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Jun 6, 2018
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

I believe it was Peter Drucker that is attributed with sharing the nugget of wisdom “what gets measured gets managed.” It’s a great quote, and in many situations, it makes a lot of sense, especially business. How do you know if you are improving if you don’t measure something? To see if you are achieving your goals you have to:

  1. Have clear goals
  2. Have a roadmap to meet those goals
  3. Employ the metrics to measure the steps to reach the goals
  4. Monitor the metrics & results
  5. Change as needed to reach goals

It’s not rocket science. It’s a proven method to set and achieve goals. Many, if not most companies, use metrics in all phases of their business, including recruitment. But what happens if you work for a company that doesn’t use metrics? How do you measure success without metrics?

What’s the Environment

For a direct hire placement firm it’s almost imperative to have metrics or KPI’s. In most of these environments, you have to make a certain number of calls to potential clients and candidates per day. And this makes sense because every candidate placed is a “deal” and generates income for the company and for you. Therefore you get metrics like the number of calls, the number of candidates placed, submittal to placement rate, time to fill, and probably most importantly, revenue generated.

In a big company with a department of recruiters, metrics should be used. Things like client satisfaction, time to fill, the source of candidates, and turnover are all potential metrics to track. Again, in a large environment like this metrics should be monitored so processes can be adjusted as needed to hit lofty company goals. This is true of most departments, not just recruiting.

In smaller companies with one recruiter many times there aren’t metrics. A recruiter might have one opening or 20 to recruit for. Many times there is one HR person who does anything related to HR, including recruiting. How do you put metrics on that? You don’t, keeping your head above water and your managers semi-happy IS success.

Success without Metrics

In an environment that doesn’t employ KPI’s or metrics, there are ways to measure success. It may not be as clear and concise, but it’s possible. Here are a few areas to think about if you are working without metrics.

Company goals – it’s always important to know the goals of the company you work for. Are they trying to grow 10% over last year? In what areas? Most importantly, what is propelling that growth and how can you help it happen? Having a clear vision of company goals will always help you in your success.

Manager satisfaction – this metric is valid in any recruiting situation. Doesn’t matter if its staffing agency, big corporate America, or Dan’s plumbing with 40 employees. You have got to have customer/client/manager satisfaction. When it’s a big operation surveys are sent out from time to time to get responses and measure it. In some situations like mine I know I’m achieving high manager satisfaction scores when I don’t hear from them and when my once a year review shows up, typically with enough comments that let me know I’m doing what’s needed.

Your satisfaction – when you work in an environment that doesn’t have metrics you have to create your own. You have to know that you are performing at the level you want to. Your satisfaction with the job you are doing becomes its metric, even if you’re the only one tracking it. When you are rocking it, you feel satisfaction in the job you’re doing. When you are feeling less than motivated, it’s probably time to look at a different way of doing things.

The impact on the business – Aligning yourself with the goals of the company and doing whatever you can to help the company achieve those goals within your role will create value for you at the company. If you are the type of person that likes to have an impact on a company’s goals, this will resonate with you. Knowing that you are contributing your part in helping the company reach goals serve as an essential internal metric. You know you are a critical component of the company success, that’s a fuzzy KPI.

Your expertise – when people begin to seek you out for your expertise you know you’re doing something right. When it happens on a regular basis, you know your knowledge and work product is providing value to the company. The time will come when you are viewed as the expert in what you do, and you are seen as a leader. At that time you’ve achieved success by anyone’s metrics.

It Doesn’t All Have To Be Measured

While I am a big believer in measuring things as a way to attain goals, it’s not a requirement. Many times the KPI’s or metrics are what’s needed, but sometimes they aren’t. When most salespeople are starting out they are required to make a certain amount of calls per week. I know some incredibly successful salespeople who make calls when they want to make them, period. And guess what? Nobody cares about how many calls they make. They are making the magic happen, and that’s what matters.

When working without metrics, it’s critical that you know the companies goals and align yourself with them. Being a critical part of the success of the company gives you all the metrics you need for success. Throw in high manager or client satisfaction, and you are good to go, the progress achieved.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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