These days, hiring people is all about quality, not quantity. In decades past, companies hired large numbers of people, especially during lengthy periods of economic growth. Then, when the economy tightened, many companies had to let people go. Then, the process started again. In recent years, most companies have learned their lessons: Rather than hire large numbers of average employees and then downsize them later on, savvy employers are now judiciously hiring a smaller number of employees, focusing on the highest quality they can get, and then working hard to retain them.