At some point you've probably been asked which is better in comparison to something...quantity or quality? At face value an overwhelming number of people would rightfully choose quality. After all, isn't one great thing better than 10 that aren't very good at all?
From a business perspective, it is well known that hiring the right people to work for you is critical to your ultimate success. This topic therefore appropriately defines what your approach should be in seeking good employees...or does it? Well, of course we all want the highest quality of employee representing us in our business. Yet that is where it gets tricky based on the way most people naturally look at the hiring process. Can't something really only be defined as having the highest of quality only after it has been compared to a quantity of things that doesn't?
For instance, the typical hiring process begins when the need emerges. It is furthermore likely that need has been a sudden surprise and is subject to interrupting your business if not resolved quickly. So you post the ad. That very action alone leaves your quality of applicant subject directly to the quantity of people who might be seeking a job at the very moment you have a need. Now at the very least you can make sure to interview as many as possible from your responses to greatly improve your chances identifying the highest quality person available to you. Yet, that is often not what we do. Let's just say the first person you interview, the one that might have looked pretty good on paper, is deemed acceptable to fill the need. If you hire that person without enough comparison interviews, how do you know you have chosen the best quality. You don't without the quantity, so you compromise (and maybe pray a little). Slowing it down just a little and seeing more people despite having someone who "will do" is worth it. Doing so only means you will find someone better or you will find yourself more content with your decision after seeing all of the current options.
The real win is to put yourself in a position where you are exposed to the highest number of applicants possible over a period of time, regardless of the need. For most this is counter intuitive and certainly not without a willingness to consistently apply a process not built on short term but long term goals. The first advantage of doing this is that you more clearly define what "good and great" look like because you are seeing enough of each to identify subtle differences. Your pool to choose from expands because you are open to these conversations when your need is not imminent. This way of thinking advances you toward a willingness to upgrade your team as the better players come as opposed to simply keeping a fixed number of players on the roster. At the very least too, when those sudden turnover situations occur, you have a head start.
So the next time you get offered the choice...well, you may still say quality. Just don't lose sight of the fact that you can't truly get there without quantity, so there really is no choice...only a process.