5 Sports Strategies for Recruiting the Best Candidates

Touchdown! Goal! Score!

U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis and hat-trick scoring Carli Lloyd celebrate after USA’s remarkable World Cup victory. Photograph: Darryl Dyck/AP

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis and hat-trick scoring Carli Lloyd celebrate after USA’s remarkable World Cup victory. Photograph: Darryl Dyck/AP

Doesn’t it feel good to root for the winning team? Success in sports, much like the recruiting world, comes down to this: Every great team begins with a great coach.

It is your job as a recruiter, much like a coach, to find the best candidates for the job using staffing software. With the economy shows good signs of job growth throughout the private sector, odds are competition among recruitment agencies is going to rise to find the talent to fill those incoming job orders. Here are five sports strategies that will help you find the best candidates and maximize your success.

 Strategy 1: Be Your Own Ambassador

Good coaching is about leadership and instilling respect in your players. Dictators lead through fear – good coaches do not. – John Wooden

Your job, as a recruiter, is to represent your company. You are the face of the company in the eyes of the job candidate, much like a coach represents the sports organization they are affiliated with. The quality of relationship you build with your candidate is entirely up to you.

Matt Charney writes “the first interaction candidates almost unilaterally have with an organization, either by submitting a resume (active) or being proactively engaged by an employer (passive), is with someone in recruiting.”

First impressions are everything. As a recruiter, you have to be able to step up and represent the most positive aspects of your company. If you are willing to go beyond what is expected of you in terms of approach and technique, you will garner the attention of the top candidates.

Equally important is the effort you make to build a positive ongoing relationship with every candidate – even those who are not selected or a fit for the job. Why? Remember that the rejected candidate for one job order may be a perfect fit for another. Also, even a rejected candidate may be a great source for referrals – if they have a positive experience with you and your agency. As the agency’s ambassador, it is your responsibility to keep doors and lines of communication open, not shut them to potential hires.

Strategy 2: Scout for Talent

 Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince Lombardi

College football coaches, on average, send out between ten and fifteen thousand letters to prospective athletes. Of that pool, maybe 25 will sign with that coach. Your job, as a recruiter, is much like that of the coach. You have to sift through multiple candidates, make all the right calls, and beat the competition to the punch when it comes to making an offer.

But before you get to present a candidate or make an offer, you have to source the candidate. As a coaching recruiter, you know that sourcing talent is both easier and more challenging today. LinkedIn is probably your ‘go-to’ to find passive candidates for higher-level or technical positions, but it won’t help you in your efforts to recruit light industrial warehouse workers. Just like any good coach, you need to know how to leverage the right sourcing methods for the candidates you need.

Placing the right talent in the right field is the key to winning the game; if you can successfully place the right candidate, you will maximize your endgame.

Strategy 3: Develop Your Playbook

It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters. – Paul “Bear” Bryant

The playbook, perhaps a coach’s greatest weapon in the game, allows them to develop their own unique formula for how best to utilize their players. You must develop your own playbook; working with different search models, interview processes, and business development tools gives you the opportunity to be unique in ways that benefits your candidates and allows ease of access for you.

“The intangible this year is our coaching staff focuses on the minor details that make all the differences,” said Abby Wambach, the veteran striker for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.

When you effectively develop a plan of how you search and engage your candidates, it affords you the ability to attract the clients you want, when you want them. By developing your own skills and methods – especially with repeatable, automated workflow processes – you streamline the recruitment process and gain an edge over your competition.

Strategy 4: Know the Playing Field

The values learned on the playing field – how to set goals, endure, take criticism and risks, become team players, use our beliefs, stay healthy, and deal with stress – prepare us for life. – Donna de Varona

A great coach goes into each game knowing exactly how the playing field is set up. They watch, study, and plan, knowing that it is their responsibility to dictate how their players succeed on the field.

For you, recruiting is your playing field. Your responsibility lies in not only finding the right candidate, but making sure that the talent you choose is the best choice. You need to know what comprehensive search capabilities are available, what CRM technology is at your disposal, and what data is available to you.

The key to understanding your environment is knowing that you have the ability to put the right candidate in the right position.

Strategy 5: Never Underestimate Your Opponent

Sportsmanship is not just about being nice. It is much more important than that. It’s about realizing that you could not compete without an opponent and that she has the same goals as you. – Stephanie Deibler

Your competition, whether it’s an opponent, a rival, or even yourself, is in the business of ensuring that they succeed where you do not. It falls upon you to overcome anything that might get in your way, from inadequate skills to outdated techniques.

A good team can be somewhat successful with a middling coach, but a good coach cannot succeed with a bad team. It is up to you, as a recruiter, to make sure that the skills that you use and the people that you hire are suited for the position you put them in.  

With new search techniques and improved technology available to automate tedious administrative tasks, how you manage your search for candidates can become highly focused and more effective. When you put your best foot forward and utilize the proper skills and techniques you need to succeed, your search for the right candidate will yield results that put you at the top of your game and ensure your success in the field!

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