I LOVE how people misuse metrics. One of the best books around was required reading in my Stats 101 class, titled How to Lie with Statistics. It’s a great, fast read.
On my Jason Alba blog I wrote a post titled FAKE METRICS. I differentiate between signups, users and upgrades (and the old term, “hits”), and say that most companies are calling their signups USERS when they should really call them signups (since someone might signup, and then never come back and USE the system).
Alas, business nomenclature to confuse or mislead, and create hype.
On TechCrunch, more than two years after my post, Erick Schonfeld writes Don’t Be Fooled By Vanity Metrics. He writes:
These growth metrics can often be signs of traction (which is why we report them), but just as often they are not. It is important to distinguish between real metrics and what Lean Startup guru Eric Ries calls vanity metrics.
So I got to thinking, what are the metrics you use in your job search?
Is it the number of resumes you send out?
Or the number of business cards you collect?
Or the number of connections you have in LinkedIn?
Or the number of jobs you applied to on Monster or Indeed?
Is it the number of phone calls you’ve sent, or the hours you spent revising a resume or cover letter? Is it _________?
Many times I see job seekers use vanity metrics, not to be vain, but because we have become conditioned to like measurable things… and if we can stick a number on something (“I spent 6 hours working on my resume today!”), we can feel better about ourselves. We can tell others what we are doing, in a way that makes us sound productive.
But metrics don’t necessarily lead to desired outcome.
STOP. Right now, stop. Stop doing that.
Write down what your metrics are, and then make a list of what they should be.
Before you waste one more brain cell working on metrics, ensure that you are working towards the RIGHT metrics, not something that is in VAIN.