People analytics
Ettie Holland By Ettie Holland on 19.02.2021
Talent Acquisition | 9 Min Read

Everything high-volume recruitment teams need to know about quality-of-hire.

Improving quality-of-hire is a central challenge for high-volume recruitment. Moreover, low quality-of-hire is intimately linked to high attrition, which then, in turn, damages your employer brand. Which makes it harder to recruit higher quality hires.

Also, there’s the cycle. One you’re intimately familiar with.

However, it’s hard to know how to change things. Especially since nobody agrees how to measure quality-of-hire in the first place.

We’ve got your back. Here’s everything high-volume recruiters need to know about measuring, then improving, quality-of-hire.

How to measure quality-of-hire

Quality-of-hire is probably the most debated metric in recruitment. LinkedIn report , only 33% of global companies believe they measure quality-of-hire very well. That drops to only 23% in the UK.

That’s despite the fact that both SMEs and enterprises believe quality-of-hire is their single most important recruitment metric. (For 45% and 39% of businesses respectively).

The fact is, we all care about quality-of-hire but quality-of-hire isn’t so easy to measure. We need to pin down how we’re measuring before we can talk about improving our results.

Performance evaluation

Some 51% of businesses measure quality-of-hire through performance evaluations, LinkedIn say. That makes sense. How have new hires actually performed at the job you hired them for?


Another 48% measure quality-of-hire longer-term by looking at their retention or turnover stats. Again, that makes sense. Hires who leave quickly are hardly the best for your business.

Hiring manager satisfaction

Finally, 41% of businesses measure quality-of-hire by evaluating hiring manager satisfaction. A sound principle – high-quality hires tend to make for happy managers.

However, there’s a big but.

All three are post-hire metrics. In the case of retention or turnover, they’re significantly long-term. Which means, although we tend to think of quality-of-hire as a hiring metric, it’s about more than hiring great people.

Let’s say you hire Kelly.

You’re impressed. She’s fantastic. But then things go downhill fast. She misses her first performance targets. There’s a personality clash with her manager. So eventually she leaves, before finishing probation.

Metrics show Kelly was a poor-quality hire. However, perhaps, she wasn’t. Maybe she was an excellent hire who didn’t get enough training.

Or, say you hire Sam.

He’s fantastic – a rare find. Absolutely perfect; talented and oodles of management potential. He starts – and then a week later gets headhunted and leaves.

That’s not a quality-of-hire issue. That’s an engagement issue. If your company had ticked all his boxes, he wouldn’t have left.

The point is, to improve quality of hire, you need a holistic perspective. It’s not just about identifying and hiring better people. It’s about retaining those people and empowering them to become star performers.

Let’s look at tactics to do those three things.

Ten ways to improve quality-of-hire in high-volume recruitment

#1 – Work backwards to define ‘quality’

You can’t hire quality people unless you know what quality looks like for your business. Use your current high-performers to reverse-engineer what works.

Some things won’t surprise you (like, being resilient and confident; having previous experience in your industry) but don’t make assumptions because some things will. Perhaps one of your shy, no-experience entry-level salespeople now commands a whole call centre, for example.

Unpick trends, and you’ll get the insight you might never have guessed.

Also, identify outside the box talent pools, and you’ll have less competition. So you’ll increase quality-of-hire AND make hiring easier.

#2 – Reassess job descriptions

It’s high-volume recruitment: you’re pushed for time, and you get hundreds of applications for each role. Your job ads are fine. Right?

So you repost an ad you’ve used a hundred times. Or you publish internal job descriptions as soon as they’ve been signed off.

Except, what if you could get fewer applications – but of higher quality? So recruitment takes less time, and your recruitment ratios improve dramatically.

Job adverts are a sales tool, sitting at the top of your sales funnel. They define the quality and quantity of people you bring in.

A great job advert:

  • Is an advert, not a job description
  • Compels. It puts itself in applicants’ shoes, to sell the opportunity
  • Highlights who shouldn’t apply, not just who should
  • Outlines a flavour of key responsibilities but isn’t an overwhelming list
  • Thinks carefully about nice-to-haves versus must-haves
  • Is unbiased – it doesn’t rule out great people
  • Is unique – rewritten for new roles, and refreshed regularly
  • Shares all the crucial information applicants need to decide
  • Includes a clear call-to-action, telling applicants how to apply
  • Brings your culture to life; paints a picture of your business

#3 – Build a robust referral program

SHRM say referrals delivered 30% of all hires in 2016, leaping to 45% for internal hires. That makes referrals employers’ top source of hire.

