Like many people I spent a good portion of last weekend watching college basketball's March Madness. The opening rounds this year produced some of the best games I remember in a long time in both the men's tournament and the women's tournament. And how about the number of low seeds winning?!
Watching the games this weekend got me thinking about one of the keynote speakers we had last fall at HireWorks: The Hire.com User's Conference. The speaker was Jody Conradt, hall-of-fame coach of the University of Texas women's basketball team. Jody spent an hour over lunch one day discussing the talenteering involved in sports recruiting--particularly for a major program. There are a few points Jody made that apply to corporate recruiting as much as they do sports.
1. Create the experience. Jody talked about how they turn the campus visits of key recruits into a full-fledged UT experience for the recruit. They work with the communications and media colleges to create a multi-media experience that is tailored for the recruit. They create life size stand up photos of the player in UT uniform that welcomes them to their visit to Erwin Center--UT's basketball arena. Their name is in lights on the scoreboard. They take them to the dressing room where they "stage" the players locker--full gear laid out including a jersey with the recruits name and number hanging in front of a spotlit locker. They want them to feel the Texas experience. Do you treat recruits this way? Do you have the experience your company? If so is it a good experience?
2. They stay in constant communication. Jody talks about how her assistant coaches, student assistants, and even some of the players find ways to stay in touch with recruits personally. This might involve IM or chat sessions late at night, or email conversations. They want to stay top of mind. They want to continue to reinforce the Texas experience, and to be there to answer any questions or deal with objections proactively. Sports recruiting is cutthroat. So is corporate recruiting. Do you stay in touch with recruits before and after the interviews? How about after the offer and before they start? This is an easy time to get cold feet or to consider another offer.
3. Recruiting is broader than just the recruit. In the case of UT, they are recruiting high school students--so the parents are clearly a big piece of the recruits decision process. Jody and team accommodate this by appealing to the parents wishes as well. Tell them about academic programs, student affairs, and other concerns the parents may have about their child attending the university. They make sure they feel part of each step along the way. This too applies to corporate recruiting. Outside factors like a spouse, a significant other, and even parents can weigh in heavily on a career move. Do you factor in these outside factors in your talenteering efforts? Do you provide information to make them more comfortable as well? Many companies do some of the this for relocations, but it is just as important for local hires.
As talenteers, we can all learn a lot from sports recruiting. Many of their processes have been honed to a science. But those practices could help you win the next key sales hire, or engineering hire, or nursing hire. Learn experiential hiring.