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Get in the Game: 3 Things Company Recruiters Can Learn From Collegiate Recruiters

It’s one of sport’s greatest spectacles. Huge upsets, game-winning shots, Cinderella stories and watching teams get picked for the “big dance.” The hard work, the highs and lows, and the “singular” athletes turning into one team – all help build momentum that carries into the postseason and beyond.

For employers, that same momentum is something to shoot for within the workplace. The concept of teamwork isn’t new, as your employees will spend as much time – and possibly more – with their co-workers as athletes will with their teammates. In fact, more than half of employees age 18-34 value a sense of community at work.

Not every new hire will be a civility jackpot, but it is important your recruiters be prepared to find the right people with the right skills – as well as the proper personality traits for the job. Creating momentum starts with a team that cooperates and communicates effectively. Here are three tips for recruiters when scouting talent for your organization’s open positions:

1. Fill a need

Bill Annan, an Oklahoma State University women’s basketball assistant coach, often hits the recruiting trail for the Cowgirls, looking for athletes to build an outstanding roster. Annan knows what skills to look for, but the most important part of his job is digging deeper and understanding the person first.

According to him, “This is an investment that you’re putting in for four years, sometimes five. It’s more than just, ‘Are they a great player?’ Though collegiate athletics is not a lifelong agreement, your potential candidate could be, and it’s time to ask what else they bring to the table other than the skill set to do the job effectively.”

2. Points for presentation

Recruiters are often the first touch point for a potential employee, just as Annan is for the recruits he meets. Recruiters could be the reason someone decides to work at your organization, so presentation – for both recruiter and candidate – is crucial.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, recruiters must understand the employer brand – the identity, values, mission, culture and personality of a company – and should be able to communicate effectively it to a potential worker. This brand also should be conveyed throughout the organization to enhance the employee experience and allow new hires to start improving productivity as early as day one.

The candidate’s presentation is key to understanding his or her possible “fit” within your organization. How does the potential employee communicate with you? If you are at a recruiting event, how does this person communicate with others? Are they engaged in conversations and willing to learn about an organization? Ask what they like to do in their free time. Discuss their goals and aspirations while creating a dialogue about the position.

Digging deeper allows you to understand their needs, how your company might fulfill them and, likewise, how their qualifications and traits might take your organization to the next level.

3. Look ahead

You filled a need with a successful candidate who is thriving in your organization. Score! But the game isn’t over yet. Because of the success-driven nature of recruiting and the need to fill more positions, the bigger picture is often overlooked.

Just as Annan does with his recruiting classes, take a step back and evaluate the employees you have recruited to the company. Which ones have had success? Which ones didn’t? How do they differ? What do they have in common? Are there any performance gaps in your current team? You can hone your recruiting and evaluating skills to ensure your next hires are adaptable and cohesive within your home teams.

The final seconds

The best teams are the ones that celebrate team success rather than individual triumphs. As basketball charges into the postseason, collegiate recruiters and your organization share a lot in common, including creating a close-knit, united front to improve their chances of winning – or, in your company’s case, boost your bottom line.