Recruiting & The Professional Sports Draft: Finding The Right Player

Recruiting & The Professional Sports Draft: Finding The Right Player

Finding the right candidate for a company is in some ways like the NFL draft.

Or the NBA draft.

Or any professional sports draft, for that matter.

Granted, the process of making and going through an actual sports draft is a lot more rigorous and drawn out, but the end result remains the same. Find the best fit for your team.

A sports team is ultimately defined by its players, much like a staffing agency or Fortune 500 company is defined by its consultants and/or employees. A reputation can be made or broken depending on who you send out there to represent your brand, so the process of choosing key players becomes vital.

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How complicated can this process be? It can be quite tricky, actually.

Every so often, a recruiter or a team scout will fall in love with a resume. For a tech recruiter such as myself, it can be a list of technologies and/or skills, whereas for an NFL scout, it can be “measurable” taken at the NFL Combine, such as 40 yard dash times and bench press reps.

In a rush for instant success, it’s relatively easy to be enamored with what seemingly could be the perfect match. I mean, how often is it that we — in any regard — find exactly what we are looking for? I’d figure it’s pretty rare. So you can imagine when something like this does happen, you’re immediately thrown off your game. Sometimes, you can even define these moments through a singular, ominous feeling. You know the same one you get after you find a candidate with a resume that is somehow specifically tailored around your job requirements?

Sadly, that feeling becomes justified when the person you imagined on paper is nothing like the person you meet, at all. It usually ends in the chosen candidate completely tanking an interview, or in the case of an NFL team, the player drafted lacking basic football instincts and the required intangibles for success. The lingering effects can be short or long term, depending on your profession, but the aftermath is no different. Failure.

How does one avoid such mistakes? Simple: Do the work and dig deep.

I think it’s obvious to most of us that a person is much more than what he/she is able to type or display on a resume, just as much as what someone says they can do vs. what someone can actually do, are totally different things.  As a recruiter, my job is to distinguish the difference, by making the effort to really get to know my candidates by forming genuine relationships. I want to make sure that I ask the right questions so that I understand their personality, drive, strengths, and weaknesses… and if possible, meet each candidate in person, in order to get a better first impression. Because, as we know, first impressions are everything when it comes to job interviews!

The same can be said for the lengths a professional front office will go to make sure they find the right athlete for their team, whether it be one on one interviews, visits to their respective colleges, or even visits to their childhood neighborhoods. Being relatively new to the staffing industry with roughly only 1.5 years under my belt, I find this lesson to be one undeniably relevant, and ultimately will never get old. As a sports fanatic, it’s a lesson learned essential to winning.

In every regard, I plan on bringing home the championship.

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Inno Tolentino About the author