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NFL Recruiting Lessons From Black Monday – Don’t Procrastinate

Coach Another NFL football season is over for all teams but those that made it into the playoffs. As expected, the teams with the worst records experience a shake-up.

What NFL Recruiting Lessons from Black Monday can companies and their search and recruiting partners learn from this annual event?

NFL coaches are rare and possess a unique skill set.

You just can’t find an unlimited number with the exact skill, personality, willingness and ability to do the job, in the job market.

In fact, as recruiting challenges go, the right individual is going to come from a very small pool of candidates.

Can this be the same challenge in the real world? Is it the same challenge? Let’s put some perspective on it.

Recruiting Perspective

Example 1: In NFL Football, coaching talent recruiters must identify a rare individual that possesses the baseline coaching skills but who must also fit the culture of the team, respond to the demands of the owners, live the values of the community, meet leadership expectations to maximize performance of key players, and ultimately earn respect from fans buying tickets.

OK, your not in NFL Football and you are not hiring professional-level sports coaches. Really? Maybe you are!

Let’s think of the prior paragraph in terms of your own hiring objectives.

Example 2: In The Real World, talent recruiters must identify a rare individual with the required baseline skills but who must also fit the culture of the organization, respond to the demands of the stakeholders, live the values of the company, meet leadership expectations to maximize performance of key individual contributors, and ultimately earn respect from customers pay for products and services.

Does This Apply To You – YES

The NFL Football and Real World example paragraphs above are nearly identical. The second example is your assignment, every day. The first example is for the recruiter looking for a new NFL head coach, in one week after NFL’s famed Black Monday.

The difference between the paragraphs:

  • Team becomes Organization with respect to Culture
  • Owners become Stakeholders with respect to Demands or Job Requirements
  • Community becomes Company with respect to Values
  • Key Players become Key Individual Contributors with respect to Leadership Performance
  • Fans become Customers with respect to Revenue / Sales

Just because you don’t have to replace the head coach and change-out of an entire coaching staff, doesn’t mean you don’t have the same challenge, everyday. As they look for new coaches, organizations like the San Francisco 49’rs, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders are more similar than different when it comes to recruiting.

How does this apply to you, if you are a recruiter, a hiring manager, an HR partner, or a senior leader in your company?

Observe Lessons to Learn from the NFL

The bottom line here is that in a limited pool of candidates, a sense of urgency is necessary. Here’s why.

  1. When 5 coaches are terminated or fired for a season, that means that 5 openings must be filled, immediately, creating a competitive market for coaching talent.
  2. The competition for good coaches is heighted by NCAA college football coaching staff openings. For example, will Jim Harbaugh go to Michigan? Or, will he be swayed by the Oakland Raiders in a bidding war? More competition.
  3. The poorest performing coaches are on the market too – no team wants to end up with the weaker coaches because they didn’t move fast enough.
  4. One must move fast – the best candidates will be hired within days. If your organization drags their feet, can’t schedule a meeting, or doesn’t like the font in the resume – they are not focused on solving the problem at hand.
  5. The cost for hesitating is huge. Just as franchises need coaches, neither do available coaches want to be left standing in this tight game of musical chairs.

Hire With a Sense of Urgency

The lesson here is clear. Hire with a sense of urgency, or you will miss out. Use tools, statistics, metrics, but use them to support a hiring decision not make the hiring decision.

In the real world, the cost of hiring a candidate you are 70% to 80% sure is the right fit and working to ensure they are when they arrive by leading, training, mentoring in the first month is far less than not hiring anyone, and getting nothing done, for that same month. Make the decision and Invest the time.

If you are working with a recruiter – realize that you are getting the best if you are responsive and act with urgency. If you are a recruiter – realize that you deliver the best, when you prioritize those clients that DO act with a sense of urgency. Barton Professional Placement knows this, and is ready to help. Call us.