What the NFL Draft Tells Us

We are in the heart of the 2016 NFL draft, one of the most publicized sporting events each year. Every major “player” covering the sport, whether it’s ESPN, Sports Illustrated, or Bleacher Report, makes predictions regarding what the draft order will be. A lot is taken into account — team needs and culture, player skills and character, as well as the general fit between the two.

In February of each year, the NFL hosts a “Scouting Combine” in Indianapolis, Indiana, a 4-day interview in advance of the NFL Draft. There are many different data points captured by NFL teams on players who attend that allow them to show their skills:

  • 40-Yard Dash
  • Bench Press
  • Vertical Jump
  • Broad Jump
  • 3 Cone Drill
  • 20-Yard Shuttle
  • 60-Yard Shuttle

In addition, players also complete position-specific drills, fill out a Wonderlic IQ assessment and are interviewed by different teams. Click here for an overview of the Combine.

Some NFL organizations ask players to attend private workouts, while others participate in workouts hosted by the college they attended.

At the end of the day, NFL teams won’t know if their draft picks were the right ones until after 2 or 3 years with the team, sometimes longer. Unfortunately, college success doesn’t always translate to professional success.

So what does this all mean? How can you take this information and apply it to important hiring decisions you must make within your organization?

Create a collaborative process and stick to it. Partner with your team, customers, clients and Human Resources to make sure you are screening applicants properly and are looking at those that are the best fit for the position and organization.

Consider the following for each applicant or candidate you consider for full-time employment in your organization:

  • What are we looking for in the specific position?
  • What knowledge, skills, abilities and experience are required?
  • What type of person (personality) will be the best fit for what I’m seeking?
  • How are we measuring potential success of our applicants? Is the selection or assessment tool reliable and valid?
  • How will we orient the person to the company – their role, the team culture and job expectations?
  • When will I be able to have a fully functioning employee? What is the “grace period” we can expect before they are adding value and past “learn mode”?

Good luck and happy hiring!

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