March Madness Basketball and Recruiting

Of course you are saying, “What? How are the two connected?”


More ways than you may think.  Importantly, almost all of those players (candidates) were recruited by coaches (hiring managers) to create a cohesive team.


What does your recruiting team do?  Obviously they are working to source, identify, and recruit the candidates who will create a team that will produce positive results for your company.


Now let’s look at the “game.”  How is your team prepared to compete for the best candidates?  Does your company attract the best players?  Or is your company one of the larger companies that many of the best candidates ignore in favor of smaller, hungrier companies? 


In order to be a successful basketball team it is important to perform the fundamentals well – dribble, pass, shoot, and defend.  How strong is your recruiting team while performing the recruiting fundamentals?   Do your job descriptions deliver a clear summary of the required skills and experience to be successful in that specific position during the critical first year? 


Job descriptions are the foundation to the recruiting process.  They are the equivalent of successful ball handling.  Does your company include the 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, and 12 month goals in your job descriptions?  With those goals stated, the skills and experience required to be successful the first year become crystal clear.  Additionally, since I have been requesting hiring managers to list those goals, candidates and managers alike told me they like them.  Why?  The expectations for the first year are clear.


With these goals listed, sourcing is targeted.  Candidates have the right skills and experience or they don’t.  Instead of looking at reams of electronic resumes, hiring managers see candidates who should be on target.  In basketball, do coaches recruit forwards when they need point guards?  They are both basketball players.


With the goals set, interviews flow.  It is like the effective defense in basketball.  Only deserving and skilled candidates make it past the screen.  Now managers have the tool that enables them to focus on the necessary skills and experience to be successful.  Meaningful behavioral questions are easier to develop.  The debriefing after the interview can target on whether the candidate has the skills and experience to be successful.


Does your company “protect the ball” and do the easy things well; or does it force candidates to jump through hoops?  Go to your corporate website.  Is your Careers page designed to Screen candidates out?  Have you allowed your applicant tracking system to hijack your recruiting process?  How many clicks does it take for candidates to find a list of openings?  Remember, marketing research shows that your company loses one half of the remaining candidates with each click.  Who are the first group of candidates your company loses in the first click?  The passive candidates.  Who are the people who survive through the application completion?  The desperate candidates.   Is that how you plan to win the game for the best talent?  Remember, it is your advantage to have more resumes than fewer resumes.


If the opposing team scores 20 unanswered points, do you remain in your same defense without making changes?  What did Einstein reputedly say about doing the same thing and expecting different results?  What are you doing differently in your recruitment effort?  Remember, there are over 20 million people out of work right now, some of whom are impact makers.  How many openings does your company have?  How patient is your management team?


What happens when your basketball team gets a little sloppy?  They lose the ball.  How long does your hiring manager hold the resume before committing to an interview?  How long do they take before making a hiring decision?  How long does it take for your company to extend an offer?  The very qualified candidates do not remain on the market long.  If a manager loses a sharp candidate because of indecision, your company may want to spend a little more time looking at their overall performance.  Recognition of talent and acting on it is a sign of a good manager.  Don’t be sloppy and lose candidates.  It costs too much time and effort, especially if the candidate is lost well along in the process.  And remember if your company takes too long, I am looking for top talent and will snatch them from your company’s hands for my client – and have done so many times.  It’s like a steal in basketball.


When do you have a championship team in recruitment?  I’ve seen some recruitment teams who thought they were top notch.  Upon closer look, you can see where they are in their conference.  They settle for the desperate candidates.  How do they compare with the top performing recruitment teams?  The top teams perform the fundamentals well.  They understand that recruiting is a sales process.  Their actions and attitude help them win the best talent.


Treat your company’s recruiting process as a sales process, not a screen out process.  Screening has its place during the interview process.   Most of the balance of the process needs to sell the candidate that this is the best company, position, and manager.


Remember, in our society stability is valued.  Have you heard the expression “Don’t rock the boat?”  People generally resist change.  Your company’s recruiting process needs to encourage candidates to make changes in their lives.  That requires sales abilities.


Change things up in recruitment.  Put on a full court press and win the game for talent.  Talent will help your company beat its competition and win the championship game of profits!  Then your company wins the Big Dance!

Views: 294

Comment by Bill Schultz on March 8, 2012 at 8:41pm
Sorry, I own the patent on this blog title. You owe me $10 million.
Comment by Bill Humbert on March 8, 2012 at 8:53pm

Bill,  Join the line trying to collect...I never saw your blog.  Sorry I missed it!

Comment by Bill Schultz on March 9, 2012 at 12:27am

LOL.  No problem, just screwin around.

Comment by Bill Humbert on March 9, 2012 at 9:19am

Hi Bill,  I'm fine!  If you said copyright, I would have been concerned...Thanks for commenting!  Where are you located?

Comment by Bill Humbert on March 10, 2012 at 9:54pm

Hi Valentino,


I guess it depends on your love for both basketball and recruiting.  I've been a professional recruiter since 1981 and was a youth basketball coach for 20 years.  It seemed natural to put them together - although I didn't look to see what else was written.  Probably no surprise that it has turned out to be a popular topic.

Comment by Bill Schultz on March 11, 2012 at 1:02am

Stop being such a grouch, V.  


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