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What we can learn from US college football recruiters

January 22, 2016 published by

Recruitment – good recruitment, where you find people who are good and who stay with you, is a difficult thing. With the unemployment rate continuing to hover around 6% (the acceptable ‘full employment’ rate is anywhere between 4 – 6.2%, according to the OECD), increasing globalisation, competition and the increased popularity of people wanting to join small and entrepreneurial businesses, hiring is not likely to become any easier.

Your people, their ideas and work are one of the only things your competitors can’t replicate. Its important to look at what we can do to attract, and hold onto the best. Who better to learn from that US College Football Recruiters?

  1. Brand is King: College Football teams trade on their brand – this is their number one tool in recruiting. The facilities, their partnerships, their existing players and their ability to turn out winners. University of Alabama holds amongst the most decorated programs in college football history, winning more National Championships than any other school since 1900. This history of success has allowed Alabama to attract the top talent in the country, finishing each of the last five years with the top ranked recruiting class. When recruiting, talk to your EVP. Know what sets you apart, whether it be your ability to win, or even just give free breakfast.
  2. Talent Pool – Wide and Long: College football teams recruit nationwide, and in a candidate short market, it makes sense to look at least nationally to get the best.  About 10- years ago, Oregon shifted their recruitment strategy from California and Oregon to a nationwide search. Since this change, the team has hardly left the top 15.
  3. Know the Talent: College football coaches know the talent, they know them early and they know them well. Not only does this make it easier for you to recruit them, it gives you a better idea of the person you’re recruiting and know how to make them successful. Weirdly, a coach from the Owls successfully recruited a 5 star Quarterback by writing a letter to his cat.
  4. Show your Commitment to Development and Deliver on Succession: In College football, high performers are looking to make the NFL and choose teams that can deliver on that. When recruiting, its similarly applied. Find out early where the person wants to be and do the best to get them there. This holds onto the employee, and provides evidence to future recruits that you know and care about their future.
  5. Pay is Still a Big Thing: Countless studies have been done on the importance of pay in attraction and retention and it’s still important – coaches of college football know this. If you want to attract the best you do have to consider how you’re remunerating them and be competitive about it. Not all companies can pay top dollar or provide expensive benefits, but if you can get creative or be a bit flexible you will get someone who can add long term value to your business.

Any questions, opinions or if you want to talk about this any more, please let me know. I love to talk.

Happy New Year
Elise Barter
indium4