Well, since several folks are commenting on the h parameter, I might as well put in my two cents. The h number is defined here. In brief, if you've published h papers (and no more) that each have h or more citations, then your h number is, well, h. In principle, your h number is not supposed to count self-citations (though once h is above 10 or so, that becomes pretty irrelevant anyway). In some fields (e.g. CS) where people tend to publish on public electronic archives rather than in journals, citations of those preprints are counted. The idea is that the H number is a metric of scientific performance and impact, and is more robust than mere citation counting. Steady output that people actually cite is rewarded more than being one co-author on a Science paper that happened to get 750 citations. There are variations, too. You can calculate the h number divided by a person's years of "professional experience", or actually figure out dh/dt. For a fair comparison between people, one should normalize h numbers by subfield. In condensed matter physics, a typical person near tenure time has an h of around 10. In mid-career, an h of around 20-30 is about the average, and exceptional people like National Academy members tend to have h values higher than 50. The h number can be skewed in certain cases. Some people publish little, but their work can have enormous impact. Others, such as materials growers, can have enormous h numbers because they supply materials used by dozens of experimental groups.
Obviously trying to quantify a person's scientific impact and productivity in one number is a crude and rough thing to do, just as the subject GREs and qualifying exams are often crude indicators of actual aptitude. Just as I think the physics GRE is only really good at identifying outliers (the best 2.5% do very well on it; the worst 2.5% do very poorly; the middle 95% get scores that don't seem to correlate with their actual talent or ability), the h number is similar. I would never dream of assigning too much importance to it in tenure cases. As in grad school or postdoc or faculty applications, detailed letters of recommendation are far more useful, and in my experience correlate much better with actual performance. However, if someone has an h number far outside the expected norm in either direction, I'd like to know that. For example, I heard recently of an externally appointed dean at a research university where the faculty were rather shocked to find that the dean's h number was about 4. Unsurprisingly, people who have had vastly larger scientific impacts don't really like being told what to do or have their decisions scrutinized by someone who has essentially been a professional administrator.
Anyway, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over h numbers. They just get a lot of attention because they're a relatively new idea, and they do seem superior to the previous crude metric, citation counting.