What can hiring managers learn from the NFL draft?

It takes more than raw skills to succeed on the football field and in the office, according to The Washington Post.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers Timothy Maynes, PhD, and Steven Whiting, PhD, analyzed NFL players and "found that team-oriented behaviors were just as good at predicting success in the draft — as well as performance over their NFL careers — as how many tackles they had or passes they threw on the field," according to the report.

To conduct their research, Drs. Maynes and Whiting analyzed 440 football players — each of whom played both wide receiver and linebacker — who went through the NFL between 2006 and 2012.

Not only did the researchers examine the players' contribution to the team, but they also looked at their character. To analyze the NFL draft picks' team-oriented characteristics, Drs. Maynes and Whiting looked at 26,000 news articles about the players' college careers. They specifically searched the stories for words and phrases that exemplified each player's team-oriented traits and eventually came up with a "contextual performance" score.

To look at their performance over the course of their professional careers, Drs. Maynes and Whiting used a somewhat simpler method: the database on pro-football-reference.com. Through it, the researchers analyzed the players' "approximate value," which outlines their contribution to overall team performance.

The results?

"Of course, as you'd expect, the on-field performance [was] a significant predictor," said Dr. Maynes, according to the report. "But so was our measure of contextual performance. ... It was at least equally as important to the evaluation."

While the analysis isn't an exact science, it does prove team-focused traits are key predictors of success and should be something hiring managers look for. "In today's business world, it's becoming significantly more important that a job candidate is capable of functioning well in teams," Dr. Maynes said, according to the report. "The practices in industry when they're selecting people have to shift along with the emphasis on teams."

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