2014 is another year of modest growth for the economy and hiring. Many clients we speak with are starting to invest again in their most important asset: people. Now, we all learned our lessons from the last decade where every hire was critical, so why, oh why, is “quality of hire” being thrown out in favor of quantity of hire?
In speaking with several larger organizations in the past few months, it is evident that the focus has shifted from finding the right employees to just finding employees, and as rapidly as possible. There is growth, there are open requisitions, and there is a need to get butts in seats to help manage the expanding business. I get it: you can’t manage your growth without people, but many organizations are forgetting the cost of finding the right employee vs. the first one with a decent set of skills and an impressive resume.
Recruiting is already an expensive business. Whether you use in-house recruiters or retain outside search firms, you’re paying a premium for building a pipeline of candidates. The amount of time and money spent on a new hire is significant to the point that it may take a year or more to recoup your investment. The challenge is that many new hires won’t last that year because they may have the skills, but don’t fit the culture of your organization. At this point, you’re not managing your growth OR your bottom line.
So why has recruiting lost focus? I think one reason is that the new growth in has been focused on the operational positions needed, but not the infrastructure to support it. Many recruiting and talent acquisition groups got decimated in the past, and are now struggling to keep up with demand. I also think that some of the people who have cycled through the business are either new to the cycle we’re in or have forgotten how bad things really were; they are caught up in the momentum of new growth. The concern is that, as a whole, our economy is being driven by companies that may not have sustainable growth after all, and we could fall right back into the last decade again.
We’re asking all of you to take a stand in your recruiting and hiring strategy: change the focus back, and let’s give quantity a backseat to quality as we sustainably grow our organizations!