Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

Is Your Candidate a Superbowl Contender or a Playoff Fluke?

August 6th, 2013

joe montana

According to an article on, Don Moore, an associate professor at Berkeley-Haas, says that hiring managers often ignore the context of past performance. This can undermine the hiring process because past performance  provides context into what a candidate has truly done as opposed to seeing what they look like on paper.

Because football season is almost here, it’s easy to think about past performance in the context of the NFL.  Think about those teams with great records towards the end of the season.  Sure, a 10-3 record looks pretty on paper, but what teams did they play?  Did the majority of their opponents have losing records, or did they get through a gauntlet of tough teams?   Contextual differences like these make all the difference in the world between a true Superbowl contender and a team that will likely be eliminated in their first playoff game.

On a more academic level, a GPA is a common score used to determine whether a person is a good student or not. However, the GPA alone doesn’t say too much because it  depends on the leniency of the grading system. Students who have a lower GPA from a school with a stricter grading system may actually be the better student.

Professor Moore refers to this as correspondence bias. As a hiring manager, it’s important that inferences aren’t drawn based upon a disposition without looking into the surrounding circumstances first.

Looking at awards is another great example. If a hiring manager sees a large number of awards on a resume, it may help to boost the candidate to the top of the list. These awards may be superficial though. There may have only been a handful of people in the running for the award or a certain company may hand out more awards than another company. If another candidate works for a company where awards are never given, that candidate may not be considered – when in fact that is the person could be the better hire.

So how can a hiring manager check up on past performance? Watch the tape on your candidate.   Even if there isn’t actual video footage of them working,  do those reference checks thoroughly and talk to the person’s supervisors to see how they have actually handled difficult experiences.  How tough were there previous jobs and what sort of obstacles did they get through to succeed? Just as you would when making your NFL playoff picks, make sure you consider what your candidate has been put up against to get where they are.