RPO/RPI vs Contingent Staffing – A Comparison

Picture1 RPO/RPI vs Contingent Staffing   A Comparison

Although there is often some confusion around the topic, RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) does not operate the same or provide identical services as contingent staffing companies.  RPO is a new concept in outsource recruiting that provides some similar services but on a wider, more in-depth scale.

RPO/RPI was actually founded via the need of clients whose outside recruitment efforts needed more than what a traditional staffing agency could offer.

In short, RPO takes over, to some degree if not completely, the responsibility for an entire segment of recruiting, or in some cases the complete recruiting effort for the entire company.  The degree in which the RPO takes over is dependent on each partnership and is typically based on the client company’s strengths and talents as described in the Graph A.

Graph A

Picture2 RPO/RPI vs Contingent Staffing   A Comparison

This particular company is more than half way proficient in background and post hire activities but well below

proficiency in Advertising – Interviewing.

Once degrees of competency are established, the RPO takes the helm and fills the gap with the goal of reaching 100% efficiency.

Once optimum efficiencies are met, not only are headcount objective met, but also a myriad of additional benefits are accomplished including: increased employee retention, decreased cost per hire, improved candidate experience, shortened hiring cycles and more.

Graph B

Picture3 RPO/RPI vs Contingent Staffing   A Comparison

As demonstrated in the above Graph B, utilizing a staffing company provides the client with candidates.  The focus and responsibility of the staffing company is to find candidates via advertising or direct recruitment, pre-screen them and perform first round interviews.

If these are the only areas the client company needs assistance with then staffing companies could be the correct choice.

However, augmented RPO, or what People Science terms RPI (Recruitment Process In-Sourcing), can also be utilized to meet these objectives and, as noted in the following Table 1, the benefits of forming an RPI partnership as compared to a typically staffing company partnership often provides a much bigger value while reducing cost considerably.


Table 1: RPO/RPI – Contingent Staffing Comparison

*not all of the services listed are supplied by all RPO companies

Picture4 RPO/RPI vs Contingent Staffing   A Comparison


Finally, whether or not an RPO/RPI partnership is the best choice will depend greatly on the amount of hires the client company intends to make and their internal ability to fully grasp a lower cost but at least partially fixed pricing model.

RPO pricing models samples include:

•Straight monthly fees
•A combination of monthly fees and placement fees
•Fees per placement (this will typically include a commitment of making a minimum amount of hires)

Contingent staffing is now and will continue to be an effective vehicle for many outside recruiting efforts.  However, as RPO/RPI has come of age, and as flexible models have now developed a history of successful outcomes, consideration of its merits and benefits may very well prove to be a better solution for even the simplest recruiting efforts.

About the Author

Christine Nichlos is the Founder and CEO of Options Employment Resources and People Science RPO/RPI.  People Science has been creating unique recruiting solutions via RPO and RPI since 1997 and is s considered a 3rd generation RPO/RPI provider.

5 Best Practices to Close the “Culture Disparate” Gap

I had the opportunity to sit in on a prospective new client call the other day and at the end of conversation I, as well as the others on the call, had the same kind of reaction—this could really work. This led me to the question, why?  Because here is what the position requires: quick ramp up, small market, extensive sales experience in a mature and saturated market place, old school training and culture, strict adherence to 8-5 hours, and fair compensation.  No popular bells and whistles.  The company is not Google or Facebook or anywhere near the cutting edge.  Good product- not lots of glamour – but good service.

So why are we juiced and so sure we can exceed their pressing needs to more than triple their sales force?  Because the human resources and the hiring managers and all the adjoining departments know what kind of skill and what kind of person does well in the position and in the organization. They know, so they easily shared their knowledge with us.  We in turn can create a pointed recruiting campaign, focused not only on candidates – but the best candidates.  This, as our 15 years in the RPO field have demonstrated, is the secret behind meeting those tougher than life recruiting expectations.  Measure twice—really know what you are looking for—execute only to that and the hires come faster and they stay longer.

Sounds simple right?  Are you telling yourself right now, we do this?  Frankly everyone does it—to an extent.  And it’s the extent that makes the difference.  No matter what the talent set needed, knowing your culture is just as important, if not more important, when it comes to recruiting and securing the best new employees.

