There’s the old saying that you can only manage what you can measure. In many aspects of business – and recruiting is no exception – this has unfortunately snowballed into a belief that the more things you measure, the more effective your management will be. But what if the act of measuring something actually prompts staff to act in ways that aren’t in the wider interests of the business? Or distracts attention away from what’s really important by creating an artificial focus on something else?
Don’t believe this could happen? Well think again! Here are just a handful of examples from the world of recruiting. You can probably think of a great many more:
Focusing on reducing time to hire
Hitting weekly targets for the number of candidate interviews scheduled
Driving down agency recruiter rates
Now at the risk of sounding like a turkey voting for Christmas, let’s think for a moment of the outcomes that would mean a company’s recruitment process was really succeeding! Surely a truly successful company would want to see:
It isn’t hard to imagine that such a company would spend less than the competition on recruiting. Staff would stay longer and be more productive during the course of their tenure. Winning over the best candidates would become ever easier thanks to the growing legions of internal employer brand advocates and the enthusiasm that would greet potential new hires whenever they came into contact with someone from the business.
But here’s the interesting thing. Most of the above traits can’t be readily measured – and certainly not in the short-term timescales on which recruiters are normally assessed. So they receive a disproportionately low share of recruiters’ attention. Instead the focus is on minimising remuneration costs; commoditising recruitment agency costs; hiring as quickly as possible. Results that can be measured, tracked and finessed. But at what ultimate cost?
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