Recruiting for the Boston Red Sox – a fictional story

Recruiting for the Boston Red Sox – a fictional story

This is a fictitious story, but we have all been down this road.


I recently met with Bobby Valentine of the Boston Red Sox. I wanted to develop a plan to fill the job opening he had. Bobby spent about 30 seconds with me and told me he needs someone who can catch the ball!  “Great” I said, I will find someone like that. 

I went back to my desk and called Rob Gronkowski, the Tight End for the New England Patriots.  Rob set a NFL record for number of TD catches for a Tight End.  I told Rob what I knew about the opening.  He said he would be interested, based on the little information I gave him.

I went back to meet with Bobby again and told him I found a good candidate, I gave him all of Rob’s experience.  Bobby thought for a minute and said, is he good on defense.  “No, he doesn’t play defense!” I said.  Bobby V. told me I need someone who can catch the ball and play good defense.

I went back to my desk mumbling. I thought about it more and called Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics.  After all he can catch the ball and the Celtics won a championship in 2007, in part because of his ability to play defense.  Garnett told me from what I told him about the opening, he may be interested. 

I ran back to Bobby, with much excitement.  I caught him in the hallway as he was rushing to practice.  I found someone who can play defense and catch!  I told him about Kevin Garnett.  “Sounds OK, but I need someone who can swing a bat as well” Bobby said as he ran from me!

I was getting more irritated as this went along, and so was Bobby.  He knew what he needed, but yet was unable transfer the information to me.  Meanwhile Bobby Valentine called his boss, Ben Cherrington and told him recruiting was not doing their job, and his team is suffering because of it. 

Ben got Bobby and I together in a room and talked to both of us.  You guys need to come up with a plan to fill this role.  How are you going to do it?

I developed a Service Level Agreement, defined what my expectations were of Bobby, and what my role was in this project.  After thirty minutes of Bobby’s time I knew he needed a shortstop with strong defensive skills, had some pop in his bat, would bat leadoff or in the two hole, and had a history of being a good team player.  Within twenty four hours, I had Sterling Castro on the phone, interviewing with Bobby.


Sometimes the customer (or hiring manager) doesn’t really know how to define what they are looking for.  They know what it is they want, but can’t articulate it.  As recruiters, it’s our job to partner with the hiring manager.  That correct…partner with them…..while they are our customer, the role is not going to get filled unless both parties work together to find the “whole candidate”.  That includes the buzzwords, but as important, the intangibles or soft skills that will make a complete employee.

Views: 533

Comment by James F. Jeter on February 6, 2012 at 10:07am

Great analogy!!! I am saving this one for future use at a conference somewhere...Paul, I will be surre to give you the credit!

Comment by Dan Hunter on February 6, 2012 at 10:14am

This is really good, i was smiling the entire time with a wry smile on my face.

Comment by Francis Duval on February 6, 2012 at 11:30am

Great post !! 


Comment by Suzanne Levison on February 6, 2012 at 11:50am

Enjoyed Reading

Comment by Tim Spagnola on February 6, 2012 at 5:46pm

I agree - this was a great post. Even as a Yankee fan ; )

Comment by Will Branning on February 7, 2012 at 5:37pm

I really appreciate the analogy - especially since I am a long time Red Sox fan - since Yaz won the Triple Crown...

Great reminder to fully capture all of the important criteria and keep asking what's important and needed - perhaps feeding back in writing to the hiring authority what I understand they need and what my search criteria will be in specific terms...


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