How Early is Too Early to Start Measuring Quality of Hire?

If you’re only measuring quality of hire after they’ve joined, you’re leaving it too late.

Finding a genuinely effective way to measure hire quality is the recruiter’s holy grail.

LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report ranks quality of hire (QoH) as “the most valuable performance KPI.”

via LinkedIn

Yet the report also reveals that most people are only measuring QoH after a new recruit has been brought on board:

  • 50% measure QoH through new hire performance evaluation
  • 49% measure QoH through turnover or retention statistics
  • 43% measure QoH through hiring manager satisfaction

But isn’t that too late? Yes, it shows how well they’re performing in the job they’re doing, but what about the job they were hired for?

There is a strong argument that the most effective way to measure QoH is to make your candidate selection metrics a fundamental part of the process.

Here is that argument in four simple steps.

1. Focus on performance-based hiring

Typically, recruiters hire candidates based on skills, qualifications and past experience. But actually, hiring specifically based on a candidate’s past performance gives you richer insights into their relevant accomplishments for your role.

This shift in focus enables you to align your predicted and actual measures of QoH, which in turn helps hiring managers to assess actual performance directly and meaningfully. The bad news? It requires an overhaul of the hiring process. Keep reading to learn how!

2. Rethink your job descriptions

Traditional job descriptions read something like this:

  • This is who we are
  • This is the position we’re looking to fill
  • This is the experience you must have
  • These are the skills and qualifications we’d like you to have

The problem here is that although qualified candidates may tick every box on your list, they may still not be the best person for your job. Why? Because you’re not asking them for the most germane performance-based information.

When you rethink your job descriptions, replacing your big shopping list of qualifications and experience with a honed list of key performance objectives, you’re recruiting for the very factors you can subsequently assess for QoH. You’re planning for excellence, not just measuring it.

Lou Adler, CEO of the Adler Group, recommends using six to eight key performance objectives to describe the job, including the sub-tasks for these main objectives. For time-sensitive objectives, include what you expect applicants to accomplish within a certain time frame.

3. Ask for samples of past work

Don’t just list the skills required of a candidate. Go a step further and state how those skills will be put to work.

For example, instead of “strong writing skills” include something like “strong writing skills to be used for monthly reports to your direct manager and quarterly reports to the executive team.” And ask for samples of similar reports the candidate has written. As Adler notes, obtaining samples of applicants’ work “makes the pre-hire quality assessment straight-forward.”

4. Use a talent scorecard

The Adler Group has created a Quality of Hire Talent Scorecard which can be used during the interview to accurately predict QoH. It compares past performance with the performance objectives you’ve outlined in your job description and provides you with a cumulative score predicting QoH.

You can also use the same scorecard to assess post-hire QoH.


Performance-based hiring is a big shift in ethos, but one that can pay huge dividends. In place of a vanity presentation lauding the effectiveness and ROI of your hiring process, you’ll be able to improve your process by interrogating differences between predicted and actual QoH.

Interviews become more consistent, job requirements become more tangible, and culture fit can become a vital component of the process.

With such a finely-honed (and continually improving) selection process, you begin every search for new talent knowing your system is proven to ensure quality of hire.

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