Monday, February 18, 2013

Are we Measuring The Right Things

Today's Post is from ILSHRM Regular Contributor John Hudson. John is currently an HR Manager with Discovery Communications and Harpo Studios in Chicago and has over 15 years of experience in the Human Resources field.  He provides consultation and expertise in the areas of performance management, employee development, employee relations, compensation and recruiting.   John has also worked in the insurance and consumer products environments supporting various departments including IT, Finance and Operations.  John has a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Indiana University and the SPHR certification. Follow him @johnphudson@johnphudson on Twitter
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HR is all about numbers and metrics these days. Just pick up any issue of SHRM HR magazine, and it’s clear we are measuring and tracking everything we do. But there are some things we have traditionally measured to show we are saving money, that may actually be costing the company more in the long term. The “time to fill” metric, for example, drives behaviors that go against what recruiters and HR professionals are paid to dofind the most qualified candidate.
The Ladders” did a study that theorizes a recruiter spends about 6 seconds reviewing a resume. Yes, I know, we are all “Super Recruiters,” but how do we know we aren’t scanning through some candidates who may be the most qualified for your job? Common sense would say a candidate’s job title is viewed in one of those 6 seconds and a Marketing Manager may be passed over in favor of a VP of Marketing. By looking a few seconds longer, that Marketing Manager may be overseeing a 4 million dollar budget, while the VP is responsible for a $500k budget.

We need to spend more time understanding what a candidate is actually doing for their organization. Pick up the phone, send an email, tweet ‘em, or LinkedInMail ‘em. We owe it to our hiring managers and organizations to do this. So what if there are 500 applicants to sift through. How many qualified candidates are overlooked due to one HR person’s perception of a job title or a resume type?  

As recruiters and HR professionals, one of our main responsibilities is to find the most qualified candidate, period. Unfortunately, we reward behaviors by analyzing metrics like “time to fill” and making sure a job is closed as quickly as possible.  I know, I know, the longer the job is open, the more production, and more importantly, the more money, is lost. How much more money is lost, though, by making the wrong hire? I know we all measure that.

Managers need positions filled quickly, but they also need the most qualified candidate. We need to take time to explain our overall process to the hiring manager. Spend time upfront explaining. Set the expectation that while it may take a little longer, the time will produce the most qualified candidate, and a better hire, for the organization. A few extra minutes exploring the candidate’s background can make a difference. After all, that is what we are paid to do.

Metrics are important. We need them to validate the work we are doing and to show the value we are adding. We need to make sure these metrics are reinforcing the right behaviors, though. Just because we have always measured “time to fill” doesn’t mean we are getting the desired result. It’s time to rethink what we have traditionally measured and make sure it is ultimately producing what the company needs. John P. Hudson