Hire military and improve hiring metrics

One of my recent readings was the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute’s The Secret to Reducing Hiring Mistakes? It’s in the metrics by Dr. Rena Rasch. I encourage you to download the white paper and draw your own conclusions. For my part, I found it an interesting view of corporate recruiting as well as a telling insight into current recruiting measures and results.

The paper baselined “rehire” and I was surprised to learn that HR leaders and hiring managers would only rehire 61% of their current hires. They compared various HR metrics that contribute to this stat to determine which metrics increase or decrease hiring mistakes. Perhaps not surprisingly, metrics that focus on hiring efficiencies impacted “rehire” negatively, e.g., number of qualified candidates, time to fill position, cost of hire and promotion speed.

Some of these are easy targets. Focusing on cost per hire is straight from the race to the bottom playbook; number of qualified candidates suggests the qualifications gap is too narrow reducing the cross section of soft skills represented; time to fill is purely transactional.

In the military recruiting/hiring arena, we like to think we approach things a little differently. Rather than simply focus on producing the best stats, our ConferenceHire military hiring event process has a quarter century of producing the best matches. A key part of this success derives from the advance work that we do to make sure the right candidates and right companies are “bought in” and prepared and confirmed to show up at the same place and at the same time; another part is attributable to the subtle competition at the event whereby candidates and companies alike put their best foot forward.

Interestingly, one of the most positive contributors to good rehire – feedback from peers/co-workers – is built into our ConferenceHire process. Before the ConferenceHire event even begins, our most successful hirers have already scheduled second interview schedules/site visits: structured on-site interviews with leaders and peers as well as business casual lunch meetings. These employers assume a “getting to know you” posture that often involves the candidate’s spouse; they go all-in to impress. Likewise, on these visits we recommend the candidates pay attention to the culture and environment of the company. It’s more matchmaker than zero-sum game.

Finally, I agree that quality of hire, perhaps measured by Return On Hire (ROH), is the most important metric, although “value delivered” to the organization is more quantifiable than an employee’s performance appraisals.

For example, I placed a military-experienced process improvement engineer with a mid-sized manufacturer who in his first six months reduced production cost by nearly $1.00 per unit. His ROH was off the chart. Or the manufacturer who hired 25 Junior Military Officers (JMOs) as mid-level managers and relatively soon after was sold to a major corporation. One of the major buying points was the middle manager bench strength that the smaller company possessed. Another was the significant increase in revenue that the JMO team had already delivered.

Of course we should work to reduce non-rehires. But what about the “I wish I could hire ten just like them” hires? The HR leaders and hiring managers who see their employees as their team and business as the playing field are at a huge advantage when it comes to winning in business. In the end, employers that hire military improve hiring metrics as well.

Bobby Whitehouse


Images courtesy IBM