Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Companies Using Tryouts Before They Hire

The Wall Street Journal reports that more and more companies (such as Sherwin Williams, Wal-Mart, and Starbucks) have begun to use "tryouts" to evaluate job candidates.   According to the Wall Street Journal, 

"By plunging candidates into simulations that mimic the roles they are interested in, hiring managers can get a sense of a candidate’s decision-making process and temperament. The simulation might be an assignment at the company’s offices, a phone call, or a virtual game.  For example, a candidate for a pharmacist role might be asked to complete online tasks that evaluate her knowledge of medications and skills in preparing prescriptions, Mr. Stern said. Or a would-be salesman might have to draft a pitch and make a sales call, Mr. Bissett said." 

I think the notion of a tryout is a major step forward in the hiring process.  The bottom line - some people can perform beautifully in an interview, no matter the format, but they have a much harder time actually getting things done in an organization.   A tryout asks them to showcase their skills and abilities, not just describe them.  I also know of some firms that are conducting "team tryouts" - examining both the skills of their candidates and the abilities of those individuals to work with others in a group on a challenging task.  We should expect to see more of these types of tryouts in the future.  I also will be interested to see if some research emerges about their efficacy. 

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