March Madness, basketball and recruiting – they both need great players on their team to win.

It’s down to the Sweet Sixteen and any of these teams could win it all. Do you have a team that wins? When you think of March Madness most people think about who scored the most points to win the game, but the process of building a winning team started long before these final games. The goal for all these teams is to win as many games as they can and then make it to the “Big Dance”. Their plan started with recruiting the right players for their team. Each coach (hiring manager) recruited the players (candidates) to build a strong consistent team. Without the right players, your team can’t win. So how is the coaches strategy similar to that of building your team? You need to make sure you find the candidates that will make your team successful and produce revenue for your company. To do that you need a plan to find the “A” players to join your team. The coaches look for players who can shoot, pass and defend. Do you know what the requirements are for your team?  When you create the job description include the typical requirements but also take the time to    answer these 3 questions and work them into your job description and recruiting process. 1. Why are you hiring for this position? (Do you need a hunter, a farmer, an intern? 2. What do you need the candidate to accomplish – in the first 3 months, six months and one year? (With these goals stated, the skills and experience required are easily identified) 3. How will you measure the success of your team? A good job description is the foundation of the recruiting process.  A good recruiting process is like successful free throw shooting. Without them you can’t win the game. With the goals identified, the skills and experience to be successful become crystal clear for the recruiters looking to fill your positions. With specific goals identified, sourcing becomes easier and is more targeted.  Candidates either meet the criteria or not.  Only qualified and skilled candidates make it past the interview screening.  Meaningful behavioral questions are easier to develop.  The debriefing after the interview can target on whether the candidate has the skills and experience to be successful. If the opposing team scores 10 unanswered points, do you remain in the same defense without making a change? Of course not, so it’s the same with recruiting.  If you’re losing the “A” players to other companies, take a look at your process and see where you can improve it. The “A” players are being contacted by many companies and don’t stay on the market long, so if the resume sits on the hiring managers desk for days before an interview is set up…you’ll lose them.  Make sure your process moves quickly. What happens when the basketball team gets sloppy – they miss baskets and don’t score points. Don’t be sloppy and lose out on great candidates because you’re too slow or indecisive.  It costs too much time and effort to find an “A” player then lose out on them for no good reason. It’s like a steal in basketball, someone will take the ball if you don’t keep your eye on the ball. When the basketball team finds themselves down a few points, they need to make adjustments to overcome the deficit. Like the coach, pay attention to the details and don’t be afraid to change things up in your recruiting process. It may just help you win the Big Dance!    


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.