Building a winning team begins with good scouting and recruiting. Whether it's for truck drivers and fleet managers or for NFL players, the process is basically the same. Recruiters hit the road looking for candidates and once they find them, they endeavor to identify and hire the best and leave the second-string choices for their competitors.
Sit down on the bench at a bowl game beside Rick Thompson, college scouting coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, for example, and listen to what he has to say. Like other good recruiters, Thompson will tell you that hiring well is the invisible first play of a winning season, a preemptive strike that helps to structure the environment for success. This means that any tool or technique that can improve hiring performance is valuable indeed.
“NFL football is a tough business because you're only as good as your last game,” Thompson says. “We have 16 weekends a season, 16 three-hour time frames in which to be successful. You live and die by those three-hour periods regardless of all the work that went before. Last year, we began using an assessment tool from Scheig Associates to help us evaluate ball players. Now we try to test all the players we are interested in prior to the start of the draft.
“We tested 450-500 people last year, and we plan to use the assessment more and more as we go along,” he continues. “Sometimes it just confirms what we've learned in other ways, sometimes it gives us additional insights. Among other things, we use the assessment results as flags to help us spot under- or over-achievers — that is, players who are not hard workers and are performing below their potential and players who may not have the raw talent, but consistently work hard, play hard and give 100%.”
The assessment tool Thompson uses for the New Orleans Saints was developed by Scheig Associates of Gig Harbor, WA (www.ischeig.com). “One of the other reasons we like the Scheig assessment is that it is easy and quick to administer,” notes Thompson. “A player can take it in about 20 minutes in a hotel lobby or a locker room without compromising the outcome. We do most of our testing during bowl games and All-Star games, so we just don't have the luxuries of plenty of time and a perfectly controlled testing environment.”
Like the Hiring and Performance Systems Scheig has created for the business community, the NFL Players assessment is 100% job-specific. “The test is so specialized that we don't even administer it to kickers or punters,” says Thompson.
To create such job-specific assessments, Scheig developers work with recognized top performers in a given job to identify the characteristics that make outstanding workers so good at what they do. Then they analyze those behaviors to create a behaviorally based, job-specific assessment that permits companies to compare applicants with the best people already working in that position.
If you don't have a need for a fullback at your fleet, however, you can still use Scheig tools to help build a winning organization, a secret many carriers around the country already know. Several assessments are available that were designed specifically for the trucking industry, including assessments for long- and shorthaul truck operators, diesel mechanics and warehouse workers. In fact, the company currently offers more than 60 job-specific Hiring and Performance Systems for companies that may not have NFL players on their payrolls but still know what recruiting top performers can mean when your team is out on the field.