Culture is a popular word right now and in our experience it has way too many meanings.  However, what we do know about it is that our customers who know who they really are—they are the ones no matter how small and competitive the recruiting market – who obtain talent faster and that talent stays longer.  On the other hand, the clients that have a “disparity” in their beliefs and understanding of their company, or individual departments within their company, well – they struggle.  And here is the biggest kick in the pants:  our clients who seemingly know or pay little attention to the employee atmosphere have better track records in hiring and retention than do those who think they know.

We at People Science call this gap of what is really offered and what’s being offered, “Culture Disparate”.  It happens when upper management, or HR have one mindset of the culture and the front line managers and supervisors or collective employee atmosphere is completely different. When it comes to Culture Disparate we often find the company wants to be a certain way, or they have goals to be a certain way, but for whatever reason(s) they just aren’t there.  At least not yet.   The irony comes when they want it, hire to it, don’t offer it, and often wind up even further behind in their endeavors.

Here are a few examples of “Culture Disparate”

Company Motto: “We promote from within”

Truth out: not nearly as much as we go outside.  It is definitely worth looking at the numbers here to determine if you truly are promoting from within.  Many companies have great intentions here, but don’t have the internal structures that truly promote internal promotion.

Company Motto: “We are progressive”

Truth out: We want to be progressive, but not all managers really want to know what you think.Not all of them are interested in helping you advance and some might actually blockade your advancement.   For this one, knowing the HM expectations or helping them determine what they truly need makes all the difference.

Company Motto: “We offer growth potential”

Truth out:  Do you really and what kind?  There are lots of different kinds of growth.  Knowing what kind you offer and for which position will point you towards the right candidate.  The danger that leads to turnover is when the new hire expects to be out of the position within 6 months and your promotion rate is more like 2 years.


So how do you close Culture Disparity in Hiring?  Hirer Really – know thyself and Hirer act on what you Really know.

Here are 5 Best Practices we highly recommend:

#1 Resist the impulse to recruit first plan second—no matter how urgent the need.  Starting to recruit before you have the full picture, even though it feels like what you should do, is almost always counter- productive.  Besides, this is the best time to get the HM to speak to you on your terms and give you the best and most accurate information about what kind of new hire will work to their advantage.


#2 Emphatically understand you’re hiring managers: By emphatic we do not mean giving them multiple choice options to questions we ask about what and who they want to hire.  Try shutting the door and really listening and learning what it is like to work for this manager. More times than not, this step is as much a discovery for the HM as is it for the recruiter and always a valuable experience for both.


#3 Interview the most recent hires and the longest standing employees.  Are they a good fit?  If so, how can you connect that to the search that was used to find them?  For the longest standing employees, what do they think the department could use now?


#4 Make sure you talk to all the key stakeholders of the hire and that everyone agrees to the profile.  Some of the worst hiring events happen when conflicting hiring officials are not in agreement.


 #5 Create interviews for all stakeholders around agreed visions of the position.  Yes, I said it. Create interview guides for the all interviewers.  This includes characteristics of the new hire and their talent set, but it’s the shared vision that will help you clear up the Culture Disparate.  We routinely find that unless supplied with a better guideline, HM’s will go back to interviewing the way they always have—resulting in more disparity.


Lastly, we have found that chasing the most popular idea of what a company should or could be is the most common catalyst for culture disparate.  Although the ideas once again have good intent, the truth is, in recruiting, knowing what you really are and recruiting to it is much more important.  After all there truly is a job for every person and person for ever job.  As long as you know what you really need there is a very good chance you can really find it.

Strategy at the Center of Talent Acquisition

Strategy at the Center of Talent Acquisition

Lessons Learned from a TA team of a Fortune 500 Start UP

An Interview with Michelle Rochon, Director of Talent Acquisition at WESCO

Michelle Rochon began her career with GE Lighting as a field sales representative and quickly made the move to Recruiting when the Head of HR identified her natural abilities and enticed her to join the team. From HR at GE to OD then back to HR at Key Bank and then onto an HR Global role with Wachovia, Michelle’s career has progressed within large companies with established Talent teams and processes.  That is until about a year ago.   In February 2012, Michelle accepted her current role as Director of Talent Acquisition with WESCO Distribution a  Fortune 500 Comapny who is a leader in industrial supply with an extensive offering of electrical, data communications, general maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) and electrical OEM products.  WESCO, as it happens, was also making about 1400 hires a year without a talent acquisition team.

