Don Charlton

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The recruiting process involves so much more than just posting a job description and filling an open role. It’s time to shift from reactionary recruiting to performance recruiting, an approach that first builds a profile of the ideal person for a particular role, and then pushes the recruiting team to proactively find that person through targeted screening, interviewing, and collaborative assessments.

This timing is right as companies large and small make their bids for great talent. LinkedIn’s annual global recruiter survey found hiring volume and competition rising, making it more and more difficult to recruit quality employees.

What is Performance Recruiting? 

Performance recruiting is a way to source and retain high-value employees. It is also hyper-focused on top performance, subbing in new benchmarks such as “time to performance” versus “time to hire.” Additional hallmarks:

  • Proactive: Gone is the “post-and-pray” method of job posts and passive applicant review. Performance recruiting recognizes that substandard hires can ruin a company.
  • Data-driven: Recruiters have concrete goals that incentivize a greatcandidate experience from introduction to hire and beyond, and are not rewarded for simply filling a seat.
  • Connected: Great recruiting becomes a partner in the future performance of candidates and therefore retention.

Why Performance Recruiting?

In addition to a tighter job market, it’s also a more fluid one. One study found that 71 percent of the U.S. labor force is open to a new position.

That means even a smaller company can compete for great talent by continuously optimizing the recruiting process. Companies change over time, and even jobs that follow tried-and-true practices must evolve to keep up with technology and changes in the global economy.

What this looks like on the ground can take many forms. The old way of recruiting would be to simply use the same old job description of the person who left. Looking for someone with the same skill set as their predecessor is just treading water. It’ll probably keep you alive, but it won’t get you anywhere.

With performance recruiting, the recruiter works directly with the hiring manager to identify skills gaps and anticipated needs and, instead, they work to fulfill that criteria together.

Bridging the Recruiting-Performance Gap

Anyone who has worked in recruiting or management has witnessed the recruiting-performance gap in action: You hire a rock star only to see her fizzle out because no one focused on coaching, developing, and, ultimately, retaining her. Just like that, she is gone within a year, and so is your talent acquisition investment.

This can have many causes, but you can’t manage what you don’t measure, so eliminating this gap and achieving peak employee performance is a process made far easier through the use of metrics.

Companies that want to retain the best talent look at this holistically. They connect all the data gathered during the recruitment process—candidate interviews, offers, accept rates, and more—and pair these with more long-term data on the overall success of that employee once on the job.

Metrics to consider:

  • Onboarding quality surveys
  • Manager performance reviews
  • Feedback snapshots
  • Longer-term promotion metrics

Closing the Performance Gap

At Google, quarterly OKRs—objectives and key results—transform performance tracking from a top-down yearly “check-in” to nimble, bottoms-up living document that the employee can own. Other companies have found similar successes by leveraging new approaches and technology to eliminate the gap between recruiting and performance.

Jazz offers a tool that tracks each performance criteria, allowing managers to rate performance on a spectrum from “unacceptable” to “peak.” As an employee continually improves her or his performance, the manager continually improves the performance rating.

No matter the tool you use, the bottom line is clear: It’s no longer acceptable to assume your job is done once the employee is hired. Long-term employee performance begins precisely where recruiting ends, or rather it’s one step in a much longer journey. That performance journey begins with talent acquisition, then leads to talent acceleration, and continues on with talent retention.

How are you bridging the gap between recruiting and performance?


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