If you’re a sports fan like me, you always have an opinion about a professional athlete’s skills and abilities. Whether you’re trying to determine if Kobe is better than LeBron, or if Brett Favre is the greatest quarterback of all time, every sports fan has an opinion. One of the biggest debates in the NFL recently has been if former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow will be successful as a professional, or if join the list of College Allstar turned NFL Bust.

Tim Tebow has arguably been one of the most polarizing college athletes in recent years. Often put under the microscope by every sports-media outlet in the world, he has proven he can play at the collegiate level by winning two BCS National Championships, a Sugar Bowl, and the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner. He also holds the record for the most rushing touchdowns in NCAA history (impressive as a quarterback…). On paper, he looks like a solid pickup.

However, one of Tebow’s biggest criticisms is his delivery of the football. His arm motion is very slow, and he drops the ball very low before his release. This scares a lot of NFL teams because defenses are much quicker and aggressive in the NFL as opposed to collegiate sports. He also comes from an offensive system that was built around his abilities, and doesn’t match any offensive system being run in the NFL.

NFL teams cannot just look at the stats when sizing up Tebow, they must look at everything, including his foundation. This is true in the workplace as well. When reviewing candidates to join your company, we all know there is more than just their “stats” to consider.

Let’s make an analogy with potential candidates. When you review a resume that has either been submitted, or you’re sourcing through resumes online, you’re immediately drawn to resumes that have good “stats” on them. You may come across a project manager with their PMP certification, or someone that is a SCRUM Master, or even the 4.0 GPA college candidates.

But to effectively conclude if the candidate will be a good fit, you have to take equal, if not more consideration in their foundation. Some of these characteristics include communication skills, ability to adapt, and eagerness to succeed. This can be tough to judge, but is critical in making the correct decision about someone.
There are multiple ways candidates can boost their “stats” to make a resume look superior. Take the PMP for instance. Unless you have applied PMP Best Practices to projects you have managed, the PMP is nothing more than a fancy title. The same with SCRUM Masters. And we all remember our college days. There was always that person you wonder how they managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA because you know they wouldn’t know better enough to come in out of the rain.

I believe this is why finding the top performing candidate is not always the best option for your company. Finding someone with a better foundation will be more successful than finding someone with the best accolades. Talk to that candidate. Measure their soft skills. Throw hypothetical situations at them and see how they react. Their answers and traits is the best way to find the next “Best Athlete” candidate.

It’s up in the air still whether Tebow succeeds in the NFL or not. So, when hiring people for your company, be sure consider that the top performing person at the last job won’t always be the top performer at your company.

About the Author: Jeremy is the Technical Recruiter for Cardinal Solutions Group in the Raleigh/Durham area. Cardinal Solutions is an IT Solution Provider that delivers custom solutions, strategic guidance, and training to Fortune 1000 companies in a diverse range of industries.

Jeremy is also avid sports fan (Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Reds, and Ohio State Football), professional condiment-ranker, cake connoisseur, Photohunt Champion, & your friend.

Views: 122

Comment by Tony Crisci on August 13, 2010 at 5:44pm
Just because I'm in a snarky mood I think I'll bite. So are you saying don't hire standout recent college grads? Or are you saying that Tim doesn't have good communication skills, the ability to adapt, or the eagerness to succeed? So of the 2010 draft class which QB would you have picked as there were only 13 others who were picked after him with about 9 others that were eligible for the draft and weren't selected. I believe you're team got Colt McCoy, were you bummed because Clausen was already off he board? Now I'm definitely not a Bronco's fan, but when you have the stats that show you are a proven winner in what many regard as the best conference in college football, how can you ignore that? I always think it's funny when people look at a perceived flaw in a QB's delivery (which he's apparently compensated for pretty well based on his past performance) and believe he's done before he even starts a game. Don't hire a Tim Tebow... really?
Comment by Jeremy Fanning on August 16, 2010 at 3:05pm
Thanks for the feedback Tony. While I agree with you in some capacity, I think that my intent with the article was not as deep of comparison as you are making. That's probably my fault for not spelling that out up front.

The point I was trying to make in the post is where there's smoke, there's usually fire. When most NFL and College Football analyst out there are saying, "Tebow was great in the college ranks, but we don't see him succeeding in NFL", are you more apt to take a chance on that person (and potentially pay them serious $$), or are you willing let another team take that chance? Risk to reward is somewhat low with Tebow based on public opinion.

If you compare that to potential candidates – if they have good “stats”, but when you talk to them, are missing things such as the items I outlined above, are you willing to take that chance? Are their previous “stats” enough for success with your company, even if they could have some potential foundational-flaws?

What are your thoughts? Do you think I’m completely off-base here? (And I don't think I should get into a full QB debate with my Cleveland Browns... that's probably for another blog...) Thanks for the feedback!
Comment by Tony Crisci on August 16, 2010 at 4:49pm
I know where you were going with your post, I just didn't think the example fit what you were trying to say. I'd be more likely to pick on a Todd Marinovich, Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington or JaMarcus Russell. It's hard to compare draft picks out of college to people in the regular workforce. To me stats refer to past accomplishments, I think you have to judge them by where they happened. For instance if Tim Tebow accomplished the same things playing in the Mountain West division instead, I would be less likely to take a chance on him, but since he did it against much tougher defenses in the SEC his stats mean a lot more to me. Now I believe we are on the same page regarding certifications, just because someone has their PMP doesn't mean I'd hire them to lead projects for me unless they had some experience that I could look at to determine actual ability. I have seen many "certified" people who aren't competent in their current role, but might be better working with other companies under different circumstances. Regarding foundational flaws, as long as the flaws aren't illegal or related to bad character but they can get the results that a Tim Tebow can point to, I would take that chance.
Comment by Martin H.Snyder on August 17, 2010 at 10:32am
Jeremy, social bonds in small groups are the most powerful motivators by far, but they dont just happen. Any knowledge of literature, sports, or military history indicates that those groups that attain a spirit of elan are able to trancend individual players, although there is often one stellar talent at the core.

From what little I know of Tebow off the field, he is a stand-up guy, although I don't like his politics. How that plays out on a pro-football team is a much different question than college.

Sometimes you just can't tell who can lead until they go over the wall and the battle is raging. Sometimes you have a pretty good idea, other times it's some previous nobody finally standing in charge when the smoke clears, and thats why recruiting is complex and always will be.


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