Many of us remember, years ago, being told that a stick shift is superior to an automatic transmission. “You’re in control,” a wise person would explain. “You go faster, you get better gas mileage, and you know better than the car. Plus it’s more fun.”

We’ll leave the “fun” argument to car enthusiasts. One thing is for sure, though: Back in the day, staid family cars came equipped with an automatic transmission and stylish sports cars a manual gearbox. As our wise person said, people knew how to make a sports car perform better than the car itself did.

Today, the story differs. Not that it’s breaking news, but Bloomberg just ran an article on how most exotic, big-ticket sports cars no longer offer a manual transmission. Not even as an option. Why? Because engineering has gotten better and onboard software has advanced beyond human capability. Sorry humans!

It shouldn’t be that much of a blow to our egos that computers and automated systems can now outperform us and outthink us (and give us superior gas mileage). We’re the ones who conceived, developed, and designed these features, so it’s kind of a “work smarter, not harder” situation, if you want to be bright-side about it. Technology and innovation drive improvement.

Take pre-employment assessments, for example. Our company, Caliper, has been offering the Caliper Profile to our clients to measure the strengths, motivations, and developmental areas of their applicants and current employees for over 50 years, but it’s not as if the tool has gone unchanged all that time. We pour tons of time, effort, and resources into continually researching and refining the quantification of job-performance dynamics.

Of course the job interview and the resume and the “gut-feeling” aspects of making hiring decisions are still important. But the scientifically validated behavioral competencies we’ve developed go beyond simply looking at a few personality traits relative to a given position. These competencies are built from complex, research-based formulas that predict job performance at a higher, far more accurate level than previously possible. To return to the car analogy, you (the hiring manager) are still choosing the route and the destination, and you’re steering the wheel, but you are putting more trust in the advanced transmission to maximize performance along the way.

If you’re a paddle-shifter kind of person who prefers that middle ground between manual and automatic transmission, you might find Caliper Analytics™ to your liking. This platform is supported by Caliper Profile data gathered on your applicants and existing employees but puts more control in your hands regarding the identification and development of top performers as well as spotting and addressing talent gaps in your organization.

We could close by saying that, thanks to technological advancements, Caliper is better equipped than ever to help you identify “clutch” performers, but these car-transmission metaphors are starting to get a little shifty.


To learn more about how Caliper Competency Reports and Caliper Analytics™ can support your organizational goals, call us at 609-524-1200 or use the contact form.