Pre-Employment Screening Tests: How They Relate to Jenga

hasbro-jengaFans of the famous Jenga game know well it requires forethought, cautious moves, and even careful planning, just like pre-employment screening.

For those not familiar with this popular Hasbro game, it works like this: Players build a structure, like a model of a tower or skyscraper, by arranging fifty-four rectangular blocks on top of each other, three blocks at a time. Each set of three blocks is laid perpendicular to the ones below it.

Then, after all fifty-four blocks are lain, players take turns removing select blocks from the lower part of the tower, and putting them at the top. They take turns doing this, until finally, the tower falls apart, and the blocks tumble to the floor.

The goal of course is to NOT be the who removes the block that causes the tower to tumble down. It is a simple game, with simple rules and a simple objective: don’t crash the tower. Yet it is difficult in that it requires good strategy and technique and sufficient manual dexterity to remove those blocks.

One way to play Jenga and not topple your tower, is to lightly tap the block before taking it out of the structure. By doing this, you get a feel for how much resistance or disturbance there will be if you take the block out, and then put it at the top of the tower. If on tapping the block, you sense little resistance or disturbance, you may then gather your courage and take the block out, slowly and carefully. Then, just as slowly and carefully, place it on the top of the tower.

On the other hand, if on tapping the block lightly, you feel great resistance, you may very wisely decide to leave that block for the next player to take out. The player who is best at the tapping and removing technique will eventually (and patiently) win the game, leaving the tower to fall apart for someone else, amidst gales of laughter and teasing. The player who lacks the patience and moves too quickly will surely see the tower tumble apart.

The analogy of Jenga to pre-employment screening is this:

When a company chooses to bring a new employee on board without it, they are in effect playing Jenga without tapping and carefully checking their move.

And this is no laughing matter. They are the impatient player who moves too fast, losing the game (or costing their company wasted time and money). Yes, pre-employment screenings do cost a little time and money, but over the long term pay off in a big way, because you are building your company with good people that stabilize your organization and help it grow, not tumble down around you. Importantly, this means you will avoid wasted time, wasted money, headaches and stress over the problems a difficult employee can cause, and even avoid a negligent hiring lawsuit.

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