I finally got around to seeing "Moneyball" this weekend, the movie adaptation of the Michael Lewis book of the same name. The movie documents the role played by Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland A's, in transforming the way baseball teams drafted and evaluated players a decade ago. Beane and his staff pioneered the application of sophisticated statistical analysis to the process of player selection. In so doing he was able to help his chronically underfunded Oakland As compete with the big budget teams like the Yankees, whose payroll was four times that of the As. His methods have since been imitated by many other teams, including the Boston Red Sox, who used it to win two World Series championships.
The lessons of Moneyball have obvious implications that reach beyond baseball, and it has garnered some lively discussion in HR circles. Beane's breakthrough was that he found objective, quantifiable ways to measure player potential that turned out to be more accurate predictors of on field success than the collective wisdom of baseball scouts and insiders. This is exactly the promise of pre-employment testing. Well designed tests provide employers a way to gather objective, reliable data that predicts performance more accurately than traditional, more subjective methods of employee selection such as interviews. Most of our clients are small and medium-sized businesses, for whom hiring smarter is one of their best chances to compete with the bigger "Yankees" of their respective fields.