How to Continually Improve Your Recruiting Program!

Many recruiters get it all wrong! They put major effort into finding great candidates but they almost universally leave out one of the most important aspects of any business deal… they fail to check to see if the customer is satisfied and if the product “works” after the “sale”! I call it “dropping the candidate over the wall”! After a long hard search and after the offer is finally accepted, recruiters usually call it “quits” and move on to the next requisition. Unfortunately, there are serious consequences when you fail to follow up on what actually happens to your hires.What might happen if you drop recruits over the wall and walk away!

    • The new hire might be a “crib death” i.e. someone that quits the firm within a few weeks/ months.


  • Managers and applicants may feel dissatisfied with the service they received during the hiring process.
  • The new hire might be dissatisfied with the “job fit” and the difference between the “promised” job and the “real” job.
  • The new hires performance might end up being below our expectations.
  • The new hire might have leads for potential recruits (from their former firm) that we won’t capture if we don’t maintain the relationship with the new hire.

The follow up – information gathering and continuing the relationship: Instead of assuming that everything went well, we need a systematic way of finding out what worked and what needs improvement in the hiring process. If we gather information about the relative “success” of the hire:

  1. We can readjust/ tweak our recruitment strategy. We can also change the mix of tools and/or the sources we use, as we learn which hires actually perform the best.
  2. We can improve the quality of the delivery of our services as we get feedback from managers and applicants.
  3. We might improve our retention rates. The assigned recruiter almost always understands why the new hire accepted the job. So by continuing the relationship for the first few months the recruiter could help advise the manager and help them understand how to keep the new hire challenged and motivated.

You can’t improve what you don’t measure – steps to improve the “quality of hire”: Great recruiters want to have a business impact. But you can’t just assume that the people you recruit turn out to be great performers… you have to find out. The steps for dramatically improving recruiting are:

  1. Identify the top hires (and the failures) through performance metrics (listed below).
  2. See which recruiters had the top (bottom) performers. Reward recruiters for hiring “better” people.
  3. Identify which sources/ tools produce the best (worst) hires. Adjust your recruiting to take advantage of the sources that work.
  4. Track manager and applicant satisfaction. Adjust the process to improve satisfaction.
  5. Track new hire retention to see if any recruiters have high (low) retention rates. Identify recruiters and behaviors that improve retention.
  6. Identify recruiters that are “closing” offers at high salary rates. Adjust the process as appropriate.

Use the following “quality of hire metrics” to track the success of your recruiting program. By tracking these employment metrics you can easily improve the “quality of your hires”! “Quality of hire” metrics:

  • Individual Performance Metrics – The people we hired this year outperformed those hired last year (in their job classification) on these internal performance metrics Actual metrics – Quality hires perform better on:
    1. Their performance appraisal scores.
    2. Their average bonus/ pay for performance rewards (% of their total salary rewarded in bonuses).
    3. The number of months until they are promoted (with a lower number being better).
    4. The number of company awards (or nominations).
    5. Scores on forced rankings, 360-degree feedback etc.
    6. On the job performance – Productivity, output, sales volume, customer satisfaction scores etc.
  • Manager Satisfaction – Surveys of hiring managers show a significantly higher satisfaction rate with the recruiting process this year, compared to last year Actual metrics – satisfaction with:
    1. The Quality (competencies) of the hire.
    2. The quality of the recruiters responsiveness to managers requests.
    3. Response time to manager requests.
    4. The number of hires.
    5. The job performance of the hire.
  • Applicant Satisfaction – Surveys of applicants show a significantly higher satisfaction rate on how they were treated during the recruiting process, this year compared to last year. Because rejected applicants may some day be customers we need to ensure that they are treated well. Actual metrics – satisfaction with:
    1. The way the recruiter treated them.
    2. The recruitment process.
    3. The firm (has the firms image improved as a result of the recruiting effort).
    4. The product (has the image of the firms products changed as a result of the recruiting effort).
  • Retention Rates of New Hires – The % of hires that are still with the firm after 1 year is higher this year than last Actual Metrics:
    1. Compare the new hire voluntary termination rates from one year to the next. Adjust for any “inflation” in overall industry retention rates.
  • Cost of the Hire – Are the starting salaries (adjusted for inflation) for this year’s hires the same or lower than last years. Actual metrics:
    1. Compare accepted offers, adjusted for salary inflation, (within position classifications) for this year compared to last years to see if we are “over offering” in order to get candidates to say yes.

What is a “better hire”? In addition to analyzing the performance of new hires we also need to look at the competencies they have. We need to train recruiters to look for “better” people. Beyond the traditional experience and technical skills most candidates possess there is a different set of competencies that describe a “better hire”. World-class recruiters hire candidates:

  1. With more competencies/ skills. Both competencies that we need now and will need in the future.
  2. Who are agile, can multi-task and shift rapidly to new problems and jobs.
  3. Who are rapid learners, that self-develop, are continuous learning individuals and they do so without the need for formal company training.
  4. Who have more ideas (or suggestions) that are actually implemented and that impact our profitability.
  5. That require “Low maintenance” (less time) from managers. Low maintenance employees have lower error rates, a smaller number of disciplinary incidents and absenteeism rates than other employees.
  6. That train, mentor and inspire others to be more productive.
  7. That stay longer before quitting.
  8. Who produce more return (productivity) for every dollar of salary paid them.
  9. That have a sense of urgency and they continually improve all systems and people they manage.
  10. Are forward focused and who monitor and accurately forecast the business environment.
  11. Who give us a competitive advantage over other major firms.

About Dr John Sullivan

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 to large corporations.

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