An enterprising HR director compares the quality of his new hires to the source from which they were found (emphasis is mine):
I, like all of you, believed and kept hearing that employee referrals were the best source of hire from a quality perspective. However, I had difficulty finding data that actually backed that up. Being analytical, this was important to me. So we started measuring Quality of Hire from a Source of Hire perspective globally. The results are interesting:
-The #1 ranking for quality hires: former employees. This makes sense. Former employees have experience with the company. They understand the culture, and have a desire to return. So naturally are likely to stick around.
-The #2 ranking for quality hires: passive candidates. These are people who are not looking for jobs and have been sourced by our internal recruiters. Generally, passive candidates are usually happy to lukewarm about their jobs, or are possibly too passive to make a change.
-#3 ranking for quality hires: employee referrals. Referrals are not at the top but they still score impressively. More importantly, referrals account for a much greater percent of our new hires than former employees and passive candidates.
-#4 quality hires: staffing agency hires. Most of our agency hires are in the EMEA region and have proven to be pretty good from a quality perspective.
-#5 quality hires: contractor conversions. This one surprises me. I was of the impression that the “try before you buy” credo was a good one, as contractors could assimilate into the company culture and there were no surprises regarding expectations.
–#6 quality hires are job boards. Disappointing, as this is an easy source to advertise and mine candidates and has also been our second-largest source for external hires behind employee referrals.
There was a 10 percent variance between the fourth-best source (agencies) and the best (former employees), so not a huge difference in the top four sources and quality of hire. However, contractor conversions and job board hires trailed former employee hires by 20% and 25% respectively, thus resulting in a trend of unsatisfactory hires from these two sources.
A job seeker can’t will herself to become a former employee (#1 source) or a passive candidate (#2 source), so that leaves option #3, the internal employer referral, as the best option available. Furthermore, despite preferring talent from other sources, internal referrals are the most common way they found new hires.
So job seekers, make the best out of what’s available to you (just like MacGyver would). Applying via job boards is convenient and feels efficient, but online applicants only gain consideration when internal referrals fail. So, become the internal referral yourself and jump the line. It isn’t difficult — it just takes focus — and it’s far easier than watching those who are internal referrals hog all of the interviews.