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Online Gaming Tale Demonstrates Why Companies Do Hiring Assessments

Recently, I was once again asked why companies administer hiring assessments. As usual, my answer included the importance of an applicant fitting the company culture.

Simple question; simple answer.

But, to my surprise, the person questioned the concept of fitting a company’s culture:

"What’s the big deal? I show up; I do the work to the best of my ability; I go home. That’s how I fit in."

I knew his attitude was wrong; potentially a career-killer. I wondered how I could enable him to understand this.

Recalling how he was an avid, online gaming person, I asked him about his experiences in multi-player games.

His eyes lit up and he began to educate me. He told me about several online war-games in which he played. He told me people had two general choices--- Spend no money and progress slowly, or spend money and progress quickly.

I asked whether there are ways to speed up progress without spending much money. He told me how one can join a group of players in which the more experienced players help out newbies. These groups are often referred to as legions or platoons or squads.

Then he paused. Last year. a new player—let’s call him Z--joined one of his favorite platoons. The veterans helped Z progress and Z turned into an excellent player. Then Z began dominating the games. His typical procedure was to let someone else draw out or weaken the enemy, then Z took the kill shot (collecting the points). He often grabbed loot while his teammates fought the enemy.

Whenever the teammates tried talking to Z about "putting the team first", he laughed at them, saying how “I get more points than anyone. I’ve made you winners. Don’t want to win?” My client paused again and said, “It was really bothering us, even though we were winning more than ever before.”

I asked whether this was still ongoing. He smiled, “No. A few months ago, our platoon leader kicked him out. At first, no one said anything, but then via chat someone wrote how they were glad he was gone. That opened the floodgates. Turns out everyone was glad he was gone.”

“Your platoon still winning?”, I asked.

“Just as much,” he said. “And, we’re having a lot more fun winning!”

And then I said, “I bet you wish you could have given him a hiring assessment before you let him join the platoon. Maybe found out about his playing style.”

He stopped; eyes closed; blank expression. After a few seconds, he smiled again and said, “I think I understand.

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