Whether You’re Qualified Depends on How You’re Quantified
If actions speak louder than words, then deliberately measuring your own actions makes you demonstrably numerate as well as more articulate.
Brainteasers need not apply when it comes to hiring. Real-world research affirms that interview questions like How many golf balls could you fit into a school bus? “don’t predict anything” and “are a complete waste of time” for employers. Google, for one,no longer uses them. Unstructured interview questions don’t help much either.Projects and portfolios prove reliably superior predictors of professional performance.
But don’t relax just quite yet. Managerial and executive candidates prepping for interviews at places that take analytics seriously better have a good answer to a simple question: Do you self-quantify?
If actions speak louder than words, then deliberately measuring your own actions makes you demonstrably numerate as well as more articulate. Whether counting steps or counting calories, the “quantified self” movement has quickly become an important platform for people to monitor what matters to them. As one venture capitalist recently remarked to me during a conversation about workplace analytics, “I want my entrepreneurs checking their phones for something more than messages.”
Take inventory: What behaviors does your watch, wearable, smartphone and/or tablet track? Are there personal metrics you monitor daily that signal self-discipline or display dedication? Smart organizations hire for those qualities.
Would interviewers or executive recruiters be impressed by visualized calendars charting physical activity or diet over the past 30/60/90 days? Color-coded digital “to do” lists detailing tasks accomplished and next steps? Your “contact-to-close” rates with key clients and prospects? Employers monitoring people’s performance is yesterday’s managerial cliché; today’s organizations want to see how talent holds itself accountable.
After all, one can’t be data-driven without being self-aware. Companies that care about productivity and performance know this.
More importantly, serious organizations understand that self-awareness is essential to self-improvement. The entire “people analytics” movement taking root in enterprisesworldwide is predicated upon the measurable belief that people who know more about what makes them effective will do more to become more effective. Books like Laszlo Bock’s Work Rules highlight the ongoing convergence of individual and institutional efforts to quantify what works and what works in quantification. And organizations are, in turn, grappling with the kinds of tough questions that come with the ability to track more employee data.
The common denominator? Best-in-class performers are relentlessly dedicated to measurable self-improvement. Consequently, they relentlessly self-quantify. Consider the LeBron James story. In other words, if you don’t measure, you don’t count.
Individual initiative and innovation in self-quantification increasingly matter more. Personal fitness and diet obviously demand different measurement and monitoring regimes than workplace productivity (although some organizations promoting health and wellness are already asking employees to wear Fitbits and Jawbones to measure vitality.)
“We’ve just begun asking ourselves whether we should be asking candidates if they self-quantify,” says an HR executive at one of America’s largest financial services companies. “We’ve just begun using analytics more aggressively and, yes, we’ve found that our managers and employees who self-quantify are more receptive to this.”
Once upon a time, “What do you think is your biggest weakness?” was the go-to “gotcha” job interview question for MBAs, managers, and executives. Better now to ask, “How do you measure how you’re improving your biggest weakness?”
In data-driven enterprises worldwide, KPI dashboards display how the company runs. The rise of self-quantification assures it’s only a matter of time before interviewers ask you to share your KPIs, as well. Organizations aren’t just looking for qualified people; they also want quantified ones. Increasingly, you can’t be one without the other.