Why do some managers insist on measuring everything in the recruiting process? I think that metrics can be demoralizing and can affect a person's way of doing things, sometimes making them less effective. If I know that I can get better results by following my gut instinct, I will do so. Perhaps I will make fewer calls than my cubicle-mate. Should I skew the results by following a prototype of the ideal search? Or should I do what is right?
in yesterday’s Forum was so delicious that I couldn’t resist putting it front and center today on RBC. What is "right" in this context? And if I can outperform your expectations by doing it my own intuitive way, isn’t that the better path to follow?
As Marisa Tomei said on the witness stand in My Cousin Vinny, “It’s a trick question, Your Honor.” There are many paths to every mountain top, some longer and some shorter. But it’s foolish to climb mountains without knowing the basics of survival, don’t you think? Same thing for recruiting: there’s an art and
a science to it, and if you don’t know and practice both you’re at risk of losing your job to another recruiter who does.
Simply stated, that which is measured can be improved, and improvement drives business efficiency, productivity, and profit. Creativity and discipline are on opposing ends of a spectrum; my goal as your manager should be to instill a balance of the two.
Metrics and morale
First, let’s address your comment that metrics are demoralizing. Are you saying that if it feels bad, don’t do it? Well in that case, I'm completely justified for not going to the gym. Buck up, baby – if I’m your manager my only job is to deliver results for my employer, and I’m compensated for how well I do that. Achieving results depends on a lot of factors, such as my management style, the competence of my team, and my level of trust in your abilities. But I am definitely not here to make you feel good about what you do. You’re responsible for that.
Measure what counts
You’re right, by the way, to rail against measuring every movement of every person involved in recruiting. There is no magic formula that produces a hire every single time; so the trick is to measure what really counts. Easy to say, hard to do - but I'll tell you this: indiscriminate metrics are a sign of weak management and a transactional approach to recruiting. You know the kind – hands on, brain off.
On the flip side, well-designed metrics set a baseline for behavioral expectations in the team, and in the very best scenario they are designed to reward best practices. What counts in your environment? Whatever generates revenue or better manages resources. If, on average, 100 dials a day produces enough leads to fill a candidate and job pipeline, that’s what I’ll hold you accountable for. But I’m foolish if I don’t also concern myself with the quality and content of those calls, because dialing the phone has no earthly value unless it takes us one step closer to generating revenue. Quantity and quality. Art and science. The yin and yang, or balance, of great recruiting.
The ancient Greeks said it well, don’t you think? But even more valuable than knowing yourself in this context is your willingness to continue to overcome every obstacle in the perfection of your craft. If your natural instincts serve you well as a recruiter, then your opportunity for growth will be found in making peace with a disciplined accountability for the right numbers. The reverse is also true.
Happy recruiting, my friend!
In my day job, I’m the head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage engagement for competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here
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