Gareth Cooper

            Oh yes, had a few flashbacks reading your reply. I can definitely understand.

          • http://www.medievalrecruiter.com/ Medieval Recruiter

            The reality is that the problem is Sales! being prioritized above everything else. Sales! people make notoriously bad managers because of their near complete inability to see the negative, or the possible opportunity costs, which means they are horrendous at allocating resources appropriately. The internet is rife with stories of top sales people who got promoted to manager, and bombed. Until our industry as a whole realizes the value of management and puts it on a level with Sales!, and realizes there’s a lot from non Sales! disciplines we need to incorporate, then it’s a lost cause.

            As I said, it’s heartening to see articles like this, but really there’s one of these for every thousand “Recruiting is Sales!” articles, where they dismiss anything and everything else as being totally unnecessary for recruiting so long as you can sell! and one for every million “Please Proofread Your Resume” articles. It belies an attitude of people who truly don’t give a damn about reality, they just want the fee.

            Damn near every agency has high turnover. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but a metric @#$% ton of ‘recruiters’ are really young, sexy, men and women who dress real sharp, but by their age alone likely have a serious lack of any meaningful experience in any field at all. And they flit from agency to agency with tenures of months to maybe a year at a clip. These are not serious people, this is not a serious profession. It is reviled for good reason. When the ratio of articles mentioned above shifts in favor of non Sales! oriented articles, maybe that will change. But until then, we’re all nothing more than glorified BS artists, the lot of us.

          • Rob McIntosh

            Well if you want my 2 cents on the why, here it is. The majority of recruiters/HR folk don’t read articles, attend conferences or goodness forbid pick up the phone and talk to others about best practices. The people that do read articles, attend conferences and call each other are the smaller percentage of the space that wants to improve. It is not a Google vs some small mid-west manufacture, it is more in my mind, the people that want to learn, change and get better and then the rest.

          • http://www.medievalrecruiter.com/ Medieval Recruiter

            You’re right, but I don’t blame them. The majority of HR folks are just glorified payroll admins who fell into the field and stuck with it. The majority of recruiters are young and dumb and good looking, and just looking for a job. However, the real problem is among those who do read and write articles, there is still almost nothing but fluff and nonsense. So, even the people nominally trying to make a difference are really just giving the status quo a stroke job.

  • Richard Stack

    I am not sure I understand how a recruiting organization gets funding without showing impact on the business and quality metrics. These days I would hope that Recruiting Management 101 includes measures of quant and qual to show recruiter productivity and impact. We use total headcount gained (actual v budget/ actual v forecast); revenue per seat (measure a recruiter by the revenue produced by the seat they fill); new hire attrition in Year 1; new hire promotions in Year 1; new hire referrals; market feedback (like Glassdoor); manager and new hire satisfaction (as John cited in his article).

    Looking forward to continued discussion on this topic!

    • http://www.medievalrecruiter.com/ Medieval Recruiter

      There is no Recruiting Management 101. There is HR, which is compliance oriented, and several million recruiting ‘consultants’ you can go to, all of whom emphasize Sales! and nothing else about recruiting. There is no central body like SHRM for the industry, there are no certifications of any weight or in wide usage. There are few if any government regulations surrounding the process, and those that exist are easy to circumvent, and routinely circumvented.

      Ever since I’ve started posting on these pages, I’ve said recruiting needs less Sales! nonsense and should take a look at other fields of business like supply chain and PM, and learn from them, specifically with regard to developing objective metrics of performance for the recruiters, candidates, and companies. I’ve said this “Recruiting is Sales!” crap has got to stop, unless all these Sales! people are finally willing to apply quality standards to their own results and call out/admit bad clients/accounts, which are the majority of them. I’ve said in corporate, hiring managers who don’t give feedback, or who give vague undefinable reasons as to why they refuse to hire or ‘want to see more people,’ should be compared to material buyers who let plants grind to a halt because they’re too lazy or stupid to do their jobs.

      Glad to see the PHDs are finally catching up with me. Only took several decades of “Recruiting Is Sales!” nonsense for them to finally pull their thumbs out of their asses and pay attention to the real world for five minutes.