Are Your Metrics Credible?

You’ve probably heard that your interviewer must get the answers to the following questions before you get an offer:

1. Can you do the job?

2. Will you do the job?

3. Will you fit into the organization?

The thing is that if you don’t sell the first, nobody is going to buy the second and third. So, consider this; the bottom line reason you will be hired is, well, the bottom line.
If you are a human resources executive, do I really care that you wrote a 150 page employee manual if your salary costs rose 6% in a stagnant revenue year? Or that the new employee orientation sessions got great reviews while your critical position attrition rate rose 22%?

A metric is a number and the language of business is numbers. Numbers are the proof that your skills offer value, but only if used correctly. Any number that ends in a zero or (some argue) a five is an ‘easy’ number. Easy numbers are skeptical numbers. Too many ‘easy’ numbers can distract from your bottom line contribution.

What has more impact – 50% or 49.2%? Which number has more credibility – $500,000 or $496,964? Sometimes we “round up” when leaving well enough alone sells better.
What is more credible ‘over 60%’ or ‘61.4%. This one drives me crazy. What is over 60% anyway? Is it 61%, 161% or 1661%?
Percentages are numbers, but be careful how you use these rascals. Try to equate them to dollars whenever possible. For example: ‘Developed a wellness program that decreased employee insurance claims by 12%, an average of $624 per employee per year’. The reason this is important is that we buy stuff with money, not percent. If you have trouble with this then, on your way home this evening, stop by your favorite grocery store and try to buy a pound of butter with 12%. The checker will look at you like a goat looking at a wrist watch.

If you can’t measure what you’ve done in the language of business, what have you done? Using credible numbers can be the one thing that differentiates you from your competition.

Be different. Be better. Or be cheaper.

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