Should You Model Your Hiring Process on the NFL?

A badly conducted job interview will tell you very little about an applicant. A well-conducted job interview will tell you a good amount about an applicant. But it is becoming increasingly recognized that traditional job interviews cannot tell the whole story about an applicant. For that matter, neither can sterile personality tests. As such, some businesses are beginning to conduct “job auditions,” where applicants are paid to do work that actually occurs in the position. In an article at Harvard Business Review, L. J. Brock and Justin Pinchback describe how they take the idea a step further in their business, Citadel, and you might want to consider their technique during future rounds of hiring.

Score a Tech Touchdown

Citadel hosts “datathons,” where undergraduate and graduate students are given the chance to compete for cash prizes while being measured according to performance criteria. The concept is inspired by the NFL and NASA, among others, which have rigorous tryouts. And the major benefit is that firsthand knowledge of how applicants behave under stress is garnered from the activity.

The authors elaborate on how they run these datathons:

Over the past year, we have conducted 20 datathons at universities across the U.S., UK, Canada, and Ireland, and seen thousands of students participate. For each competition, we select up to 100 of the best candidates based on a number of inputs and variables. These participants then form teams and work together to glean insights and formulate a research question based on a large and complex data set — all in the course of a single day. …

The competitions allow us to not only assess prospective employees, providing our talent acquisition team with valuable data to help hone in on top people to hire, but also attract candidates who might not have considered a career in our industry.

Obviously, it takes a great deal of effort to set up a datathon, so this is not necessarily something to roll out on a monthly basis. But if you are looking for the future of tech talent, this is one straightforward way to find it.

For additional thoughts, you can view the original article here: https://hbr.org/2018/01/why-we-modeled-our-hiring-process-on-the-nfl-and-nasa

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