The NFL Combine & Insurance

3 min read

Every year during the first week of February, the NFL invites the top 320 college football players to attend the NFL Combine held in Indianapolis. The Combine is a highly publicized event that has become a “must see” for serious NFL fans around the country.

It’s the world’s greatest talent evaluation event known to mankind.

The purpose is so that NFL talent evaluators can evaluate the top talent coming out of college football.

What is the NFL Combine?

The Combine starts off with personal interviews and multiple personality and behavioral assessment tests administrated by professionals. These assessments evaluate personality, intelligence, determination, grit, team ability, and the ability to quickly process spatial information.

The players then get to show off their physical gifts and body conformation (yes, like we evaluate race horses) in the weight room.

Modern Day Gladiators

The bench press is always a showcase event with other players cheering the participants on. With the national press watching and the ESPN cameras rolling, the adrenalin is flowing and players usually perform above and beyond their normal levels.

Then comes the various on-field drills including a 40-yard dash, high jump, and side-to-side cone drills.

Talent scouts are seen with stopwatches and busily taking copious notes.

At this point, several athletes have separated themselves based on their college pedigree, combine testing, and physical prowess. The TV pundits will have them all ranked by position from 1 to 5 which will continually scroll across the bottom of your TV screen.

But, wait a minute.

The real show is just beginning. You see, the final stage of the Combine is when the players finally take to the field and participate in individual and team position drills. They are required to do things that mimic a real game.

Quarterbacks throw to their receivers, wide receivers have to actually catch the ball, and the linemen have to block an opposing player.

In this skills application phase, the players usually separate themselves from the pack. And this is what the scouts value the most now.

Up until a few years ago, the final Combine physical performance rankings of the players used to be a primary driver on where the player was drafted in the NFL Draft to follow two months later in April.

Not anymore.

Now the Combine fitness performance rankings are just one data point of many. The skills application and intangibles/interview part of the evaluation process are much more important.

You see, the NFL is littered with pedigreed work-out warriors who “Aced the Combine” but could never execute on the field. Flame-outs. Many of the so-called, “Combine Kings” with the greatest data measurables, could never put it all together in the real NFL games on Sunday.

What does this have to do with the talent evaluation and the acquisition process in a typical insurance firm?

Many firms go through a similar process and make the same four mistakes:

· They hire based on a resume (the pedigree),

· My dad used to tell me, “The better you look, the more money you’ll make.” It’s true, many firms still hire based on physical appearance. I see this all the time.

· Firms place too much emphasis on assessment tests. I have seen many clients lose out on a gritty, hard-working sales producer – because they didn’t achieve a certain score on their internal assessment test.

· Firms don’t properly evaluate a candidate’s attributes such as, “Determination, Insight, Teamability, Mental Acuity, and Interpersonal Communication skills.

How do you fix this?

Make sure your HR/hiring authorities (or recruiter) are evaluating candidates on a holistic basis to include a thorough examination and evaluation of someone’s intangibles and attributes and not on some arbitrary measuring stick such as, “number years of experience” or “from a top ten firm.”

Implementation & Interview Process:

Use the resume during the candidate interview to get the candidate to tell mini-stories about their experience. Get them to talk about themselves…their trials and tribulations…overcoming obstacles such as dealing with a difficult client or co-worker.

Ask them point blank, “What are YOU looking for in a perfect opportunity…?” You may be shocked at the answer.

You’re looking for evidence of attributes that you and your organization value. And every organization is different.

When you find that candidate who has the personality and attributes that are in direct alignment with your corporate culture and vision, you will have your own superstar in the making.

The Insurance Combine.

Rob Houghton

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