How to Achieve a Win-Win Hiring Outcome by Categorizing Your Metrics

January 16, 2020

Photo of man sitting on ground crossed-legged behind a laptop and raising his hands in triumph

I contend that “Win-Win Hiring” will become the dominant hiring trend in the next decade. A “Win-Win Hiring” outcome means both the hiring manager and the new employee agree it was the right decision one year after starting. This is a challenging goal, but possible with the proper use of metrics. 

My early career was in manufacturing where metrics were used to control the entire process from procurement through post-sales support. Hiring is no different, but to achieve a “Win-Win Hiring” outcome, it’s important to use the right metrics at the right time. The following categorization will help clarify how this can be done. 

How to categorize your metrics to solve problems — now and in the future

Historical: These metrics describe what happened yesterday, last week, last quarter, or last year. These are especially useful for spotting trends and explaining problems, but are too late for correcting the problems quickly.

Process control: These metrics describe what’s happening in real time in order to address the problem right away. For example, in manufacturing when a machine starts to produce out-of-spec parts, it’s stopped in order to correct the problem before product quality is impacted. 

Forward-looking: These metrics describe what’s likely to happen next month, next quarter, or next year in order to prevent problems from occurring. For example, if raw material lead times start to increase, on-time delivery schedules will likely be impacted without taking immediate corrective action, like getting additional suppliers. 

When used properly these same kinds of metrics can be used in the hiring process to control candidate quality and efficiency. Coincidently, I’ve just been asked to lead a workshop on how to operationalize and determine quality of hire by asking the hiring manager and the candidate three months after the hire if they both believe the job is a good fit or not.

Although the insight gained from this metric is interesting, it’s more valuable for me when it’s used as a goal rather than just an indicator of hiring process health. In this case, the goal would be something like, “Track and maximize quality of hire during the first year.” This goal aligns perfectly with the “Win-Win Hiring” process. Given this objective, here are a few ideas on how my process control and forward-looking categories can be used to achieve it. (I’ve set aside the historical category, as it’s not that helpful in solving quality of hire problems before they happen.)

How to track and maximize quality of hire

Source semi-finalists (forward-looking): If you’re only going to hire one person, a strong sourcer/recruiter only needs 15-20 prospects at the top of the funnel as long as they meet these three conditions:

  1. They’re performance qualified, meaning they can do the work.
  2. They possess the Achiever Pattern, meaning they’re in the top tier of their peer group.
  3. They would quickly see the job as a step in their career progression.

If the first two conditions are met, it’s likely the hiring manager would want to see the person. And if the third condition is met, it’s more likely the person would respond to a compelling message, agree to an interview onsite, and accept an offer if one were extended. By reviewing the target prospect pool based on these conditions, a talent leader or hiring manager can quickly tell if a “Win-Win Hiring” outcome is even possible with this short-list of prequalified prospects.

First article inspection (process control): If the first two candidates presented by the recruiter to the hiring manager aren’t worth inviting onsite for a full interview, stop the process since something upstream is broken. Once fixed, this step will save time, increase process efficiency, reduce first impression bias for those invited onsite, increase assessment accuracy, and increase the likelihood of having offers accepted.

Criteria for accepting an offer (process control and forward-looking): If a candidate accepts an offer largely based on the title, compensation, location, and company brand, a “Win-Win Hiring” outcome is problematic. To better understand the candidate’s decision-making process, ask candidates to ignore all of this short-term stuff and ask if they really want the job. While most will say yes, few will be able to describe why in convincing detail. Good details include clarity about job expectations, why the work is intrinsically motivating, details about the hiring manager’s leadership style, and how the job puts the person on a stronger career trajectory in comparison to other opportunities.

You know what was not discussed during the interview if any of these factors are vague or missing. You’ll also know then and there if your offer will be accepted or not for the right reasons, and if three months later the person and the hiring manager will both say the right decision was made.

It’s important to recognize that in any process, success depends on controlling what’s happening when it’s happening, not reporting on what happened weeks or months later with historical metrics. By then it’s too late. By shifting your attention to achievable goals and using process control and forward-looking metrics properly, you’ll be able to create a “Win-Win Hiring” process that’s not just a worthy goal, but a predictable and achievable outcome.

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* Photo from Adobe