This past weekend, I was preoccupied with about 100 different things from fixing a toilet, spending time with my mom, covering a sporting event, doing research and studying. I failed to realize that the annual NFL draft combine was taking place. Dubbed the “underwear Olympics” by some, the NFL draft combine is where college athletes get to test their mettle against their peers in hopes of increasing their draft positioning, along with making more money on a rookie contract.
While I didn’t see any of it live, I watched a few videos online that recapped multiple players doing a barrage of different events including broad jump, bench press, 40-yard dash, vertical leap, among other things. I was impressed by some of these feats, but I did question why I cared so much that a quarterback could leap 9 feet, without a running start, flat-footed. To me, that isn’t the best way to judge someone that is supposed to be the smartest offensive player on the field.
The reason I bring this up is the idea of putting people in a real world combine for work. Could you imagine your employer basing his or her decision for a desk job on your 40-yard dash time? Or someone that works loading and unloading semis getting questioned by analysts because they didn’t put up enough reps on a 225-pound bench press. That would be crazy.
So, here are my thoughts of a few competitions for the real world that may or may not actually build toward whether someone would be a good employee at any particular job.
The 10 email response
A potential employee must sort through 10 emails with correct responses and as few spelling errors as fast as they can. You must type your own response and it must consist of a 10-word or more sentence with a signature. This would be like the 40-yard dash as the best speed typer could potentially move up in the hiring process.
The three request drill
This competition will pit you, start to finish, with three requests that must be finished as fast as possible. Potential employees will get the first initial request at the starting line with the next two requests being given on the way to completing the first. Speed, accuracy and memory are being tested in this event.
“Can you help me get this down?” drill
This drill will be comparable to the vertical leap, but will allow competitors… I mean potential hires to use different objects to help a co-worker reach an item. The item itself will also be at least 15 pounds to test the strength of each individual. Speed, safety and mental fortitude will be judged in this event. Some may value athletic ability here or problem-solving in how the future employee gets the item.
Survive the meeting drill
This drill is to test the overall focus of each individual. The meeting will be a typical business meeting with a few curveballs thrown in there such as off-topic conversation, disgruntled co-worker voicing an opinion, boss talking to one specific group for over 20 minutes or other members having to leave repeating during the meeting (constant distraction). The future hire must sit through the meeting but is allowed a computer to take notes or check social media during the boring parts. At the end, the potential employee will be asked five questions about the meeting that can be important or completely random. This drill is based on focus.
There are plenty of other events that people could come up with a basis for potential hires. I picked an office setting, but those that work labor jobs could come up with some pretty creative drills that could prepare the next hire for issues or funny things in the field. Would this broadcast on TV? I think it could be the next step in reality TV and it may even be better than “The Apprentice.”
Zach Stich is the managing editor of The Daily Journal. His column appears each Thursday.