Talent Acquisition — Measurably Better Hires

Human Capital Management

The small/mid-size business community has a unique opportunity to enhance all aspects of our workforce, the quality of our products and services and ultimately the success of organizations.

How? Listen to a few of the most successful business leaders, with very different personalities, yet very similar approaches to the hiring process. While these worldwide leaders continue to provide universal advice in business, organizations seem to ignore their statements — and I am not sure why.

The first, although not my ideal example of a sensitive, caring, philosophical thinker (I saw the movie), is Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook with a net worth of $36.5 billion. Note that I didn’t say he wasn’t really, really smart. Zuckerberg used his business genius, when he said, during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, “I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person.” It could be that maybe in corporate America executives ignore such advice due to threat to the ego. Moreover, for those who have lived and worked in the corporate America environment, that “ego problem” is not very unusual. Nevertheless, I don’t believe that the fear of ego is much of a problem in our business circles. I do believe, if we focused our hiring process mindset to encompass the thought Zuckerberg practices just one time going forward, we could make a big difference with people and business outcomes.

Another leader with a more grounded and global sense of his responsibilities as one of the richest men on the planet is the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates. The answer, if you’re interested, is about $80 billion dollars of net worth. In 2013, he wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, called “My Plan to Fix the World’s Biggest Problems.” His advice transcends all business processes and could improve the quality of hires and retention.

Gates’ solution is simple: Define the problem, develop measurable solutions, and use metrics to track improvements. He says that while times have changed for most business functions, it seems that some HR
and recruiting departments are stuck in a time warp. HR continues to post boring sounding jobs, hoping to find exceptional people willing to do the less-than-exceptional job appearing on an Internet job board. Presentation is still more important than performance. Techies still overvalue experience and technical skills. We preclude people who have great ability, but without the so-called “proper” background or requisite years of experience to be considered. In our mandate to hire as cheaply as possible, we downplay the needs of those being hired.  

It is disconcerting that some HR departments still rely on hiring practices that are 50 years old, and still believe that a 62 percent interviewing accuracy rate (retention for at least 2 years with excellent evaluations, according to Research Gate) is acceptable. HR and recruiting have the opportunity to earn valuable process improvement should organizations begin to measure and manage the following:

1. Instead of experience-based job descriptions, define the position in terms of six to eight measurable performance objectives.

2. Measure the hiring manager’s ability to attract, develop, and retain top people. If talent is your top priority, this should be every hiring manager’s number one performance objective.

3. Do not interview more than four people for any job. If you need to see more than four people, something is wrong. Figure out what that is — the job description, upfront screening, or inaccurate assessment process— before moving forward.

4. Define quality of hire before the candidate is hired. Be sure to define success as B+ level performance for each of the performance objectives listed in the performance - based job description (point 1).

Perhaps the reason HR and recruiting lack
a “measure and improve everything” attitude is
because their performance never depends on it, according to Jennifer Beck, consultant and CEO.

As Gates suggests, this might be a good place to start. By analyzing and understanding your data and the various ways it should be measured, you can translate the data into actionable outcomes, yielding stronger business results.

William Kreider is the founder and CEO of HR Future Group, a firm that offers a full service suite of human capital management services for small businesses. From Transformational HR Outsourcing, Compensation, Leadership Coaching, Talent Acquisition and other HCM consulting services to Cloud-based Payroll, HRIS, Time & Attendance, and Benefit Administration, HR Future can assist your business. Mr. Kreider has significant executive experience in all areas within the HR profession in a variety of industries. For more information, please email him at bill@hrfuturegroup.com or call 610.584.2467.