Michelle was brought on to build Talent Acquisition from soup to nuts and – from scratch.  Michelle’s unique story prompts a lot of ideas and questions so, we were happy when she agreed to share her findings.

People Science: What prompted WESCO to create the role you are in currently?

Michelle Rochon: Prior to Oct of 2011 WESCO ran the HR organization by paper. It was the vision of the VP of Human Resources, with the support of our CEO, to create a centralized Talent Acquisition Function and implement an HRIS. Prior to my arrival, all recruitment was done at Corporate and in the field by managers. By implementing a centralized TA system, it will help evolve the hiring ability of our managers.

 PS: With all the challenges of building the department from the ground up, what attracted you to the position at WESCO?

MR: The Opportunity! Talent Acquisition is my passion. The opportunity to actually build an organization is exciting, and the reason I come to work every day energized. You need to have a passion for this work.

PS: Can you outline your plans or strategy in building Talent Acquisition in WESCO?

MR: My plan is still evolving but I like to run Talent Acquisition as a business and therefore use the 7 “S” management model as a guideline.  The model states that Shared Values are central and encircled by Systems, Style, Staff, Skills, Strategy and Structure.

To get started I went in search of finding the voice of the customer, which in this case was the hiring managers.  I interviewed over thirty employees and asked them the same eleven questions. I then analyzed the data to see what our employees thoughts of our current hiring process. From my findings I put together the strategy you see depicted in the image below.

Westco Strategy Strategy at the Center of Talent Acquisition

Keep Customers at the Top of the Plan, Talent Teams Central and develop partnerships with those who share our interest.  On the left our high level goals, the right our high level tactics.

A key component is assuring alignment with the business by taking a business approach.  This includes speaking about total recruiting cost, Cost of Vacancy (COV), and Return on Investment. This will allow ensuring that we will always operate in a model of continuous improvement and keep within our lean culture.

When it came to staffing since we are building from the ground up, we needed experienced professionals.  The core staff needs to be able to jump right in with little training.  Enacting the model meant creating and implementing Service Level Agreements for both TA and the business in order to make sure we all understood expectations and shared the accountability and responsibility. This set the tone for open communication which is invaluable.

We are currently working on the model and its development all while making sure we continue to align with the business and keep cost in mind.  Since we are starting with a clean slate, we are using Cost of Vacancy (COV) as compared to simply Cost of Hire to help us prioritize our recruiting efforts.

PS: What are some of the key metrics you have used or are using?

MR: Quality of hire and Cost of Vacancy are the two most used; also including the traditional metrics of productivity, time to fill, diversity of slate, candidate and hiring manager experience.

PS: What are some of the challenges you are facing with your strategy?

MR: We have two major challenges.  First is to reduce our over reliance on search firms and our Hiring Mangers belief in our dependence on search firms.  Second, to help the hiring managers understand the “big picture” of the Talent Acquisition function, and all the benefits we can offer them.

PS: What are some of your wins so far?

MR: We have done some really great things so far. We have gained senior management “buy in” to our model. We’ve created a strong employment brand and implemented a talent referral program. We introduced a reporting function that shows data around open positions which is changing the companies’ views and thoughts around finding talent. Lastly, we established a strong set of SLA’s which is strengthening our relationships with the hiring managers.

PS: Looking back at your career and after beginning to build a Talent Acquisition Department from the ground up, what advice would you give to other Talent Acquisition professionals, who are in the same position you are in or already have an existing TA Department, to help strengthen their own business?

MR: Don’t be afraid of the data! Take the time to listen to the voice of the customer and use your findings in your strategy. It doesn’t have to happen overnight, but let them know you have heard them and are putting a plan together to address their concerns. Find out the Cost of Vacancy and build that into your strategy or business model. This is a huge help in aligning Talent Acquisition to the business and opens up the relationship.

PS: What recommendation would you have on getting started in figuring out COV?

MR: First you must look at all parts of the business; both revenue generating and non-revenue generating. Then work with your analytics and finance team to figure out the cost of that business when a position is open versus when it is filled. The People-Science Cost of Vacancy tool you sent me was very useful in building ideas on how to do this.

