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You Can't Handle the Truth: Quality of Not Hired

by Joseph Murphy

John Sullivan in his recent post on ERE continues to ask great questions and invite thoughtful consideration of the employee selection process.  Thinking and acting are very different, just as rating and evaluating are different.

Having hiring managers rate quality of applicant would be an interesting exercise.  If nothing else, the biases at play and anecdotal elements of work history that are valued might surface.

The single most meaningful measure of quality of hire in the staffing process is on-the-job performance.  My current blog series on Staffing Waste shares results from a survey I conducted  with SHRM.  66% of companies reported they have no candidate evaluation in a data base.  It is an indicator of a fundamental lack of discipline, skill, or as W. Edwards Deming might say: "a process out of control."  Given the market saturation of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), it should not be from a lack of infrastructure.

This lack of data prevents analysis, and therefore creates an obstacle to learning from experience.  The cycle continues and very little evidence based process improvement is achieved.

When recruiting for small populations and one-off hires, rating candidate  might be easy, but will lack meaningful insights.  However, the candidate volume in large-scale hiring makes this impractical and adds administrative burden where technology should come into play.  Building a scorable application or standardized employee selection evaluation:

  1. Outsources data entry to the candidate,
  2. Collects uniform data from all candidates
  3. Treats all candidates equally
  4. Allows for validation analysis of candidate data and job performance

After local validation the candidate’s score is the rating of quality of not hired.  Even in organizations with well developed and locally validated employee selection, hiring managers and recruiters advance and hire candidates with low scores.  We see it with our systems and I am certain we are not unique. Empirical evidence regarding job-fit is ignored, or off-set with contrasting data.  In the end, on-the-job performance is the measure of success.

What will recruiters and hiring managers do with a more subjective data set of candidate ratings?  Well, working with any data set would be better than none.  My survey shows only about 15% of companies do any analysis.

John is calling for greater analytical literacy.  It is a great call.  There are a wide range of resources for staffing practitioners who want to add more metrics of meaning.  The quality of not hired however may not be the best place to start.  You have to be ready to handle the truth.