How To Encourage Executive Buy-In For Quality Of Hire

Most advice on improving quality of hire will mention “getting executive buy-in” on both the importance of quality hiring and what types of people they think the organization needs or where the strategy is going.

As many recruiters know, however, getting executive buy-in for recruiting efforts can be a challenge. 

The biggest ways for a recruiter to improve their quality of hire are to do some of the following:

  • Use technology wisely
  • Look at the data: where in the hiring funnel are things dropping off?
  • Revisit the metrics associated with someone defined as a quality hire
  • Build better relationships with hiring managers

Those are the “big four” ways to improve quality of hire.

But I want to give you a slightly different way of looking at improving quality of hire. This one is about the vocabulary you use when you speak to people up in the hierarchy, from hiring managers to above.

How to reframe the discussion around hiring

First: re-define talent sourcing as a supply chain.

Executives care deeply about their supply chain. Talent sourcing is just a supply chain involving people. As a Stanford MBA working in public policy notes:

Employers are increasingly finding themselves in the “post and pray” mode, rather than having confidence that there’s a sufficient pool of quality, diverse candidates that they can recruit from. That’s why, in the last few years, employers have become much more proactive in thinking through how they really restructure the supply chain that brings them talent.

The words people use can change how others perceive the importance or relevance of an issue. For example, if you change “talent sourcing” to “supply chain for people” now there’s a bit more caring on the executive side.

Reframing the numbers around quality of hire

But you can’t just change the vocabulary. You need to change the numbers that executives will respond to. This is what you need:

  • Real costs of the hiring process, including intangible numbers around time
  • Average tenure in various roles, sorted by manager
  • Turnover numbers, sorted by manager and department
  • Salary information
  • Time-to-hire/fill relative to salary bands
  • The hit you’re taking with bad hiring and talent sourcing costs

Now you’ve changed the terms and the numbers. You’re closer to executive buy-in now.

The resulting involvement and buy-in will help you boost your quality of hire. It’s not a direct path, but simply shifting some of the words you use when speaking to different stakeholders can make a big difference in the final outcome.