What Gets Measured Gets Managed

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Do you want to land more interviews? In order to gain more success in the job hunt, you need to start measuring your activities.



I love talking with people about the process of job hunting. When I talk to job hunters, I try to understand the details to a person’s job hunt. Everything from how they find opportunities, how they apply, and how much time they are spending and many more things.

One thing that I have seen over and over with successful job hunters is that they have a system for their job hunt. Many have a very well defined strategy. Not complex, but clear. Many times, they can actually explain their process step by step. Something like:

1. I look at job boards the first thing in the morning. In there, I see a job ad.

2. I read the job ad carefully.

3. I call the employer to gain more knowledge about the position.

4. I spend an hour targeting cover letter and resume.

5. I send the application.

6. I send a follow-up email after three days.

Think about your own process of job hunting, what are you exactly doing?

One thing I really like is when people have spreadsheets with all the jobs that they have been looking for. These spreadsheets usually have the company name, contact person and where the person is in the process (if they have applied for a job or not).

Why do I really like seeing these spreadsheets?

Because, as Peter Drucker famously said “What gets measured gets managed”

Let me explain. The job hunt is a process, and you are like a machine.

At the one side of the machine, you have inputs. These are things that you see and gather, like job ads, interesting companies, people you want to meet etc. Then you have the actual machine, that is you. You take action depending on the inputs that you see. You apply for jobs, you introduce yourself to interesting people and you contact companies that you find interesting. Lastly, we have outputs. These are things that happen because of your actions. Things like meetings, responses, and interviews.

We can measure both the inputs and the outputs, right? We can look at how many times you apply for a job and then we can look at the output, how many companies are inviting you for interviews. Ideally, we would like the output to be as high as possible for our efforts. The benefit of measuring the inputs and outputs is that we can start managing our time. If we see that our applications don’t lead to interviews but our networking efforts do, then what should we do? Focus on networking.

Measuring the Job Hunt

When it comes to measuring your job hunting process, you don’t need to be overly fancy. The best system is generally one that doesn’t take that much time to maintain. So, let’s start thinking about some metrics that we can use in our job hunts. Here are some that I propose for all the subcategories. For all processes, there are an input metric and an output metric.

  • Applying for jobs on job boards – # invitations to interviews / number of applications
  • Spontaneous applications – #meetings or interviews / number of applications
  • Networking – #meetings / number of business cards
  • Online Networking – #meetings / number of reach outs through email or LinkedIn
  • Personal Branding (for a blog post) – likes and comments / readers

Start to measure the inputs and the outputs. Do this for one week and then look at the statistics. This could be an example:

Applying for jobs on job boards – one interview from 20 applications = 5 %

Spontaneous applications – one meeting from 10 spontaneous applications = 10 %

Networking – one meeting from 10 business cards = 10 %

Online Networking – 0 meetings from 10 reachouts = 0 %

Personal Branding (for a blog post) – 4 likes and 0 comments / 100 readers 4 % and 0 %

Using The Numbers To Make Decisions

Having all these measurements of our job hunting makes it easier for us to start thinking about how to make the process more efficient. We can look at our different measurements and see which activies are resulting in outputs like interviews and meetings. At any given time, we have the decision to focus on whether we want to focus on a) increase the quantity or b) improve the quality of a specific part of the process.

For instance, let’s say that I am writing spontaneous applications and have a 10 % success rate. Meaning out of 10 applications, one of them lead to an interview or a meeting. In that case, I would simply just increase my quantity of applications, because I could write eight applications every day and that would mean I have 40 applications in a week. If the stats hold up, I would have 4 interviews per week consistently. This is really good.

However, if I would have zero success rate on my applications. Well, in that case I would start to think about improving the quality of the process rather than increasing the quantity. The reason for this is simple. If I never get responses it doesn’t matter if I send 100 or 10 000 applications. I see so many people saying something like “I sent hundreds of applications and never got a reply”. When I dig deeper into their process, they generally

I hear so many people saying something like “I sent hundreds of applications and never got a reply”. When I dig deeper into their process, I realize that they mean they have sent the same low-quality applications to hundreds of employers. The thing they should have tried is to increase quality, not quantity. You need some success rate in your process before you start to optimize for quantity.

Optimizing For YOU

I have no idea how the above numbers would look like for you. What your success rates would be for applications, networking, and the other activities. What I do know is this – YOU are special. You have unique strengths and weaknesses. Being a professional means leveraging your strengths and double down on them. If you are really good at getting high response rates on spontaneous applications, then focus on that. Increase the quantity there.

If you are not comfortable with offline networking. Like going to events and meeting new people, then maybe that shouldn’t be your core strategy for finding a job. Sure, you can do it as a way to move outside the comfort zone and challenge yourself. But that is a totally different thing. I am just saying, find the ways that works for you. Double down on that part.

Also, maybe you have other limitations in your current situation that makes one of these a bit problematic. For instance, if you are not close to a big city then offline networking can be hard to focus on because there are only so many events.

Another thing to take into consideration is the industry. Some industries have very strong communities of people that are working in them. For instance, the tech industry in Stockholm has events every single week where you can go and meet new people. Personally, I love these events but I find them a bit hard to squeeze into my schedule. So, I prefer online networking whenever possible.

So, think about both what you are naturally good at and also your current situation.

Summing Up

Before you go, I urge you to think about this going forward. Start to measure some of the things you do in your job hunt. Measure the inputs and the outputs. Then, revise the numbers after a week. Think about how you can increase the output or the input depending on if you need more quality or quantity.

Feel free to share your numbers with me after the week and I would be happy to look at them together and see what we can do together to make your job hunt more efficient. I want YOU to succeed.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


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One Response to “What Gets Measured Gets Managed

  • Tatyana
    7 years ago

    I think it’s so true! Having measured my job hunting actions, I realized I’d better go for spontaneous applications and networking. Potential employers feel my interest and passion and are more eager either to discuss opportunities or connect with some one else.

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