New IQ test takes top spot in player screening on NFL draft day

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The 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theater on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.

Jonathan Daniel | Getty Images

Getting the right employee hiring is crucial in any field of work, whether it’s a startup, a business, or the high-stakes, high-paying world of the NFL. Finding the right tools to predict a candidate’s success can be difficult in the information age.

On NFL Draft Day, the results of assessment tests already taken by college football players will count towards draft picks. Football has been using benchmarking since legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry introduced the Wonderlic test – an IQ test designed around speed – to the NFL in the 1970s. The Wonderlic is also used. for a long time by companies to assess potential employees.

Typically, IQ tests last three hours, but Wonderlic managed to do a short [12-minute-or-so] version that’s almost as valid, “Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, chief talent scientist at ManpowerGroup and professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia University, told CNBC by email.

He estimated the entire workplace recruiting market at $ 200 billion and said the pre-employment assessment testing industry is valued at $ 2 billion. About 90% of Fortune 500 companies use ratings to monitor their employees.

Test data helps prepare people for success

Chamorro-Premuzic said companies typically use two types of tests for pre-employment screening: objective performance tests, which primarily measure skills, and cognitive ability tests, such as the Wonderlic and the AIQ. Using the test data in hiring decisions, “they hire both for the fit with the current job, but also for the potential to fit into key future roles,” said the ManpowerGroup CEO .

Among Wonderlic’s more recent competitions, there is an assessment test used by teams in the NFL, MLB, and NBA, called the Athletic Intelligence Quotient (AIQ). It was developed by Dr. Jim Bowman and Dr. Scott Goldman, the latter currently working for the Miami Dolphins.

Cognitive ability is the most important factor in solving seemingly intractable problems.

Scott Goldman

co-founder of Athletic Intelligence Measures and director of performance psychology for the Miami Dolphins

While the Wonderlic is a general aptitude test, the AIQ focuses on intelligence and the speed at which a person can acquire, process, and apply information. The goal is not to eliminate potential draft picks based on test results – or, in the company sense, to eliminate potential employees – but to analyze how the mind works. of a player.

“Once you understand how people process information, you can put them in a position for success,” said Goldman, co-founder of Athletic Intelligence Measures and director of performance psychology for the Miami Dolphins.

Four NFL teams, five MLB teams, and five NBA teams contract athletic intelligence metrics for their testing services. Two of the NFL teams using the AIQ rating have won the Super Bowl, Goldman said. There was even a Super Bowl in which both teams playing had already used the test. “We probably should have called it AIQ Bowl,” he said.

Several teams have been using the test since 2012, and they were able to use data from nearly six years to make key conclusions. Other NFL franchises buy portions of the data derived from the tests.

The AIQ is the brainchild of two psychologists

Longtime friends and current business partners Goldman and Bowman were both still college students in the spring of 1998 when the heated debate between Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf, the two top prospects for the NFL Draft quarterback, dominated the world of sport. Goldman said the two students discovered the “mental bucket” of the NFL scoring process during combine coverage and when the Wonderlic quarterback test results leaked to the media. Leaf scored a 27 on the Wonderlic, while Manning scored 28, although each quarterback’s career trajectory couldn’t have been more different.

The two future doctors will spend the next 15 years developing their method of measuring the mental capacities of athletes. Outside of sports, the AIQ test is also used by a branch of US special operations forces. Goldman said it could be applied to many other areas, but they didn’t focus on marketing the test.

“Cognitive ability is the most important factor in solving seemingly intractable problems,” Goldman said.

Jullian Taylor, a 6’4 “athletic defensive lineman from Temple University in Philadelphia, was one of many prospects invited to take the AIQ and Wonderlic evaluations as part of the team evaluation process. not obsessed with it, although his agent had him study for the Wonderlic. “Your test result is your test result,” he said.

Mitchell Leff | Getty Images

The use of AIQ, which takes only about 30 to 35 minutes, and Wonderlic are not mutually exclusive. NFL teams ask prospects to take both assessments.

Jullian Taylor, a 6’4 “athletic defensive lineman for Temple University in Philadelphia, was one of many NFL prospects invited to take both assessments as part of the team’s assessment process. He told CNBC that his agent, Dan Saffron of Players First Sports Agency, helped him with Wonderlic prep, but there isn’t much he could do to prepare for the AIQ. Is your test score. .… [It’s designed] to show how you think.

Goldman believes that creating a prep for the test would be a difficult feat due to the nature of the test, as well as what it measures. “You cannot improve intelligence,” he said.

The AIQ test has been administered to over 4,000 athletes. The leak of Wonderlic test results is now common in the run-up to the NFL Draft, but there has been relatively little data on AIQ test results. However, it was recently reported after the NFL combination, University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield submitted a score that was in the all-time top 100. Mayfield is expected to be in the top five in this year’s NFL Draft.

A favorable score on the AIQ may indicate that Mayfield will be more game-ready than his peers once drafted. Still, if a player doesn’t score very well, that doesn’t mean he can’t score. “People with low scores can still be successful,” Goldman said. “It’s a coaching tool.”

He explained that the AIQ will let decision makers know which candidates will need more reps and attention to be successful.

Several NCAA teams in Power 5 conferences use the AIQ. Under NCAA rule, teams are not allowed to use mental assessments in recruiting players, but once a student-athlete gets a scholarship and is embarked, teams can give him the assessment and determining how to allocate a coach’s most valuable resource. a resource that is also essential for business leaders: time.

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