We aren’t sure if building from scratch is easier than re-building talent acquisition.  Both obviously have their challenges.  But having a clean slate to start, while our profession is in a serious state of change, well, sounds tempting.  At least Michelle thought so……

The POWER OF THE COV Cost of Vacancy

The POWER OF THE COV Cost of Vacancy

Imagine having, at your disposal, the exact amount of cost your organization incurs each day for each position.   How would this one point of information affect:

       COV Bullets1 The POWER OF THE COV Cost of Vacancy

Now, Think of the Power the COV would supply Talent Acquisition when:

       COV Bullets2 The POWER OF THE COV Cost of Vacancy

As Michelle mentioned in the previous interview, “Don’t Fear the Data!”  Understanding your Cost of Vacancy will put a clearer perspective on what Talent Acquisition is doing and how it can truly benefit the company.

So what is this COV exactly and how do you calculate it?

The Cost of Vacancy (COV) is the cost to the organization when a position is vacant, you can think of it as the value of the position less the cost of the position.  Calculating it is much like coming up with a position’s Profit and Loss statement.  If you would like to learn more about the power of this metric and how to create it, click here to join our complimentary webinar which includes the benefits, the how to and actual COV calculators.

People Science – Silver Sponsor of the 2012 Candidate Experience Awards

CandE People Science   Silver Sponsor of the 2012 Candidate Experience Awards 

 Talent Board Announces Silver Sponsors of the 2012 Candidate Experience Awards

 SAN FRANCISCO (October 5, 2012) – The Talent Board, a non-profit organization focused on the elevation and promotion of a quality candidate experience, today announced the companies supporting the second annual North American Candidate Experience Awards (known as “the CandEs”) as silver-level sponsors.

 The CandEs are designed to award companies that provide their job applicants with a transparent and positive candidate experience. Although the CandEs are a competition, the program provides all participating organizations with the opportunity to benchmark their candidate experience against that of other companies to identify opportunities for improvement and highlight innovation within their own practices. The winners of the 2012 CandEs will be announced on Monday, October 8, during the 15th Annual HR Technology® Conference & Expo.

Following the enormous success of the inaugural CandEs in 2011, this year’s awards and benchmarking program have garnered much attention, receiving more participating companies than the previous year. The 2012 CandEs have also welcomed many new sponsors – including many of the HR industry’s leading recruiting and talent acquisition solutions providers – which support the Talent Board’s commitment to understanding the impact that candidate experience has, and what employers can do to better meet candidate expectations.

The companies sponsoring the 2012 North American Candidate Experience Awards at the silver level are:

  • Async Interview, provider of live and pre-recorded video interviewing tools;
  • Climber.com, a groundbreaking online career management site for today’s highly diverse, talent professionals and the companies who seek to employ them;
  • iMomentous, delivering a highly scalable mobile recruitment technology platform that enables companies to recruit, retain and engage talent;
  • Montage, a leading provider of end-to-end video interviewing solutions;
  • myStaffingPro , a comprehensive SaaS-based applicant tracking system;
  • OneWire – helping employers hire the right finance talent, faster;
  • People Science, A Third Generation RPO Leader, and Talent Acquisition Design Company
  • SmashFly Technologies, recruitment marketing technology innovator; and
  • TalentCircles, a cloud-based platform allowing employers to build, brand, own and manage live talent communities.

“The CandEs are about recognizing the value of a positive candidate experience, to help organizations continue to strengthen their employment brands, protect the integrity of the company’s brand, and attract the high performing talent that helps them remain competitive,” said Elaine Orler, Talent Board chairman, and founder and president of Talent Function Group. “We are very grateful to our silver sponsors, who not only share our commitment to elevating the candidate experience, but also develop the technologies that enable employers to provide a better experience to their candidates.”


About the Talent Board

The Talent Board is a non-profit organization focused on the elevation and promotion of a quality candidate experience. The organization, awards program and its sponsors are dedicated to recognizing the candidate experience offered by companies throughout the entire recruitment cycle and to forever changing the manner in which job candidates are treated. More information can be accessed at http://www.thecandidateexperienceawards.org.

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Infographic: What is the deal with Green jobs?

In this Infographic, Jobvine breaks down the soaring sector of our economy which provided 2,700,000 jobs in 2011.

green jobs Infographic: What is the deal with Green jobs?

