Are you Ready for Opening Day?
As the birds begin chirping louder and the trees start their early season blooms, there is a yearly ritual being performed on the sunny shores of Florida and the barren fields of the Arizona desert – Spring Training. For baseball fans, the rebirth and optimism that comes with this annual rite of passage represents the calm before a storm, the excitement of watching your favorite talent do his thing and provide a glimpse into what can, and hopefully will be, in the many months ahead. It’s a dress rehearsal or an audition, if you will, for a job that a hopeful player has set his sights on. The sporting world’s version of an interview. In fact, the sum total of the time that prospective big leaguers spend in the warm sun of Florida or Arizona is essentially a recruiting exercise.
What is Spring Training if not an opportunity for players to show what they can do to make the team better and help achieve the ultimate goal of being the best, winning the World Series. In that way, Spring Training and an organization’s recruiting cycle are the same. Just like in baseball, there are many talented people but perhaps only a rare few of them will be the difference makers who help your organization reach the ultimate goal of being the best, winning in your market. What can Recruiting professionals learn from their baseball counterparts – one talent evaluator to another? Here are a few ideas:
One of the more interesting dynamics that takes place during Spring Training is the opportunity for minor leaguers and rookies to learn from the guys who have been there, done that. Grizzly veterans mentoring, while also evaluating the younger guys. Teaching the ways of the baseball world while imparting their wisdom on skills and, more importantly, what it takes to survive and ultimately succeed in the microcosm that is “The Show.”
This approach should be part of your recruiting playbook as well. Imagine the benefit to the job seeker when s/he is provided access to the folks who have been there and done that in the role or even the group in which they would be working? The recruiting team focuses on the evaluation of skills needed to be successful allowing these internal “veterans” to assess cultural fit while also imparting their wisdom on what it takes to thrive.
Although much of Spring Training is spent getting the everyday starters in shape and ready to kick off the season, an important element is stocking the roster with the right utility guys as well. Ensuring a strong bench of players who can come in at a moment’s notice to pinch hit or run, relieve a weary starting pitcher or sub for an injured player is a critical success factor for any championship ballclub. Having a strong pool of resources from which to draw during unanticipated events throughout the season is key.
For Recruiters, it’s just as imperative that your organization has a strong talent pool available. People leave, new business opportunities arise and organizations expand all requiring resources. If you want to be the champion of your ballclub, having a ready group of sourced talent representing the key areas of your business from which to draw will ensure that your team receives the MVP award when it comes to positively impacting the bottom line.
And speaking of ready now talent, don’t forget those “diamonds in the rough”, your silver and bronze medalists, who may not have been ready the last time they were up at bat. Their next time up – when your team really needs them – they may be the right ones who can swing for the fences!
How about the coaching staff? Having the right players is half the battle. The other half is stocking the team with coaches and managers who bring out the best in their talent. In this way, Spring Training provides an awesome opportunity for management to build the necessary chemistry, perform evaluations and tweak approaches in a carefree game environment because these games have no impact on the season itself. As they say, championships are not won in Spring Training. But preparing the right coaches and having a solid game plan when you break camp could be the difference between playing meaningful games in October or watching them from the comfort of their couches.
As important as it is to bring in the right individual contributors, sourcing, identifying and hiring strong managers who have the know-how to get the best out of their players will certainly help you relax so that you can watch YOUR favorite team from the comfort of the couch! The key is to identify the best ways to evaluate these critical leaders. As with baseball, situational analysis provides a view into how they would respond in a real game. While you may not be able to observe a job seeker in a real-life role, providing scenarios and evaluating their responses as well as leveraging this same scenario-based approach during reference checking may help paint the real picture.
As camp breaks and all the teams head to their respective cities to get ready for Opening Day, there is one other key element – besides the players and coaches – that will help ensure a long and successful season. And that is… having the right gear. Whether it’s a Wilson or Rawlings mitt, Nike, Adidas or New Balance cleats, Majestic uniforms or the famous Louisville Slugger bat, baseball players are very selective. While possessing the natural ability is a must, having the right tools helps a player better reach their potential. And, it must all work together for them regardless of the gameday situation – from batting practice all the way through extra innings.
Recruiting professionals need to be just as picky about their “gear.” From Sourcing to Recruitment Marketing to Applicant Tracking to Onboarding, the right technology will help win championships. And if you’re like every MLB team out there who wants to not only win the championship, but become a true dynasty, you not only need the right technology, you need a gr8 platform!