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The Critical Importance of Building ROI Before you Hire

Updated: Oct 4, 2021



There’s a big problem with recruiting.

The team needed someone yesterday, they tell you. Not today, not tomorrow, but yesterday.

Time is not on your side.

The more time it takes, the more frustrated the hiring manager gets and you hear about it.

No candidate seems to align with the hiring manager’s wants and you feel like you need to magically mold someone to fit.


And so, you continue to post the position, praying for the right person.

You ask current employees for referrals.

And you reach out to everyone you think looks good on LinkedIn.

And time keeps ticking.

And the hiring manager is frustrated it’s taking so long.

They say I will know who fits when I see them.


You see what is going on here?


With this very strategic way of recruiting (NOT), you may be wondering why this process happens over and over again?


Looking at how recruiting has evolved, I can fairly say recruiting hasn’t changed much over the last 20-plus years. The measures are still the same: cost per hire and time to hire.


Okay so full disclosure, there have been some changes. It’s called the internet. You may have heard of it. It’s something most of us can’t live without.


As I write this, Google just had their 23rd birthday. Yippee for fast access to information! Yucky for thinking the internet is helping us to find, in “real time,” the right candidate to hire. After all there is a human on the other end of our “internet” connection and humans don’t move like Amazon Prime.


In regards to the internal process, the hiring manager puts together a job description of what they want in the person who joins their team. They quickly find a job description written by a competitor and they add their own thoughts. They share it with the recruiter as a map that they feel will yield the best candidate.


This internal process looks similar across many companies. Changing the process requires looking at the problem differently. Hiring managers do want things done quickly and that is why they find an example of the job description to use for their role. After all others have hired for the same role, right?

Speed to hire is also clearly important. Survey after survey talks about speed being the most used metric. But the same surveys say quality of hire seems to be the most desired metric.

So, what is the problem companies face when recruiting talent?

You guessed it, the focus is not on the quality of a hire first, but how quickly a position can be filled.

So, if recruiters are expected to go into low hanging fruit mode to fill the position as quickly as possible, is quality definitely assured for the company and the finalist candidate?

When you think of anything you do quickly for the sake of speed, do you see quality as an outcome regularly?

In the hiring process, companies want to find the best person for the role, but most of the time the person hired is readily accessible in our community or circle of connections (which is a speedy hire). The candidate fits the wants (or skills listed on the job description) of the hiring manager. This in turn is expected to fill the needs of the company or of the hiring manager.

Important definitions to keep in mind:

Definition of want: A desire for something

Definition of need: Circumstances in which something is necessary, or that requires some course of action; necessity.

Unfortunately, what tends to be lost in translation is looking at what the finalist candidate needs to accomplish. What will the successful candidate bring to the table to accomplish the outcome, initiative, innovation, or growth? What specifically is necessary in that particular role?


Going back to quality of hire… why is it important?


Companies have been trying to figure out how to put metrics around the quality of an employee. It seems complicated and companies feel differently about what quality of hire means or how it should be measured. Some companies look at some or all of these qualities: retention, engagement, how a person is evaluated by the leadership, promotions, or other factors. Also, a person’s value to a company and/or team needs to be evaluated over time and that complicates determining quality as a metric even more.


There is an easier way to quantify quality which is looking at return on investment (ROI). Don’t companies evaluate ROI all the time? Shouldn’t employees fall within that category? Shouldn’t the role have a quantifiable goal and the candidate be measured against the cost of their service versus the goal of the role?


It makes it easier to align a qualified candidate to the goals of the company.


How do you build in ROI before you hire?


When we help our clients hire talent, we are consistently helping them hire individuals with unique backgrounds. These candidates are pivotal in a company’s growth or initiatives. The system we use includes determining what the finalist candidate should look like. Not what skills they have, but what they will look like. We work through visualizing the candidate that will be successful in the role, if you are interested in trying this click here.


The next step is to write a job description that attracts the candidate “needed” for everyone’s success (the candidate, the company, and the hiring manager). This is not just a formal document with a list of skills that the hiring manager or team thinks they want. It is what the company and team need.


We focus on ROI. Focusing on what is going to bring the most return on investment to the company with the right finalist candidate being in the role.


Here’s an example of a real-life scenario: A company has a product they want to build. They don’t have the expertise to build it on the team, right now. They need to hire someone with skills that no one else on the team has.


In the old way of doing things the company would put out a job description with the skills needed and people will apply with those skills. About 1% to 2% potential candidate populations sees the posting and about 10% of that 1 to 2% apply.


The new way would be to spend a bit more time to determine who has been building successful products that are like the companies. Mapping the talent landscape looking at who has been coming up with solutions that are driving or making their company the type of revenue the hiring company is looking to make. Uncovering talent that has accomplished similar results and will get the company to their goal quicker.


This recruitment strategy takes a little more time and a bit more digging to understand the talent market, but in the end, it brings a higher return/ROI and saves time in the future by meeting the company’s goals sooner


It is the old concept of value: “if I give you a dollar and you give me two, I will gladly give you as many dollars as I can to double my money.”


That’s why building ROI into the hiring process is of critical importance.





TLR Search helps energy, EPC, and chemical company's hiring managers gain talent market share by bringing strong diverse talent to their door, while inspiring potential new team members to picture their future possibilities; especially with hard to fill positions. We’re a woman-owned recruitment firm that partners with clients to assist them in placing decision-makers at executive levels, supervisors in functional management positions, and experienced professionals in technical roles.