Evaluating Hiring Managers: Can They Deliver Top Talent?

I recently heard a quote from Simon Sinek where he said, “Good hiring managers get it right most of the time (but still make mistakes), and bad hiring managers get it right none of the time.”

This got me thinking: hiring managers really do play a critical role in an organization's success. They are entrusted with the task of selecting people who not only meet the immediate needs of the company but contribute to its long-term growth. They are tasked with delivering top talent.

You’re probably nodding in agreement thinking I’m stating the obvious, but worryingly, I have a lot of conversations with Talent Acquisition teams who aren’t confident in their hiring managers’ ability to recognize and select top talent. So, the big question is: Can they actually deliver? Well, I wanted to find out.

When I started to dig in, it struck me how few companies are evaluating the hiring performance of their managers, let alone using data to lead their hiring efforts. After all, how hard can it be to ask questions like:

Who are the managers that pick the applicants that go on to succeed? Who hires top performers? Who doesn’t? What are the behaviors of top hiring managers?

To me, the need to identify managers who can pick top employees is important, so here are some thoughts on how we can do that:

How to measure the effectiveness of hiring managers

1.) Begin with what the data tells you. Some key metrics include: 

  • Time-to-fill: a shorter time-to-fill generally indicates an efficient hiring process, but it should be balanced with the need for quality hires. Long delays in hiring may suggest inefficiencies and indecision. 
  • Offer acceptance rate: calculate the percentage of candidates who accept job offers after receiving them. A low acceptance rate may indicate that the hiring manager is not effectively closing candidates or that there are issues with the offer itself.
  • Diversity metrics: evaluate the diversity of candidates hired by each hiring manager. A good hiring manager should actively seek diverse candidates to promote a more inclusive workplace. 
  • Retention rates: keep tabs on the proportion of individuals hired by each manager who depart within the initial 90 days, 6 months, and 12 months. If you observe a departure rate ranging from 15-20% during this timeframe, it may be time to dig in.

2.) Collect feedback from candidates. Ask candidates about their experience during the hiring process. A high candidate satisfaction rate suggests that hiring managers are conducting interviews and communication effectively, which can enhance your employer brand.

3.) Look at performance reviews. Review the performance of employees hired managers over time. Are they meeting or exceeding job expectations? Are they contributing positively to the organization? Are there trends on a per manager or per department basis?

4.) Review hiring managers talent development abilities. Over time, look at the career progression of the employees they’ve hired. Have their employees been promoted up the ladder over time? How many people hired at the entry level have moved into leadership positions? Successful hiring managers should also be good coaches that can be instrumental in helping others move ahead.

Why is effective hiring SO important

People are the most important building blocks of a business. To a large part, they deliver success (or failure). The importance of effective hiring is clear:

1.) Productivity: Hiring individuals who are a good fit for their roles and the company's culture enhances overall organizational performance. Employees who are well-suited to their positions tend to be more motivated, engaged, and productive.

2.) Cost Savings: Effective hiring reduces employee turnover. The cost of this is huge (up to ~$240k per person according to Jörgen Sundberg). Think about the cost of recruiting, training, and lost productivity. When hiring managers are successful, it minimizes the need for frequent replacements.

3.) Leadership Development: Effective hiring identifies individuals with leadership potential, helping organizations build a pipeline of future leaders. This is crucial for succession planning and ensuring the continuity of leadership within the organization.

4.) Competitive Advantage: Organizations that consistently make effective hires gain a competitive advantage in the market. A skilled and engaged workforce leads to better products and services, more satisfied customers, and a stronger position relative to competitors.

5.) Employee Engagement: Great colleagues make for a more successful company: There’s plenty of research that shows effective hiring practices boost morale and engagement, leading to a more positive workplace culture.

Measuring the effectiveness of hiring managers is a strategic approach that not only helps organizations make better hiring decisions but also contributes to long-term success, cost savings, and a more engaged workforce.

Here at Pillar, we believe hiring manager success starts with the interview. If you’re looking for ways to improve your interview process, drop me a line here, and we can discuss.


Mark Simpson
CEO & Founder