I was talking with an old friend the other day about the changes that have taken place in the hiring industry since 2000. Our unanimous conclusion was that very little had changed.

The big issue was that despite all of the new technology and doing things more efficiently, quality of hire has not improved overall. Equally troublesome, despite all of the changes there are still millions of jobs that stay unfilled, the underemployment rate is still staggering and the employment disengagement rate is exactly the same--a dismal 68%.

The only things that have changed are that companies have hired more recruiters, they've invested heavily in new technology, they've expanded their talent pools, have decided the candidate experience is important and they spend less on external search fees. Offsetting this is the fact that too many unqualified candidates apply to every opening, companies are still using skills-laden job descriptions to weed out the weak, hiring managers are still disengaged, and recruiters don't have time to talk with those candidates who want career moves.

What gives?

One obvious conclusion is that once everyone has the same hiring tools, uses the same job boards, implements the same processes and has access to all of the same people on LinkedIn, they will pretty much get the same results. In this type of HR vendor-driven environment getting better depends on your employer brand, who adopts the new technology first and who has the best recruiters and the most engaged hiring managers. In this same ol' same ol' world, cost and efficiency become the measures of success, not improvement in quality of hire.

I contend that in order to improve quality of hire you first need to measure it long before the person is hired and then control it at every stage in the hiring process until the person is hired. To make sure you're doing the right things, you then need to compare these predicted measures of quality of hire after the person is hired. The reason is obvious: If you don't keep track of what's happening in real time you don't know if what you're changing is working or not.

Given this, here's what I've been using for the past 30 years to measure and control quality of hire.

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The Performance-based Hiring Job Fit Index shown in the graphic describes seven factors that accurately predict a new hire's on-the-job performance. The five lighter shaded factors represent a candidate's ability to do the work required. The two darker shaded circles represent the person's motivation to do the work. Both sets of factors must be true in order to ensure your "yes" hiring decision is the right one.

Using the Performance-based Hiring Job Fit Index

A person needs to score high on all of these factors in order to be considered a strong hire.

Comparable Results. It's important to assess a candidate against the performance expectations of the job. This is the most important factor, and without this as the benchmark, quality of hire is impossible to measure, predict or control.

Talent and Ability. While a person needs to possess basic skills, these need to be assessed in combination with the person's ability to learn new skills and their upside potential.

Quality of Work and Trend of Growth. An upward trend of growth handling bigger projects is a good predictor of performance. High quality work is a good substitute for those who have slowed their ascent.

The Achiever Pattern. The best people are assigned more important tasks and to more important teams, they get promoted faster, win awards and/or receive special recognition. A pattern like this indicates a person is in the top 25% of his/her peer group.

Managerial and Cultural Fit. Good people underperform when their styles clash with the hiring manager or they don't fit the culture. Both of these factors can be accurately assessed by defining the specific culture and the hiring manager's leadership style.

These five conditions must all be true before hiring someone and, while necessary, they're not sufficient to predict job performance. These two additional candidate-facing conditions must also be true.

Job Fit. The work itself must be intrinsically motivating or the candidate will quickly become disengaged.

Career Move. A career move must provide a minimum 30% non-monetary increase. This is the sum of job stretch (a bigger job), job growth (the rate of increase in opportunity) and job satisfaction (a richer mix of more satisfying work).

I'd hate to meet my old friend in five years to discuss what's improved when it comes to hiring people, and the answer is still "not much." It won't be if this type of Job Fit Index is used both as a starting point and as a roadmap for getting better.