At one point in my career, a few years ago, I ran two separate recruitment teams which managed all permanent and contract recruitment at two separate organisations. They were big operations, hiring in total around 3,500 permanent hires per annum, and running contractor books worth literally in the tens of millions of pounds (get me).

The amount of money that was being spent by the employer organisations was pretty substantial (depending on your perspective of course). And to back up the value of their spend, my team spent many hours every month preparing colossal packs of management information to demonstrate how excellent we were being at filling lots of jobs. Yet despite all of this information, both clients were interested only in two statistics: cost-per-hire (CPH) and time-to-hire (TTH).

Now I understand why this was the case, at least to an extent. Keep the unit prices down and you have a cost-effective solution which is – hopefully – creative and intelligent in the way in which it sources and assesses incoming talent. And if you can provide hiring managers with high-quality candidates quickly, then they will make an offer correspondingly promptly.

But there’s the small matter of the cost-time-quality triangle. Simple principle: if you have a triangle with cost, time and quality as the sides, then the ideal balance is an equilateral triangle, giving you a mix of the right amount of each of these values. If you want a quality product at a reasonable price delivered within a sensible timescale, go equilateral.

If, however, you start reducing – say – cost, then quality will only be maintained if you accept a longer timescale (who’s going to rush to do a quality job if they are being paid less?). Reduce cost and time, and quality goes out of the window.

So here I am, with two teams, recruiting thousands of people a year, but being asked to maintain quality whilst at the same time doing the job faster and for less money. Guess what? It didn’t work.
CPH and TTH are a snapshot, at the most superficial level, of how your process is working and being managed. But what really brought home to me the biggest problem with these bluntest of measurement instruments was just how frequently we’d be hiring people into the same seats vacated by people we had previously – and often quite recently – hired. Surely, if we spent more time measuring the quality and fit of each hire, with metrics driven from performance reviews, the talent management function and staff retention (another blunt instrument in truth, but effective in conjunction with other dimensions), we would have a clearer picture of the value that effective, intelligent resourcing really adds to an organisation.

It’s not a quick solution, but it is the right one, and the medium to long-term benefits are huge. Not only will your employer brand benefit, but much more importantly your bottom line will improve. Fact. Contact us if you’d like to know more.