"I think you need to have a program that funnels the right people to the top." — Rick Patzke

That quote sounds like it comes from a recruiting professional, no? Well, it doesn’t. Rick Patzke is actually chief operating officer of USA Curling, but he is speaking about recruiting, in a roundabout way. And yes, this is your obligatory Winter Olympics-themed post... just in time for the closing ceremony. Phew.

USA Curling takes a different approach to assembling its team every four years then most other competing nations. Rather than mining for the best individual curlers from across the nation and then teaming them up to form a collection of All-Stars to compete at the Games, USA Curling lets club teams from across the country compete in a qualifying tournament, with the winners advancing to the Olympics. This is the more democratic, “everyman” approach, as described by USOC officials. But the results have been less than stellar, as evidenced by disappointing finishes at both this year’s Games in Sochi and four years ago in Vancouver.

Now, how can we tie this to corporate recruiting? Well, first of all, we all know that any company worth its salt is interested in hiring the best and the brightest to join its team. To do so, they scour the globe for talent using a variety of tactics and tools — job boards, career fairs, talent networks, etc. Ahhhh, talent networks… now there’s something. Let’s explore that a minute.

The new breed of talent networks allow recruiting professionals to search their database for candidates based on any number of attributes – experience, skills, location, etc. — to find the best possible match for a specific job requisition. A good talent network will then allow recruiting teams to engage and nurture potential talent, passive as it may be, in ways that entice desired candidates to explore opportunities within the organization. Often times, the best hires are plucked directly from the talent network, rather than through some of the more traditional means such as job boards.

So what if USA Curling took a similar approach? Instead of only taking the obvious route and going where they know curlers are — curling clubs — they may find hidden talent and the next curling superstar (anyone know who the last curling superstar was?) in some remote, frozen wasteland. Maybe the Michael Jordan of curling doesn’t participate in clubs, preferring to hone his or her craft in isolation on a sheet of ice on the family farm in Duluth. With a talent network, USA Curling may have a better chance at finding this person.

Or, if that doesn't work, maybe we ought to just recruit Nightmare Bear and Creepy Hare to the team...

That's some top talent right there.

(this post originally published on the Jibe Blog)

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