Yes, recruiters are faced with the challenge of gaining insight to performance potential of someone they have never observed.
"HR recruiters in the corporate world don’t use tryouts, so they don’t really know whether candidates can do the job."
Some organizations do. The use of job-specific simulations, as a form of talent audit is a growing practice. Organizations with high-population jobs find it easy to build a business case for the development and validation of simulations for pre-employment assessment of talent. This in effect allows candidates to take elements of the job for a test-drive, thus producing a work sample that predicts on-the-job performance. In essence, they deliver a virtual job tryout.
In committing to the development of in-house, job-specific simulations, an organization resolves the seven counterproductive practices Wendell describes.
Companies who use simulations enjoy the same results of talent scouts in sports. They only invest the time to observe (screen/interview) those individuals who have produced evidence (stats) of their talent.
Companies using job-specific simulations have HR analytics to report a range of outcomes such as a 50% reduction in interview to hire ratios and consistently document the quality of hire as compared to the current workforce.
Readers interested in an overview of the technical merits of simulations for selection can read about a session from the 2012 Society of Industrial Organization Psychologists (SIOP) Conference Here