Who’s getting in on the “green”?

Staples’ Career Site Targets More Generations, Highlights Employee Stories

therisa 150x150 Staples’ Career Site Targets More Generations, Highlights Employee Stories

Therisa D'Amato

Staples Canada recently introduced a new career site new career site. The site is impressive, entertaining and welcoming. It showcases stories from different Staples’ employees as well as different career paths an applicant could take. We sat down with Therisa D’Amato, Regional Human Resources Director of Staples’ , the lead on the ground-breaking project to discuss its development. callout Staples’ Career Site Targets More Generations, Highlights Employee Stories

D’Amato began the project by researching how Staples’ could better use Social Media in recruitment. After a colleague and she did additional research, they decided they needed to revisit their career site: Staplesville.  Staplesville was created three years ago as result of research on Gen Y candidates. They were looking for a new way to attract quality candidates for their hourly and retail positions. The site has a game-like experience where you explore the world of Staplesville and discover the culture and career paths you can take as a Staples’ employee. It also included a clever YouTube video:

Staples’ hired Angus Reid to do some market research and conduct some focus groups in order to study it further. The response was clear: Staplesville was hitting its mark…a little too well. Though the content applied to most candidates, the navigation and presentation turned anyone outside of Gen Y off. They needed to find a way to appeal to all generations, not only the digital natives. Additional studies and research uncovered that Staples’ was seen as “just retail” and many were not aware of the multitude of opportunities for corporate and management positions.

At that time, D’Amato and her team decided a new career site had to be born. They needed a site that would have the spirit of Staplesville with a wider appeal for corporate applicants, management applicants and applicants outside of Gen Y.

D’Amato and her team collected all the employee stories and developed the content to ensure it was authentic to Staples’. The career paths were polished and the site was launched. The end result looks finished and friendly, it highlights the people of Staples’ and welcomes applicants.

If you’re interested in creating a site like Staples’, Therisa offered this advice, “Stay rooted in the research.” Staplesville will live on due to its success with Gen Y-ers; but now every candidate whether they’re Boomer, Gen X, or Gen Y will be welcomed into Staples’ employee culture.

The Recruiting Continuum: Dissecting and Defining the Recruitment Process

continuum4 The Recruiting Continuum: Dissecting and Defining the Recruitment Process

The cornerstone to our success is the Recruiting Continuum. The continuum sequentially demonstrates the elements of recruitment while clearly identifying the connectivity of each portion to one another. Each segment of the identified elements is present in even the simplest recruiting endeavor. The better each element operates, the better the result of the recruitment effort as a whole.

When a client engages our services in Recruitment Process Outsourcing, we utilize the continuum to focus on where the client is lacking in each segment and closing the gaps to reach higher efficiencies and better results. Additionally, we continuously measure our own performance against the expected efficiencies of the continuum. This allows us to identify challenges and quickly address them, moving to solutions often before our clients experience the “pain.”
In a series of articles, we will examine each segment of the continuum. The first is Define and Attract.

Define and Attract

Define and Attract is best explained by “what is the position?” and “How are you presenting it?” Regardless of whether or not the position is formally designed or simply an idea, definition always occurs. The depth and breadth of definition plays a critical role not only in the search but in the streamlining of the search. All the parties involved in the recruiting process must fully understand the scope of the position (HR, Marketing, Business Managers, Hiring Managers, Search firms). When each party works together in harmony it results in better hires in a shorter time frame.

Accordingly, ”Attraction” follows suit. When a fully defined position is completely understood, the outreach for a candidate will become more accurate making the search easier and more pinpointed.
Following are a few steps to take to assure an effort in Defining and Attracting is efficient.

Clear expectation of type of hire
The first step in the recruitment process is identifying the need for a new hire. Ideally the Hiring Manager and recruiter together determine what an ideal candidate looks like and what attributes and skills they might possess. In consideration they can utilize, create or re-create a job description. In every case documenting and grading the most important skills by number provides the foreground for an accurate execution.

Effectiveness or presence of employment branding
The next step is to examine how the company and or this position is viewed in the current recruiting market. If there is no specific employment branding designed, what does the candidate see? What steps can be taken to present the company as the employer of choice? How should the company position itself to the pointed audience? Working with marketing the talent team should assure the right recruitment branding message is being delivered to the right market.

