Corporations, colleges and businesses are always seeking “qualified candidates” — for employment, freshman enrollment, or for position advancement.  For the life of me, it’s amazing what some organizations go through to find and recruit “qualified candidates”.  Some corporations use standarized testing such as Myers-Briggs.  Colleges will set cut-off scores on the ACT or SAT.  Graduate programs also use cut-off scores, either utilizing the GRE or GMAT tests.

What is magic about a cut-off score?  Does using a 500 cut-off on the GMAT mean a candidate with a 495 isn’t capable of succeeding?  Does the 500 score guarantee success?  Utilizing tests is fine as long as they are not the only criteria used to judge a candidate.  To my knowledge the test has not yet been devised that will measure an individual’s determination, perseverance or motivation.  While difficult to determine initially, to me these are more closely related to success, in any endeavor, than the score on a national test.  If, at the college level, having a combined SAT score of 1500 qualifies a student for admission does it quarantee graduation??  If so – then why do most institutions have a failure rate ranging from 15%  to 25% of their freshman class?  Success must hinge on something additional – perhaps determination, perseverance and motivation are missing in some very bright individuals?

When seeking those individuals who will advance your organization – whether it be in business or education – don’t be awed by the number of degrees or the scores on standardized tests to the degree you overlook the individual.  It’s easy to do — but knowing the person is more than that.  The best student – the best employee – is the one who stands out from the others.  They are able to articulate their qualities clearly, concisely and confidently.  They show confidence, not arrogance; they are able to express their anticipated contributions in a manner that reflects a knowledge of your organization and a willingness to learn.