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Athletics or Technology: Put The Recruit Back Into Recruiting

Posted On: Thursday, July 28, 2016

basketball-557192_1280IT professionals and professional athletes may have very different jobs, but the way they are influenced to advance their careers is very similar. If you really think about it, there isn’t a big difference in the reasons coaches recruit players versus the reasons that hiring manager’s recruit IT talent. Even more shocking, recruiters can actually use some advice from these coaches to improve their recruiting skills. Below are four tips on how recruiters can utilize techniques used in pro/ collegiate sports to up their recruiting game.


Go after your first round picks: Organize your candidate pool just like the way an NBA team organizes their draft. In both cases there are varying  levels of talent and potential that need to be taken into consideration.  After you make your list of candidates that you are going after, organize them into groups based on their ability to improve your team. Start contacting your first round picks and then work your way down the list. If your list isn’t organized, then you could waste valuable time contacting your lower round picks and allow time for other recruiters to snatch up valuable A level talent.    


Specialize your approach based on the candidate: Using the same generic email is going to save you time but will not maximize your response results. Make it clear in the email that you are very interested in the candidate and that you have done your research to back up why this person would be a great fit. The candidate will not only be flattered but will also have an explanation for why this opportunity is worth their while. When a college basketball coach recruits a top player he goes above and beyond to bring that player to his team. This goes for top IT talent, if you want to get them interested in your company you have to win them over.


Rep your company: A big factor that athletes take into consideration when being recruited is the team itself. Coaches not only use salary to recruit talent they also sell their organization. This is true in both professional and collegiate sports. They use school pride and team pride to intrigue the athlete. In college sports especially, school presentation is important. If the student has similar scholarship offers, the determiner is often what school they like the best. This is the same for IT professionals. If salary offers are similar across the board, then the decision comes down to which company they think is the best.

Sometimes recruiters get caught up in selling a salary and a position title that they neglect to talk about the company itself. That is why it’s important to do your research on the company/companies that you are recruiting for. Prepare talking points about company benefits and use your knowledge of the company to build even more excitement. If it is a sales position, and everyone that quarter has been killing their quota, mention that to your candidate. Show them that this is a place where they can be successful and that the company is thriving. Even if the company is only doing mediocre, there is still a way to speak positively about the company. If their company culture is upbeat and seems like a place where your candidate would fit in, bring that up. And if the candidate does want information about  performance, then be honest and positive. Tell them it’s decent but also add how their skills could make a difference at the company and how they could really stand out and be a superstar there. Whether you’re an athlete or IT professional, everyone wants to be a star and receive recognition for their hard work.


Follow up and build a relationship: Be persistent when recruiting your candidates. Do not harass them, but make it clear that you are interested. If you were not able to get in touch with your first round picks, then circle back to them after you made it through your list. If the candidate is not interested in leaving their company at the moment, don’t write them off.  Professional athletes do not stay with the same team for their whole career and neither do IT professionals. Even if a coach can`t get a player to come to his team that year, he doesn’t give up on them. The coach will still keep an eye on how the player is performing and even stay in touch with them, so that the coach can give the player an offer when his contract is up.

This technique also applies to recruiters. There will be a time when the candidate is ready to leave their company and you want to be there to place them in their next position. To make this happen, ask the candidate if you can still email them about job opportunities that you think they will be a great fit for. That way if they’re interested, they can email you back. This will allow you to be fresh in their minds for the future, or for referrals of others.  



“Jtalty@al.com, John Talty |. “College Coaches Explain Why and How They Recruit Players Committed Elsewhere.” AL.com. N.p., 28 Jan. 2016. Web. 26 July 2016.

“NYU’s Women’s Basketball Shares Recruiting Tips | SmartRecruiters Blog.”SmartRecruiters Blog. N.p., 23 May 2013. Web. 26 July 2016.

“Six Tips to Improving Your Recruiting Calls to Candidates.” – CareerBuilder.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 July 2016.


DSC_5341Amanda is receiving her BA in public relations, from the S.I. Newhouse School of public communications at Syracuse University.  She started as a business development specialist in 2014 and transitioned as a content writer in 2016. Feel free to reach out to her by email and LinkedIn.