By Richard Lynell
Well, I took a little flak from some of my peers regarding my last article on organizational practices (http://trainingmag.com/article/unified-vision-talent-management). Some of the replies stated how their company only hired candidates who met or exceeded job requirements. Others told me how internal candidates were promoted based on certain performance and/or evaluation data; training was evaluated pre- and post-event; etc.
All great feedback, but my question is, “Does any of the data you track/use indicate successful performance in the role?” How do you know that the education, experience, skills, performance scores, etc., translate into hiring or promoting the best person for the job and organization?
Joe Philbin, head coach of the Miami Dolphins, gave this commencement address recently, which I believe ties into the articles I’ve been writing about: “Last weekend, we held the NFL Draft. Next weekend, we’ll bring in our new draftees for orientation. Every year, countless hours and millions of dollars are spent on the process. With the technology we have today, there’s a vast amount of information on every prospect. Yet, every year, 50 percent of the prospects in the first round of the draft fail. So every year, as you go through this and observe this, you realize the biggest and strongest and fastest players are not always the most productive players in the NFL. You begin to realize the intangibles of the player are just as important as the talent.”
What resonates with me is that these teams, even with all their testing, still see a 50 percent “fail” rate with their first choice. Granted, much of the “fail” rate is probably the opinion of management, but isn’t that the same in business, as well? We don’t live up to the expectations of the person hiring us, so, in essence, we “fail.”
But all too often we use the same old job description, interview questions, training, supervision, etc., that we used on the previous candidate with the expectation that the next candidate will “succeed.” Why take this risk? 50 percent cannot be an acceptable figure. Why not go beyond the “old” way of doing things and make some small changes to improve long-term results?
I like to peruse job vacancies. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen the same jobs re-posted with the same description and qualifications. I also see many job descriptions in which the individual who decided the qualifications obviously had a bias toward a certain degree or experience. I get it; employers want to know the candidates meet the criteria. But how do you know the criteria are right? How do you know that to be successful you must have A or B? If you are re-posting the job after hiring someone, something must be wrong. I’m not saying that all the data I speak of means you will always choose candidates who will be successful. But I am saying that this data will help lead you to more candidates who will be successful than the way most organizations go about hiring or promoting today.
It’s just my opinion, and that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream. Until next time…
Richard Lynell has been in the training and development profession for the last 35 years. He has worked for both the U.S. military and corporate training, and recently became an independent consultant.