Results are in: Delivering on recruiting is by far the most economically impactful HR activity.  Does your process deliver?

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doug for news.jpgA 2012 survey by Boston Consulting Group found that “delivering on recruiting” was the top HR activity that had the most impact on revenue and profit growth (See Exhibit 2).  Coming in a close second was “onboarding and retaining new hires.” I like how the number one impactful activity was worded – delivering on recruiting.  Is your talent acquisition, aka recruiting, process delivering?    Here are four ways to really tell if your process is delivering.


1.  Ask your leadership team and hiring officials two questions: First, have them rate your recruiting process on how effective it is at actually delivering top new hires, on a scale of 1 to 10.  Then, ask them to choose which of the following phrases best describe how your process is designed (check all that apply):

  • Legal compliance
  • Focused on screening people out versus finding the best
  • Delivering top candidatesbcg chart.JPG
  • With the needs of the business in mind
  • Other:___________________

How do you think your process will stand up?  I hear complaints from many leaders that there are so many hoops for applicants to jump through that many great talents give up or are screened out for non-essential reasons.  Keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of employment charges and suits are brought by employees and former employees, not applicants, so I advise designing the recruiting process for maximum results with reasonable compliance, versus average results with maximum compliance.


2.  Measure the right results. When asked if their recruiting process delivers results, many HR leaders point to traditional metrics like time to hire, cost to hire, number of jobs filled, number of qualified candidates sourced, and so on.  While these metrics are readily available, they reveal little about how effective your process is at actually delivering top new hires.  Instead, consider tracking these metrics:

  • Quality of hire
  • New hire engagement
  • New hire tenure
  • Manager satisfaction
  • Where you are finding your best hires
  • Turnover by manager


3.  Are you retaining new hires? A recent study by Leadership IQ tracked 20,000 new hires from 312 public, private, business and healthcare organizations over a three year period.  The results are depressing.  After three years, 48% failed after 18 months, 35% became mid-level performers, and 19% became high performers.  Of the 9,600 hundred new hires that failed, 89% failed because of interpersonal issues like coachability, emotional intelligence, motivation and temperament.  Only 11% failed for technical skill issues.  Do you know what percentage of your new hires are still around after three years?  Whether new hires leave voluntarily or are terminated, both results indicate that your recruiting process isn’t delivering.   Before moving on, I realize that some new hires leave because of problems in the work environment.  That’s not the recruiter’s fault right?  Maybe sometimes, but I still attribute their departure back to the recruiting process in that we hired someone that didn’t fit our culture, or our idiosyncrasies.  We knew about our warts before hiring them and failed to adequately test how they would respond once hired.  In the Leadership IQ study many of the managers admitted to overlooking interpersonal flaws in the interview process.


4.  And finally, how often does your process identify key performers well in advance of job openings?  Many top performers are currently working and probably aren’t actively looking for another opportunity.  IE, they aren’t going to respond to traditional recruiting methods.  You’re going to have to find them.  While there are many creative ways to source top talent, I’ll share the one idea that gets the most positive reaction from audiences when I speak on this topic.  Here goes.  Have each hiring official at your company make a list of ten people that would be game changers if you hired them.  These may or may not be people they know.  Then task each manager with meeting with one of these ten people each month.  One person, every month.  This meeting isn’t an interview, it’s just a conversation to get to learn more about them and them more about you and your company.  Your managers can use Linkedin and other connections for introductions where needed.  Now I realize every manager can’t or won’t do this, however if just 25% of your managers meet with one game changer every month, imagine how many potential new hires could come from this activity?  A CEO buddy of mine attributed this practice to starting her company on a rapid growth curve.  If you don’t trust your managers to do this, do it any way, it’s worth the risk.  If your first thought is about applicant tracking implications, do it anyway, these people aren’t applicants.  We aren’t recruiting to an opening, we’re just meeting people for coffee.


Is your recruiting process really delivering on recruiting?  Are you finding the next stars that will take your company to a new level?  Don’t know where to start?  CAI has experts on the Advice and Resolution team that can help you think through transforming how talent acquisition is done at your company.  Call Rick Washburn at (919) 713-5247 or send Rick a message


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2012 Boston Consulting Group and The World Federation of People Management Associations Creating People Advantage study of 4,288 HR and non-HR managers.


The three-year study by Leadership IQ, a global leadership training and research company, compiled these results after studying 5,247 hiring managers from 312 public, private, business and healthcare organizations. Collectively, these managers hired more than 20,000 employees during the study period.