Moreover, referral hires have better interview-to-hire conversion rates. They’re a better cultural fit. They’re better performers who stay with you longer. Also, they’re cheaper and faster to hire.

In other words, increasing referrals is a significant way to improve quality-of-hire. And recruiting at volume means your network is much larger than other recruiters’.

Imagine if every applicant, candidate and employee referred one contact. You’d be inundated with high-quality hires for a fraction of the cost.

#4 – Assess for cultural fit earlier

Cultural fit is crucial to quality-of-hire, but we often neglect it in the high-volume recruitment world. With volume targets demanding attention, bums on seats can become the bigger priority.

However, cultural fit really matters. Arguably it’s the most important thing, especially at entry-level.

But your recruitment processes probably don’t prioritise cultural fit.

Like, if telephone interviews are your first touchpoint. It’s impossible to assess cultural fit over the phone. However, you can’t invite everyone to face-to-face. Also, an assessment day isn’t always cost-effective.

So some fantastic people slip through the net. And some not-worth-interviewing people slip through the other way, and waste everyone’s time.

A great alternative – which many high-volume recruitment teams embrace – is video interviewing. Video interviewing replaces telephone interviewing, to save you tens, if not hundreds, of hours on admin and scheduling. Candidates love it because it’s super convenient.

However, most importantly, you assess cultural fit much earlier in the process. So cultural fit can guide your decision-making and ensure you’re only seeing real contenders face-to-face.

So you bring higher-quality people into the business, faster and with less hassle.

#5 – Improve your interview technique

To improve quality-of-hire, your interviews must help candidates put their best foot forward. So you have an accurate, unbiased insight to inform recruitment decision-making.

Poor interviews don’t coax candidates from their shell. They don’t encourage honest answers. They don’t give you a depth of insight – where you make quality-of-hire gains.

TED Ideas recommends questions that explore candidates’ character. Like their favourite, “What are the one or two traits from your parents that you most want to ensure you and your kids have for the rest of your life?”

A face-to-face interview is your chance to uncover greater insight about candidates– not just whether they’re polite on the phone and good under pressure. Ask questions that provoke reflection; not regurgitation, and you’ll better understand which hires are perfect for your business.

Unconscious bias is also a biggie. Are you inadvertently prejudiced against some candidates? Unconscious bias could drive your highest-quality hires away, without you even realising.

#6 – Test candidates

Deeper insight is important – but so are the basics.

  • Can this candidate actually do the job?
  • Will they be a good ambassador?
  • Will they rub along with their team?
  • Do they have enough relevant education?
  • Are they legally allowed to work?

In high-volume recruitment, you spend a vast proportion of time finding the answers to these questions. And these questions are vital.

However, there’s a better way. Instead of endlessly chasing forms or wasting time with cursory questions, you can automate the process with testing software.

So you can spend your valuable face-to-face time asking more incisive questions.

Plus, using testing software allows you to eliminate inconsistency and get more accurate answers.

You know, inconsistency like when Rachel interviews right before lunch when she’s grumpy and starving. Or when Lena’s just got engaged and is convinced everyone’s just fabulous. The normal inconsistencies that come from any recruitment team – but hinder decision-making, so you can’t reliably spot your best-quality candidates.

With Tazio's Online Assessments, we help you pre-build your interview process and pre-define questions. You can assign scores to answers and the system can auto-score, or if you’re requesting video answers, you can review and score on a simple slider.

All scores are then collated, summarised and presented in beautiful graphs, so you can easily, quickly see where candidates rank against your pre-set competency framework. (The platform is entirely configurable to your unique processes, whatever you need).

Plus you can set killer questions that automatically reject candidates before they waste their, or your, time (like visa requirements or education).

The result is, you can identify your highest-quality candidates faster.

#7 – Boost your employer brand

The stronger your employer brand, the better quality the candidates who’ll apply. Employer brand is the most powerful tool in your quality-of-hire toolbox.

