Second Round Review Could Be Last For Cost Per Hire Standard

By the fall, HR could have its first officially recognized standard, the first step in a long journey toward standardizing the metrics we all discuss, but interpret and use differently.

Online and available for all practitioners to review is a second draft of a proposed standard for cost per hire. An initial version was posted earlier this year. After getting some 50 comments, the SHRM committee that drafted the standard adopted some of the suggestions, made changes, and now, following the rules of the American National Standards Institute, has reopened the comment period.

Jeremy Shapiro, who led the 42-member taskforce, explained the latest version has “no substantive changes.” “This version,” he said in an email, “contains tweaks and clarifications based on great feedback…”

The most significant changes are the inclusion of a definition of sourcing and a note clarifying that the cost per hire standard relates only to full-time employees and not fractional hires. About sourcing, the draft says this: “A subset of the recruiting process, sourcing refers to actions taken to identify potential candidates for employment within the organization.”

Assuming the latest round of comments doesn’t require further changes to the standard, Lee Webster, director of HR Standards for SHRM, says it could be submitted to ANSI shortly after the close of the comment period June 20.

It will then be up to the standards organization to review the proposal and act to adopt it as an official U.S. standard. That could happen by the fall, Webster says, making the cost per hire standard the first HR metric to become an official U.S. standard.

No practitioner or employer is obligated to follow the standard. Those who do, however, will be able to compare their hiring costs to those of their industry, confident that it’s an apples-to-apples comparison. Even for those who don’t apply the standard rigorously, it will still give them a guide to know what HR practitioners agree should be counted.

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“I think people will choose to have a more consistent standard,” Webster says.

The CPH standard is the first of several being developed by various SHRM committees. In the works are standards for job descriptions, diversity, and measuring the financial value of a company’s human capital. Developing standards is a long process, but someday, Webster says, there will be a “body of performance standards” measuring HRs effectiveness and giving weight and substance to the pronouncements of corporate HR leaders.

The standards also have the potential to go global. In February, the International Standards Organization accepted a plan crafted by SHRM to develop global HR standards. So far, Webster reports, 25 nations are participating in some form in a technical advisory group. Representatives from each participating country will review every standard as it is proposed. The first one, Webster says, is probably going to be the cost per hire standard.

Interestingly, Iran has expressed an interest in participating, Webster says.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


2 Comments on “Second Round Review Could Be Last For Cost Per Hire Standard

  1. I keep hearing buzz about employee productivity increases but as anyone who works in corp America can tell you , in most roles, there is no way one person can do the job of 3 no matter how much technology you throw at them.

    It is about time we started talking about “quality of work” rather than how much gets done. Most people are overworked , stressed out and ‘multi-tasking” which has been proven to be a myth. Most companies are beseiged by poorly thought out systems, processes and policies because people simply did not have time to really think them through or could not even get the right people on the team due to workloads.

    In the era of email, IM and other electronic communications, our focus has been so diluted that it is a joke. People “brag” about getting 400 emails a day. Could you imagine getting 400 PHONE CALLS a day? It would never happen, couldn’t happen. Yet we consistently expect workers to deal with the electronic version AND STILL ATTEND TO THEIR CORE WORK!

    The result, lots of data cleared but the QUALITY of result is suspect.

    Office workers are Thought Workers, they can not be made more productive by robotics the way a factory line can be.

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