Here is a universal plain and simple truth: What you measure is what you get. But a better statement, from the historian H. Thomas Johnson, is: “Perhaps what you measure is what you get. More likely, what you measure is all you’ll get. What you don’t (or can’t) measure is lost.”
In hiring, can we live with what is lost?
We cannot and need not. Let me explain why.
It’s an unfortunate reality that the most important outcomes in life are almost always extremely hard to measure. Take education: It’s like having a kid who is studying for a test on facts that she could simply Google, when what really matters is her complex problem-solving skills that can’t be easily tested. Or take economic measures: Strip mining your country could increase GDP in the short-term, while ruining your long-term future. Or the weather: How many times have you cancelled your planned outdoor activities because it was supposed to rain, when it ended up being a gorgeous blue-sky afternoon?
The Failure of Traditional Hiring Metrics
In hiring, the traditional measures are time and cost to hire. Lower is better, right? Sure, all else equal. But in reality, all else is rarely equal. If you are able to fill an opening in an hour for $10, but the new employee steals all your trade secrets and sells them to your biggest competitor, is the low cost and time worth it?
While that is a seemingly unlikely scenario, this situation does in fact play out every day all over the world. Time and cost to. . .