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In this two part series we will look over the Great Candidate Quality for Quantity Debate. Does the term quantity over quality apply in the recruiting space? If necessary, are employers hiring in large quantities and slipping on their quality standards? Is this a smart practice? Part One of this series will focus on the number of candidate applications versus the quality of the candidate. Part Two highlight specific benefits of hiring quality candidates over mass hiring.  

For as long as we’ve known, the term quality over quantity was applicable in the majority of all situations faced. Recruiting is one of those industries where the majority doesn’t apply. In a lot of mass hiring situations like call centers, fast-food restaurants, and global chains where the minimum wage rules, quantity seems to play a bigger role. When working in a situation where a mass hire is necessary and the warm body syndrome takes over your workplace; it’s hard to focus on quality over quantity. During seasonal times big box retailers need to quick hire a workforce that understands they will be eventually laid off 3-4 months later. In this situation, the winner of quality vs. quantity is quantity.
The workforce in the situation described above doesn’t describe recruitment needs in every industry. When you’re recruiting for high-leveled positions it’s your job as a recruiter to source only the best candidates possible. It doesn’t help you if you have over 5,000 candidates in your pool, but only 2-3 of the candidates are qualified. When looking for your next Chief Executive or management staff, you’ll want to make sure that quality comes before quantity. Having a big pool of those wanting to be your next CEO doesn’t matter unless you have good high-level quality candidates to choose from.
So is this a smart practice? With each situation being different, this is only a smart practice when you’re looking at the types of employees your company needs. Whether it is an entry-level job or high executive, you must look at the type of investment you really want from these employees. That will tell you if you should hire quality over quantity.
Companies like Rackspace have seen triple digit increases in web traffic after the launching of their career blog, RackerTalent.com, but at the same time they saw a sharp decrease in the number of candidates that apply for open positions. Why is that, you ask? Rackspace has been able to use this blog as a way to source candidates that are only qualified for specific open positions. On a bigger scale, TalentCircles has created a way to source candidates outside of the applicant tracking system realm.
No matter what industry you’re in, you will always have to consider whether it’s more important to hire quality or quantity. There are numerous benefits when considering hiring someone who will stick with your company for a longer period of time, versus someone who you hire for a specific season or time of the year. In Part Two of this series we will discuss the specific benefits that are gained from hiring quality candidates. Part Two will go live on Thursday! Make sure to check back.
Photo Credit.


Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs.

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