There was an interesting comment posted last night to my first "March Madness" post from *Joe* (I think Joe is an alias because the email address posted was bogus, but that's OK I'll reply to anonymous comments:-)
Joe's whole comment can be read here. This extract captures the gist of it:
For you to compare what HR/staffing folks do to a “college recruitment” campaign is insane.
When your out in the field talking to clients/prospects, you constantly here that cost/cost containment are important, in fact always top of the list.
Ask the college coaches about cost………laugable, they are given open ended $$$ and creative folks to almost prey on young kids…….yes kids……17-18.
I still think there is a lot to learn from recruiting practices of sports recruiters--sorry Joe, but that's my opinion. They do several things right (and yes they certainly aren't perfect or in some cases even model citizens) to land the best talent they can for their teams.
First--they are proactive. They don't wait until the end of the season and the day after signing day to start identifying their targets. If they did they would certainly NOT have a good recruiting year. This would be the analog of waiting for a requisition to open to start identifying candidates on the corporate side.
Second--they build relationships with their targets. They reach out using many communications channels to develop a relationship with their recruits (the kids) as well as other influences (parents and coaches). Developing relationships with potential candidates ahead of demand is a good practice.
Third--they create a positive recruiting experience. They get the recruit to feel "moved in" during the recruiting process. IMHO, this is an area where many staffing teams fall short. And I use the team here intentionally because during the interview/assess/select stages of recruiting a large part of the process lives with the business unit and hiring manager. The talenteer has to do a good job of facilitating the visit, and preparing the hiring team for the visit if the candidate is going to have a good experience. Many companies do the reverse--the candidate that is all fired up for the position has a negative experience at the time it matters most--the end of the process. This is sort of like the waitperson who takes great care of you through the entire meal and then disappears at the end after leaving the check--right when you are about to decide how much to tip them. See my previous post on experiential talenteering.
As far as cost containment, I too hear that but I think it makes a very strong statement that staffing is being treated far too tactically. The right metrics should be focused on staffing proficiency and return on talent investment. Jeff Hunter's post on this topic is very eloquent and should be read by all HR executives.
As far as fantasy--I fully realize that corporate recruiting is vastly different from sports recruiting, and can't be executed in the same way. Can we learn something from their best practices? Damn straight we can! If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got. I welcome further discussion on this topic.