In this digital era obsessed with quality, be it in the supply chain industry, manufacturing industry or service industry, there is continual demand for improvement of process, people and/or products. There is a shortage in talent pool in most organisations. Right from recruitment to retention, the need to improvise on the process to capitalize on skilled labor and maximize the return on investment is greater than before.

Quality of Hire, simply referred to as QoH, is the metric used by HR to procure the creamy layer of skilled personnel. Different firms have their own take on measuring quality; to add to the hassle further, each department in a firm may employ varied means to measure quality. So how to do we converge on the one right method to deliver the sustainable results in the best interest of firm, customers and stakeholders is a matter of raging debate from a long time.

As a case in point, HR department stresses on the previous track record of prospective employees, whereas managers emphasize on the predictability of a candidate being an invaluable future asset to the company if hired.

There is yet to be a clear understanding on how to integrate some departments like HR with ISO certification.

Most of the companies these days outsource their recruitment to external recruitment agencies. But companies need to get their priorities right otherwise they would just end up wasting money. Any time the focal point should be on quality rather than quantity; volume of hires or cost per hire.

It is not plausible to adopt one standard metrics system to measure quality of hire for every firm. It varies on the type of industry we are taking into consideration. Say for instance, for a product industry, the QoH is determined by the quality of the end product in question.

Some of the methods to judge quality of personnel are:

  1. They have at least one other offer apart from your company. Top contenders have multiple options available to them at hand. Also they do not like to sit idle; they are always on the go.
  2. Is your candidate not so particular about salary and is quite willing to settle for less? Then, he/she may not quite fit your criteria of excellence.
  3. Don’t fall for fancy resumes with too much decoration on the outside and less inside. Top contenders believe in their skills to speak for themselves.

The common pre-employment screening methods of applicants like skills and ability, personality, competency, contextual, leadership and interpersonal requirements, background verification, personal interview have always been in place. But, to assume that this can be a sure short methodology to zero in on star performers may not be so right after all. Recalling my personal experience in a service industry, all the applicants were made to go through the same round of tests which doesn’t usually make much sense given many processes in an industry.

  1. Make an evaluation of the top rated recruitment firms who have got you good candidates before and stick to them for top contenders.
  2. The prospective employee must be adequately compensated; at least on this front the employee must not lookout for the easiest route to leave.
  3. No point in going with the age old adage “ first impression is the best impression.” Of course personality holds enough importance but that alone should not be enough to satisfy the HR managers. HRs are paid good compensation to assess the candidate on a whole and not just his/her presentation skills.
  4. Admit it, we all have that rewarding mechanisms wired into our brain. Perks and/or commendations on a job well done will go a long way in improving the QoH.
  5. Any new idea or variation in the process by an employer if duly considered gives them the much needed liveliness to act more diligently and with a better sense of purpose.
  6. Performance on the job can be measured regularly like quarterly or every six months and the necessary feedback provided on improvements. In other words, the managers and employees should work in close liaison with each other to better the output at the end of the day.
  7. Optimum time allotment for each job. The employee is expected to finish the task at hand in this time. No delays or overruns should be encouraged.
  8. We all make mistakes. After all we are humans not robots. The measure of permissible errors should be clearly indicated beforehand to maintain quality.
  9. There are some industries where QoH has to followed meticulously and with great care; like those which handle confidential and sensitive information, strategic applications. If QoH is not well maintained in this case well enough, it can even put the safety of the company at risk.
  10. The attrition rates in each industry must be given due consideration. If employees are leaving the company the reasons must be looked into with detail.
  11. Surveys and questionnaires to be provided to the managers about their hire quality at periodic intervals.
  12. Cost and quality are quite interrelated. What is the cost spent on training a candidate, on providing the necessary infrastructure. Is the amount spent on each hire feasible with the net output.
  13. What is the degree of accuracy required? The accuracy of workmanship required in a space research organization is way beyond that in a service industry. So once again, get your priorities right.
  14. Although this may not find much support from employees, ranking their performance periodically is necessary to keep a check on quality.
  15. Keep a check on metrics in QoH assessment. Keep it simple.
  16. Wrong assumptions of quality checks only for a few critical departments need to be discouraged. It is the prerogative that every department must be assessed for the machinery to run smoothly.

While it may not be possible to get the perfect workforce for your firm, it is quite possible to strike a balance between your expectations and optimum performance.