However, it often falls by the wayside in the high-volume recruitment world.

Because one, when you’re talking to hundreds of applicants, the candidate experience can be the first thing to suffer. However, candidate experience is intimately linked to employer brand.

Disgruntled, frustrated candidates don’t leave with a good impression. Moreover, that’s the message that gets passed along. So soon, your negative reputation means job-seekers are less likely to apply.

60% of job seekers report a negative candidate experience , HCI say. And 72% share that negative experience online. Also, 55% of job seekers avoid your company because of those negative reviews.

And two, because high-volume recruitment and high-attrition often come hand-in-hand. Disgruntled, frustrated ex-employees don’t leave with a good impression either.

Protecting your brand image in a high-volume recruitment, high-attrition employment world is challenging. But here are some things you can do:

  • Communicate throughout the recruitment process
  • Automate notifications/process updates for candidates
  • Streamline your process – like with video interviewing software
  • Give everyone feedback, however rudimentary
  • Make applying easy – and mobile
  • Run regular check-ins with employees, to flag potential issues
  • Conduct exit interviews to uncover issues and make employees feel heard
  • Create content to bring your employer brand to life
  • Leverage employees by asking for testimonials
  • Encourage positive social media use at work– it’s free, easy content

#8 – Assess your retention program

If you’re using the seven tactics above, you’re hiring some great people. Now you need to hold onto them. Or you’ll get artificial low quality-of-hire stats when your problem isn’t quality-of-hire – it’s engagement and retention. (Remember Kelly and Sam).

Here are some things to consider:

  • Benchmark regularly to ensure your salary is competitive
  • Think outside-the-box with benefits. Is flexibility an option? Job sharing?
  • Build a performance-linked incentive program to inspire motivation
  • Train better supervisors – in this environment, a good boss is huge
  • Show you care about employee growth, with regular check-ins
  • Keep your finger on the workforce pulse, to nip any issues in the bud
  • Run social events – put effort into building a cohesive culture

With Tazio's Online Assessments, you can deliver employee surveys through a branded employee dashboard, and the results are collated and presented in one place for review. The module comes with templates for engagement surveys, or you can add an unlimited number of your own questions, to suit your processes. It’s a proven platform to increase engagement at scale.

#9 – Onboard new hires for success

The average employer loses 17% of new hires within 90-days due to poor onboarding. Some estimates say 25% of all turnover happens in the first 45-days . In a high-attrition space, you could be looking at much more.

Introduce formal onboarding, and you’ll enjoy 54% greater new hire productivity, 34% faster. And 77% of new hires who hit their first performance milestone had formal onboarding, which makes onboarding a huge quality-of-hire driver.

And manager satisfaction increases by 20% when their employees have formal onboarding training. That’s another way you’re measuring quality-of-hire. And here’s the trifecta. Onboarding drives 50% greater new hire retention.

To improve quality-of-hire, you can’t afford to neglect onboarding. Also, if you’re using Tazio's Online Assessments, we’ll show you how to build and automate the process effortlessly, so it doesn’t drain your time.

#10 – Review your training processes

A poor training program hurts quality-of-hire in two ways:

1) People leave, impacting your turnover

LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning report 2018 finds , 68% of employees want to learn at work. Also, 94% would stay with your company longer if you invested in their career.

High-volume businesses sometimes neglect training because they accept high attrition as merely the cost of doing business. However, neglecting training is driving high attrition.

2) People stay but aren’t productive, impacting performance

The Association for Talent Development found companies with comprehensive training programs, enjoy 218% higher income per employee and 24% higher profit margin, than companies without formal training.

Training feels like a prohibitive cost, especially in a high-attrition space. But it’s proven, again and again, to pay back dividends.

Invest more in training, and you’ll keep your best people and empower them towards even better performance: that’s quality-of-hire.

Quality-of-hire is about quality-of-process

High-volume recruitment can become a negative cycle, where high quantity demands mean quality suffers, which drives high-attrition, which damages employer brand and makes it harder to hire better people.

High-volume recruiters can break the cycle by taking a holistic view of quality-of-hire that looks beyond hiring, into engagement and retention too.

When you take that bigger picture perspective, you impact quality-of-hire at every touchpoint from defining job adverts to interview technique, from onboarding to training.

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