You Think You Are Buying A Porsche But You’re Really Getting A Ford

Yesterday, I was reminded of an analogy about the use of assessments when considering applicants/candidates. It was one of those things that I liked, years ago, but it had simply fallen from my regular use. Given the importance of avoiding hiring mistakes in the current economy, I thought it was worth sharing again.

Let’s think of your selection process as flying over a highway at 5,000 feet. Your candidates are the cars on the highway below. From 5,000 feet you can see two cars traveling side by side at 70 mph. They are obviously both running and both can maintain the 70 mph speed….., our primary criteria. So, from 5,000 feet there is little or no difference between these candidates.

Now, let’s add a valid pre-hire assessment. This is like the air traffic controller allowing us to lower our flight path to 1,000 feet. As we move down, closer to the highway, we begin to see a clearer view of the two cars. They are both still maintaining the 70 mph, but we notice that one of the cars is a Porsche and the other is a Ford Escort. So what does this tell us?

The Porsche was built to operate comfortably at the 70 mph criteria, while the Escort is likely struggling or working harder to maintain that speed. If we were inside the Escort we would likely be experiencing vibrations and could hear the engine struggling. As we handle inclines of the road, the Escort requires testing its capacity in order to maintain our desired speed. On the other hand, the Porsche is simply cruising along and it’s limits are not being tested. It easily performs at the 70 mph and does not struggle with the inclines. The Porsche was built to perform our criteria with ease, over the distances we wish to travel.

What else do we know from this closer look (1,000 feet)? Now that we can see the differences, we know that the Porsche is less likely to require additional maintenance, based on our criteria. We can expect a longer life cycle and fewer breakdowns resulting from our established criteria of 70 mph. Had we remained at the 5,000 foot level, our selection process would have not been much better than a coin toss and our odds of making the right choice would have been 50%. We are not making a value judgment about the worth of the Escort or the Porsche. We are simply examining which is likely to perform best, over time, based on our criteria.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss how employee assessments can help YOU in YOUR business. Please visit us at Strategic Human Insights.