Does Technology Have an Answer to Quality of Candidates Complaints?

Quality of hire is the most important and most difficult metric in talent acquisition. Talent Tech Labs, a New York based incubator, introduced me to Talenytics, a software vendor that focuses on quality of hire.

For most recruiters the presenting problem is not that candidate quality is bad, it’s that the hiring manager thinks it’s bad; the manager thinks the recruiters are not presenting them with a good slate of high quality candidates.

Part of the reason for this could be that the usual focus regarding quality of hire is around assessment techniques that predict quality, or ways to get more accurate measures of performance post-hire.  Herein is the source of Talenytics’ most useful insight: The starting place for improving quality of hire lies in improving the relationship and communication between hiring manager and recruiter, and I think there’s every reason to believe that that will improve quality of hire.

Their approach, embodied in the software, is to get the hiring manager to make explicit decisions around the priority of the requirements they list; for example, is experience in the industry critical, important or desirable? What about competencies? Experience in a similar role? The system won’t let the hiring manager rate everything as critical, however; it forces them to make some trade-offs. That’s a big help to recruiters in picking the candidates to shortlist, and it starts a better conversation between hiring manager and recruiter. It also provides a baseline metric so that the hiring manager can compare the quality of the candidates presented against the priorities he or she has defined, which is invaluable in assessing candidate fit.

Talenytics uses a similar method to get the hiring manager and recruiter aligned on expectations about the process, which sets the basis for a better relationship, and a more effective process.

The final step is to get some post-hire data on performance. There is no magic here; it either must come from a manager’s assessment of the new hire or, for jobs where it is available, hard numbers on performance.

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A possible objection from hiring managers could be that they don’t have time to do anything more than toss a job description over the transom to a recruiter. However, when you shift the focus of responsibility and suggest to hiring managers that they can play a critical role in getting a better quality of hire (and if they don’t make an effort then they shouldn’t complain about it) and you use a mechanism (in this case software) to enable the conversation, then you are on a path to getting better involvement.

What’s interesting

It’s funny that talent acquisition is usually totally on the hook for quality of hire when so much actually depends on the hiring manager. Putting more onus on the hiring manager, ensuring they have skin in the game, makes a lot of sense.

What’s really important

We normally think the value of data is that it provides insights to an individual. However, it serves an equally important role in providing a starting point for conversations between two people. Even in cases where the data itself does not tell you that much, it can provide a foundation for a conversation that wouldn’t happen, or wouldn’t as be effective, without it.

David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research, is a globally recognized thinker on people analytics and talent management. Some of his more interesting projects included:

  • Conducted workshops around the world on the practical aspects of people analytics
  • Took business leaders from Japan’s Recruit Co. on a tour of US tech companies (Recruit eventually bought for $1 billion)
  • Studied the relationship between Boards and HR (won Walker Award)
  • Spoke at the World Bank in Paris on HR reporting
  • Co-authored Lead the Work: Navigating a world beyond employment with John Boudreau and Ravin Jesuthasan. The book was endorsed by the CHROs of IBM, LinkedIn and Starbucks.
  • Worked with Dr. Wanda Wallace on “Leading when you are not the expert” which topped the “Most Popular List” on the Harvard Business Review’s blog.
  • Worked with Dr. Henry Mintzberg on peer coaching, David’s learning modules are among the most popular topics.

Currently David is helping organizations to get on-track with people analytics.

This work led to him being made a Fellow for the Centre of Evidence-based Management (Netherlands) for his contributions to the field.



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