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April 17, 2012
Are We Measuring HR Success Correctly?
As they say, “What gets measured gets done.” It also gets our attention and guides our decision-making process. The question we need to ask ourselves, though, is: “Are we measuring the right things?”

If you’re like most recruiters, you probably carefully track reams of data like the time it takes to fill different positions and which sources the best new talent comes from. I’d question the usefulness of both, however, because “time to fill” is affected by dozens of variables like the current labor market and economy, the particular experience and skills required, the position itself, and what the employer has to offer vis-à vis the competition. (And “time to fill” is truly meaningless if the wrong person is put in the position.)

When it comes to the best sources of new talent, reams of scholarly research, and probably your own data, repeatedly confirm they are: (1) former employees, (3) internal promotion, and (3) referrals. These are “the best” because they deliver candidates we already know more (or much more) about than applicants who come from other sources.

I’d like to suggest that a better “measurement” would be to figure out which of your hiring managers have the best track record when it comes to employee selection. Depending on the size of your organization, at least one or two will stand out. Just come up with a list of the company’s best and brightest people at every level. Then check the records and see who vetted them. If there are no records of who was involved in the decision-making process, ask the employees themselves.

Don’t be surprised if the hiring managers with the best track records are already known as the organization’s shining stars. It’s almost always the case that A-players hire A-players, B-players hire C-players, and C-players hire anyone. This is why The First Commandment of Employee Selection is: “Thou shalt let only your best people interview.”1

So, find the people who have a particular talent for identifying which applicants will make great employees and then figure out how they do it. Perhaps they use a standard set of interview questions or have a personality that puts applicants at ease. Maybe they know how to sell the company so that the best people really want the job or maybe they have the ability to get meaningful references.

Once you know who these people are, do everything in your power to ensure they are a decision-maker for every position possible (because every organization is “only as strong as its weakest link.”

Then you’ll want to see if you can duplicate the “intangibles” that account for their achievement. Have them teach their methods and their mindset to the rest of your hiring managers. Organize a training session and role play interviews, ask trainees and trainers to share “real life” scenarios, and include time for a Q&A. (Then ensure this knowledge is captured and shared with every new hiring manager who comes on board.)

In sum, the fastest way to improve the success of your hiring process (and your entire organization) is to identify those who already know how best to “take the measure of a man” (or woman).

[1] For a complimentary copy of “The 10 Commandments of Hiring and Employee Retention,” email lhamel@humetrics.com with “10 HER” in the subject line.

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Mel Kleiman is a speaker, trainer, consultant, and author on strategies for hiring and retaining the best employees. He is also a Certified Speaking Professional and the president of Humetrics, a leading developer of systems and tools for employee recruiting, selection, and retention. You can reach Mel at (713) 771-4401 or via mkleiman@humetrics.com, www.Humetrics.com, and www.KleimanHR.com.
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