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Doing 20% of the Job

Kennedy's Column

When Olympic judges score a diving competition, they rate the athletes overall performance on a 1-10 scale. Assuming there are no score-fixing agreements, this seems reasonable to have each judge assess the diver's full performance.

In total contrast, let's look at corporate America. Some companies divide up and assign specific competency probes to each interviewer. No one judges the total candidate. If there are 10 competencies to be assessed and five interviewers, then each takes two, or 20% of the total. A collective hiring decision can't be made until the fragmented assessments are assembled into a composite picture.

However, imagine what would happen if corporate methods of assessing candidates were adopted by Olympic judges. If this happened, judges would divide up assessment responsibilities. One could assess standing posture, another composure, another the layout off the board, another pikes, twists and turns, and the last entry into the water.

Such a division of labor for Olympic judges would be ridiculous, and we think it is for corporate America as well. It is better for each interviewer to do 100% of the job than just 20%, and it is a lot more satisfying as well.