Outputs vs. Outcomes: Assessing Candidates

When assessing a potential candidate for a position with your company, you want to ensure they’re going to meet certain metrics, like production outputs. Just as valuable as outputs (measurable deliverables) are outcomes (the quality of the output). Knowing what you can expect from a candidate in terms of outputs and outcomes will help you know whether the candidate is the right fit for your organization. Learn about outputs, understand outcomes and know what to look for when hiring candidates. 

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What are outputs?

Outputs are the measurable products or services your employee or company delivers. Outputs include items like completed reports and transactions, deliverable products and other accomplishments that are easy to measure in terms of quantity. Examples of outputs include:

  • A hamburger from a restaurant
  • A financial report for an external stakeholder
  • A completed service call on an air conditioner

Related: Competency-Based Interviewing: Key Concepts for Managers


What are outcomes? 

Outcomes are the consequences of outputs. Ideally, these outcomes are positive, like happy customers, a deeper understanding of a business strategy or increased brand awareness. Outcomes are much more difficult to quantify than outputs, but are arguably just as important if not moreso for the long-term success of your business. Examples of outcomes include: 

  • Satisfied customers after an enjoyable dining experience at a restaurant
  • Deeper employee understanding of teamwork following a training session
  • Positive brand reputation following a brand focused marketing campaign

Related: Interviewing Millennials: Three Things to Consider


Outputs vs. outcomes

Both outputs and outcomes are vital for your company. You want to produce a certain number of measurable outputs to ensure your business is financially sustainable, but you also want to produce certain outcomes to ensure your business grows positive customer relationships and builds an excellent reputation in the marketplace. Outputs and outcomes work together as outcomes are the consequences of outputs. Knowing how they interact can help you establish if an output is working to its maximum efficacy.

You can measure your employee’s individual outputs and outcomes and your company’s total outputs and outcomes for the best understanding of how your business is functioning. Understanding the value that a single employee brings to your company in terms of measurable products and positive outcomes can help you evaluate your employees holistically and see how to best use employee skills sets for maximum outputs and high-quality outcomes to benefit the company’s overall outputs and outcomes. 


What to look for when hiring candidates: output vs. outcome

If you’re interested in both outputs and outcomes for potential employees, then you need to make evaluating both a facet of your hiring process. Review these six considerations when assessing employee candidates for your business: 


1. Start with outputs

Most people are used to quantifying their outputs, so it’s easiest to begin there in your assessment. For each candidate you’re evaluating, consider making a spreadsheet or document to help you track and compare outputs and outcomes from potential employee to potential employee. 


2. Look at the resume

Begin with the candidate’s resume. Most people will provide bullet points quantifying their previous educational and experiential outcomes, so it should be relatively easy to identify, review and assess their outputs. 


3. Create a list

Make a list of every identifiable output the candidate has listed on their resume. Depending on the position for which you’re hiring, listing all of the outputs can be a great way to easily compare potential candidates to one another. 


4. Discern the outcomes

Next, parse the candidate’s resume for potential outcomes. Some candidates may list these alongside quantifiable outputs. Others may not, since outcomes are often less measurable than outputs. Add any outcomes you discover to your list or spreadsheet. 


5. Hold an interview

One of the best ways to learn about candidate outcomes from past jobs is to ask directly. Have an interview with potential candidates to learn more about the outcomes they provided to their previous employers and customers. 


6. Speak with references 

Finally, speak with the candidate’s references, preferably past employers or colleagues, to learn more about both their outcomes and outputs on the job. You can add these to your list to help you better review outputs and outcomes. 

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