While watching teams select talent at NHL draft from Dallas, Brian Burke commented that despite all scouting and resources the success in the first round in only 52%. He mentioned that the NFL success rate is initially higher as they are drafting 22 and 23-year-olds vs. 18-year-olds. However, three years down the road, the NFL success rate is about the same. In fact, there is 52 percent success rate for picking between two players in the NFL draft.
These pro teams draft high potential and expect top performers. NHL teams cannot win without draft success. Procurement of talent takes all forms: trades, free agency, college and junior signings, but the entry draft is the heart of every quality team. While teams draft 7+ players, the best drafting teams only average 1.2 to 1.4 players per year who will play at least 200 games in the NHL over their career.
Few industries invest as much into each “hire” as professional sports. In business, the success rate is under 50% to even get someone who meets expectations. High performers are rare commodities. A company finds fewer than 10% top performers.
Cade Massey, a professor at the Wharton School, researches decision-making under uncertainty, especially how to improve organizational decisions about personnel. His article How to Identify Talent: Five Lessons from the NFL Draft was the inspiration for this post.
Dr. Massey has worked closely with NFL teams for more than ten years and more recently with professional basketball and baseball teams. He has observed that their issues parallel those in non-sports organizations. Finding the next generation of talent is a challenge. Successful track records are rare.
Why is it so hard to select talent?
There are multiple variables to consider. At the top of the list are talent, behaviour, and fit. It is so difficult to be consistent. A draft pick is an outcome negotiated from diverse perspectives to satisfy various preferences. The process is subject to the shifting sentiment of outside forces. Those involved are continually changing. This process enhances consistency. Is it different in your organization?
Previously, "Rogue Recruiter" David. E. Perry shared inside information on how to hire the best in 11 Smart Tips for Hiring the Best Candidates (Which Most Firms Won’t Tell You).
A Bain & Co. study found that decision making is 95 percent correlated with company performance. A structured, evidence-based decision process is valuable.
The teams that select talent well have philosophies and policies that firmly guide their draft process. They use technology as part of their operation to inform their decision-making process. There are few organizations capable of doing that consistently. It is a real advantage for those who can.
Replicability is a referendum on your process
Executives at high performing companies understand that better business decision making confers a critical competitive advantage. Moreover, the very best companies are only becoming more competitive.
An astounding 93 percent of executives at the most decisive companies believe further decision-making improvement is essential, and 76 percent think their company is receptive to changes required to make that happen.
By comparison, only 31 percent of executives at the least decisive companies believe it is crucial to make improvements, and only 12 percent are receptive to change.
The recruiting process starts before you draft the job posting and end after the first-year review.
Here are some tips to strengthen your recruiting process.
Understand and Articulate Your Goal
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” — Lewis Carroll
An easy way to fail is to skip asking precisely what it is you’re looking for. People often do not understand their decision objectives, but the most successful sports teams are clear about their goal and don’t stray from the principles and attributes they’ve established.
The central focus of your recruiting process is knowing and sharing what the person needs to do to be considered successful. Your onboarding and performance management processes must support this objective if you want to achieve the best results.
You need to start with a performance-based job description that set out the 5 or 6 objectives you want to have accomplished in the next 12 months.
People are impressionable
More independence is often the biggest improvement an organization can easily make in their hiring process." — Cade Massey
When exposed to other’s opinions before forming their own, they tend to anchor on the existing view. The “wisdom of the crowd” hinge on the independence of the respective judgments. That independence is easily compromised, in many ways—anchoring, of course, but also common backgrounds, training, friends, etc. You may think you’re getting 5-6 opinions when effectively you’re getting only 1.5!
Ensure Independent Feedback
A proper hiring process openly pushes against these compromising factors:
- do not let people talk to each other or see other’s opinions before providing their own
- bring people with diverse perspectives into the process
- expose the candidate to judges in different ways and at different points in time
More independence is often the most significant improvement an organization can quickly make in their hiring process.
Have a Diverse Selection Team
Inclusive decision-making focuses on business decisions. These are decisions that involve discussions with other people before a determination is made and require other people to make changes and help successfully execute the decisions afterward.
Teams make better decisions than individuals 66 percent of the time. The most diverse groups made better decisions 87 percent of the time.
By following a checklist to reduce mistakes, teams not only make better decisions, but they also make decisions faster with less wasted effort. Amazingly, teams that check off these steps make decisions at least twice as fast with half as many meetings.
Consider a Person's Full Talent Stack for Best Results
In your selection process, consider the candidate’s full talent stack – skills, knowledge, wisdom, accomplishments, and behavioural traits. They are essential to achieving your performance outcomes.
Competency is not enough. Job fit is the key to better hiring decisions. The ability to do the work in relationship to fit is what drives motivation to do the work. Fit includes fit with the job, fit with the hiring manager and fit with the company culture and environment. Good people underperform without a fit.
We are incredibly passionate about Behavioral DNA and the impact this scientific insight can have on your business. Using our Best-Fit Staffing process, we can predict, with 85% reliability, if a candidate is likely to be a high performer.
This approach involves work. It’s much easier to give one, global evaluation—like or dislike, hire or reject. These overarching evaluations are natural and efficient, but unfortunately, they are often biased. For a more reliable assessment, you need to break the objective into parts and evaluate them separately.
The speed of the Hiring Process
Recruiters are often judged by how quickly they can fill a position. However, it is not just the recruiters' goals that matter. Every day that a job remains unfilled, work is not being done. Other people may be approaching burnout as they try to handle additional workloads.
Use analytics that shows where the hiring process is most and least productive.
Additionally, when looking at candidates, take emotion out of the picture and look at what skills the candidates have. Our analytics helps you identify the skills of job candidates and predict the likelihood that they will meet or exceed expectations.
Letting a spreadsheet—or a model—summarize your judgment may seem like an abdication. Simple linear models outperform intuitive understanding. This reality occurs not because evaluators do not have expertise but rather because they apply their knowledge inconsistently. Hiring decisions should not depend on the loudest voice in the room or how many strong candidates you saw earlier that day. The best way to ensure this is to collective mechanically. It also happens to be a big time-saver, freeing you to focus on the issues humans handle better than machines.
Hiring is best thought of as a forecasting process, and the only way to improve forecasts is to map them against results and refine the process over time." — Cade Massey
The best way to reduce noise in the process is to aggregate opinions mechanically. Capture those judgments. Pull together the subject and objective feedback. Hiring is a forecasting process. The best way to improve forecasts is to map them against results and refine the process over time. Apply this approach to all decisions. You will learn, which:
- tests matter most
- questions are more informative
- team members are best with selections
- analytical tools best predicted if the candidate would meet or exceed expectations
Because the payoff is delayed, many organizations do not bother keeping score. It may be years before enough data arrive for reliable insights. The kind of foresight and humility required is what distinguishes proper management.
An Insurance company found that 93 percent of sales advisors pinpointed by SuccessFinder as high performers met or exceeded performance expectations one year later. The company’s previous track record was the same as the industry average, under 50 percent. This company avoided over $150K in training and onboarding costs due to better hires with higher retention rates.
Improve the quality of every hiring decision
- Have a diverse hiring team of three or more people.
- List the business goals impacted by the decision. Keep them front and center.
- Recruit broadly, so you have at least four realistic choices.
- Use SuccessFinder and dig deep.
- Identify any critical missing information. Confirm.
- Create an onboarding plan. Every candidate has challenges. If you help them manage these challenges, their strengths will shine through.
- Explain the expected future impact of the decision on the hiring team and the candidates.
- Record and communicate decisions in writing.
- Follow up to assess how well results meet expectations.
- Identify improvements to your process.