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Quality Hire? Why not just Ask?

Posted by Amy Wilson on March 5, 2008

As we learned in 12: The Elements of Great Managing, if you ask the right questions, you can learn an awful lot about what’s really going on.

No one can deny the importance of “Quality of Hire.” However, when I meet with organizations, they struggle to really define and measure it. Performance measurement is the most obvious. But, how many roles have accurate performance and productivity measurements after 6 months? Others consider attrition. But there are many factors that go into a termination – some, but not all, correlate to hire quality. Then there’s leave reason. I’d argue that leave reason is on the right track, but is asking the wrong question.

To ask the right questions, you really should rely on a statistical analysis (similar to my homage to Frank Reich). Until I dust off my Stats 201 hat or Gallup takes me up on my offer, here are a couple questions you could ask your terminating employee :

– What are the top 5 qualities required to be successful in the role?

– What are your top 5 qualities?

These questions help you to refine your success profile as well as identify the top “mis-match” qualities. In addition, people are more likely to answer honestly

Manager opinion is another untapped resource. Instead of relying on formal, public performance evaluations, ask the following questions to managers in a survey:

– Does your new hire meet your ramp-up expectations (at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months)?

– How does your new hire compare to other individuals in the same role?

The combination of these two perspectives can be a gold mine, providing practical, understandable actions (focus on x quality in next req, re-set ramp-up expecations).

Maybe we’ll even get better at picking candidates …


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