Documentation of advertising plan
This leads us to documentation of the advertising plan. Once the best candidate is determined, where do they reside? What vehicles will reach this market? What number of candidates should be driven to the company as compared to actively recruited? In today’s recruiting market, so many different vehicles can be used to attract candidates. Which of those best suits the specific position?

Once a general idea of how many candidates should be funneled through specific sourcing techniques is determined, document the plan fully and track all results as the effort is being executed.

Measuring and monitoring recruitment vehicles
The next step is monitoring, adjusting and re-adjusting all the vehicles to recruitment. Since advertising is only one portion, what candidates are finding you from a simple Google search? Set up a detailed tracking system for all sources. Be sure to include employee referrals, the career site for your company, social networking, job boards, job fairs, and additional sources as needed. As recruiting begins which methods and vehicles are providing quality as well as quantities of candidates?

NOTE: Most Applicant Tracking Systems capture this data but in our experience, most are not accurate as they rely on the candidate to supply the data at the application stage. The most reliable data comes from an actual personal encounter with the candidate(s).

Employment Website
Your career website is more than likely the first view of your company and what it “feels like” to be an employee. When your career page is easy to find from your main webpage, it welcomes new candidates. If it is easy to navigate it encourages them to stay engaged and apply for a position. Statistics show more and more targeted candidates will go to a company’s website before even checking the job boards. Companies which spend the time to develop an effective employment website ensure their place at the head of the pack for the best candidates. While in the lead, companies should take this chance to entice the best of the best- welcoming confirms the candidate’s original idea that the company is a good choice.

The implementation of a mobile site will be very beneficial to most candidates but especially those targeted in Information Technology, Engineering, and the millennial generation.
Defining and attracting the best candidates at the beginning of the initiative will get you off to a good start. Using the right techniques to recruit to your best audience is next. We’ll outline effective Recruiting in our next article or read www.people-science.com to get a jump start in advance of its publication.

Applicant Tracking Systems = Relationship Management System

by Stephanie Lafferty and Anthony Vodola

Most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that we see on the market today tend to look and feel relatively similar. While you will be able to customize some aspects of the ATS to suit the needs of your internal processes, you’ll find yourself conforming to a number of their standardized options during the implementation stage. This, of course, forces you to disregard your already established and fully effective processes. We’ve all heard this story before. The bottom line is most stock ATS providers, while somewhat customizable, are not as flexible or robust as we’d like them to be. Why then, if we’re aware of this inevitable headache, would we concede to it?

At People Science, because we have yet to find a system that encompasses all the modules we need, we have developed a fully customizable ATS: EMC2. Designed with Albert Einstein’s famous equation in mind, EMC2 is modeled after the scientific realization that when we speak about mass and when we speak about energy, we are referring to two forms of the same thing. In our recruiting continuum there are two elements that appear quite different but in fact hold equal significance: Candidate Processing and Data Collection & Reporting. The thought of instituting anything short of a robust yet agile apparatus that could not work with these elements was out of the question. When the mass of information entering the system doesn’t seem to match the energy output that is being managed, extracted, and reported on all the data captured; it is at that point that one must aim to institute a true Relationship Management System, which is exactly the type of tool the recruiting industry will be in need of in the near future.

The Recruiting Continuum

continuum4 Applicant Tracking Systems = Relationship Management System


EMC2 is a Relationship Management System (RMS) at its finest; it manages the candidate experience from the initial contact forward, collecting data pertinent to the candidate’s job search, including their historical experience, current work through to their projected career path. This allows available talent pools throughout various industries to be transparent to our recruiters, who then work toward connecting candidates with the right position at the right time. The robustness of EMCmoves away from reactive behaviors and brings the proactivity of our recruiters to a brand new level. To conclude, EMC2 as an RMS maintains not only the collected data on the applicant but also manages the recruiter—candidate relationship, harboring essential quantitative data coupled with a “relationship timeline.” Every candidate wants a recruiter that is out for his or her best interest, and every recruiter needs an endless pipeline at his or her disposal—EMC2 brings these two elements together and provides the relationship in a tangible system.

For more information on how EMC2 can help your company, contact us or give us a call at 888-924-1004.

You are what you measure.