Baseball and Recruiting
At long last winter is over, spring is here, and it’s time to consider spending a warm afternoon or evening watching a baseball game. Two of my favorite pastimes are baseball and recruiting talent for our clients in the plastics industry, so it’s only natural that I would see some similarities in the two.
A common question from our clients, after sending us a job description and discussing in detail what they are looking for, is ‘can you find these types of people’? The answer, of course, is yes. With the technology in 2017, it takes about 8 seconds to find you on the internet if you are not in a witness protection program. In baseball terms though, that’s just the equivalent of getting to first base, and our objective is to make it all the way home and score.
After identifying potential candidates who MAY be interested in the opportunity, whether from our database of over 100,000 or from social media, our next objective is to prepare an attraction-based presentation to those candidates. This is based on our understanding of what makes your company, the specific opportunity, and the location appealing. We are telling them a story about the opportunity and emphasizing what is in it for them, not what the company is looking for. Remember, they probably have a job; we are trying to recruit them. When the story is compelling, and the candidate expresses some interest in knowing more, that is like our runner stealing second base – closer to our objective of making it to home plate.
Now the crowd is paying attention. We have candidates who are interested, and we have determined WHY they are interested, which will be vital very soon. Next we need an interview process that is designed to showcase the company, the position, and the location, building upon what we started with the initial contact. Just like a baseball team needs to have a plan for how to get the runner home, the company must have everything defined, i.e. the candidate needs to know what the process will be, number of interviews, with whom, any testing, and the timeframe. Keeping the timeframe as short as possible is always best. There is a very old and true saying that ‘time kills deals’. Of course the company is still interviewing the candidate, not the other way around, but in the end the company will be quite disappointed if they love a candidate only to discover that they did not make a strong enough impression for the candidate to quit their current job and accept a new one. If the candidate is well qualified, and they see the opportunity as a positive career move, then we’ve accomplished our next objective and it’s like bunting the runner over to third base.
With a runner on third and the game hanging in the balance, this is the point in the process where you must close the deal. Teams that win the most are those who can convert these scoring situations the most often. Having an offer rejected or having the candidate take a counter-offer is like watching our runner get thrown out at the plate; very disheartening to all involved in the process. If the consensus is to move to an offer, the hiring manager, HR, and your internal or third party recruiter must work together as a team. Everyone should know what the candidate needs in terms of salary, vacation, bonus, other compensation, and relocation. If the opportunity is right for the candidate, all this should be right. If money was the key reason for their candidacy you should never have interviewed them in the first place and you’ll probably lose them at this point. On the other side, if you expect a candidate to take a lateral or even a step backwards, you should not have interviewed them and will probably lose them.
Once the offer is made, it’s like our runner breaking for home plate. Here’s the throw, it’s going to be close! If we’ve done our job properly from the beginning, our candidate will most likely slide in safely. If you are so nervous at this point that you can’t watch, it is probably because someone took a shortcut earlier in the process. The real key is remembering WHY the candidate was attracted to the opportunity in the first place and emphasizing how this move fulfills that need in their life – a chance to learn from someone they admire, less travel, a location closer to home, career advancement, an opportunity to effect change within the organization, and similar motivations are why people make job changes.
Recruiting, attracting, and landing the top talent, like scoring a run in baseball, requires us to start with the end goal in mind. No baseball team, before the game, sets a goal of seeing how many runners they can get to second base, and no company wants to interview a lot of candidates that they will never be able to hire. If a baseball team isn’t scoring many runs, the manager may ask questions such as, are we getting runners on base, are we smart in running the bases, and do we have clutch hitters ready to knock the runners in? A hiring manager who is having a tough time may ask, are we talking with the right people, do we have a compelling presentation of the opportunity, and are we ready to move quickly to close the deal when we find someone? Let me root, root, root for the home team, if they don’t win it’s a shame. For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game.