How to find a five-tool employee?

In his chapter on statistics versus scouts in baseball, Nate Silver spoke to John Sanders, a veteran scout about the data he collects. As a scout, he's responsible to rank each player on from a 80-20 scale on the five tools of baseball:

  • Speed

  • Arm Strength

  • Fielding

  • Hitting for average

  • Hitting for power

This scout says those tools are just a starting place. In his years scouting, he's developed at least five more, which Silver places in the following categories:

  • Preparedness and work ethic

  • concentration and focus

  • competitiveness and self confidence 

  • stress management and humility 

  • adaptiveness and learning ability

What if these list of tools wasn't just for baseball players? What if was also for employees at non-sports jobs?

Most of the seem to be a very beneficial for employees. Focus talks about the daily tasks. Adaptiveness and learning describes how successful you are able to process new information. On the other hand, competitiveness and self-confidence may not be so welcome in majority of offices.

We all try to find good employees, and while we're not as analytical as a multi-billion dollar sport as baseball, we still take it pretty seriously.

The problem is that scouts spend a lot of time gathering data on these players. Managers looking for an assistant couldn't do that. Also, there are only so many applicants for jobs, especially at an assistant level. There are hundreds of thousands of young people looking to play baseball.

But expanding and better quantifying the criteria on how people hire may be beneficial for the people looking for work. They will know what to which skills to concentrate.