Measure Twice, Cut Once

I am a sports junkie. A sports network that will remain nameless (because they do not need any more exposure) is my best friend. Who knew that you could watch the National Cornhole league on TV?

The National Football League just wrapped up their annual Draft Combine. For those of you that are not familiar with this event, the NFL invites the best of the best college football players eligible for the NFL draft to a select site and puts them through a series of tests to determine whether a team should spend millions of dollars to bring a player onto their team. They run, they jump, they block, they catch, and they take a cognitive assessment. All these things tell a team something about this individual. All this is done because these teams understand the tremendous negative financial impact drafting even one player that does not have the skills they need to perform at the level they need to perform at. You might be saying, “If these are the best of the best, then shouldn’t past performance in college be enough to show they have the skills?” Yes and No. Unfortunately, there are many stories of people who were very good players in college only to bomb out in the NFL either because they weren’t put into the right scheme/environment, or their skills just don’t translate to the NFL. Just as in the workforce, different situations and environments require different things.

I know. Get to the point.

In case you haven’t heard, there is an employment crunch going on. It is very likely your organization has felt it. Organizations across the country are having difficulty finding qualified candidates or in some cases candidates at all. I have heard some organizations say, “We are going to stop assessing our candidates before we hire them because we just need butts in seats and the assessment is an impediment for them coming to work for us.”

In theory this sounds reasonable but here is the problem with that. Just like the NFL, one bad hire can have a tremendous financial impact on an organization’s bottom line. According to the Department of Labor, the average cost of one bad hire is approximately 30% of the employee’s annual wages. This number does not take into account the direct expenses that are incurred in bringing somebody on board. This number could get into the $15,000-$20,000 range very quickly for one bad hire. Multiply that by 10, 20, or even more and that number can get into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, if you can reduce your chances of eliminating even one bad hire by assessing and learning more about a candidate’s skills and fit with the organization shouldn’t you?

So, we have established that not assessing people anymore because they might go somewhere else that does not require an assessment is not necessarily a sound approach at least financially. If someone is not willing to spend 15-30 minutes to have an OPPORTUNITY TO WORK AT YOUR ORGANIZATION, is that someone who is going to stay at your organization long term or are you going to have to spend time filling that seat in a few months with another candidate. Spending a little time and money on the front end to identify if someone is the right fit with your organization and the job, both in the skills that they possess and their behavioral fit with the position, can save you a lot more time and money down the road.

While not assessing is not a great approach, changing the way that your organization uses assessments might need to be. Your organization may need to take the approach of lowering the acceptable score on your tests to get the candidates you need. You may have to assess after you hire someone. Assessing a candidate after an organization hires them won’t indicate whether someone is a good fit but it does give you the information you need to structure a development plan to address the deficiencies that the candidate may be coming to the organization with.

The NFL does a lot of of tests at the combine and they still have players that fail. Your organization may as well. No assessment is going to be 100% at predicting success. However information is power. The more information you have about the person that you are hiring, the higher likelihood that your organization can help them succeed.