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Candidate Experience | 4 minute read

March Madness playbook: A 5 step game plan to win in recruiting

March 16, 2016

As March Madness rolls in, teams are strategizing their game plans to beat their competition and win the Championship. That win won’t happen without a game-changing playbook. Though it may seem like basketball players and recruiters have nothing in common, both have the same goal — to be the best. That’s why we recruiters need a playbook to sweep the competition and win for our organizations. Let’s break down the recruiting game and analyze our winning strategy.

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Pregame (Preparation and Analysis)

Just like in basketball, you will not be able to perform at the highest level without proper preparation and knowing what you are up against. As a recruiter with a new role, you have to know everything about your competition to be able to come up with a plan of action. Research the markets, perform a complete competitor analysis, understand the talent pool you will be sourcing from for your openings and look ahead to anticipate challenges that might arise. 

First Half (Start with a Strategy)

It’s time to tip off and build the relationship with your hiring managers. Leverage their expertise, dig into what they are seeking in a successful candidate and begin to set expectations on the recruitment process moving forward. Be sure to determine the specific requirements and expectations of your organization. Understand the expected timeline to fill the positions, ensure the entire interview process is set and agreed upon, and set deadlines for feedback after interviews are complete to ensure a top-notch candidate experience. This strategic sourcing preparation will surely put you in a leading position going into the half.

Second Half (Execute your Strategy)

It’s now time to refine your play in the game and attract that top talent. Doing so requires precise execution. At this time, you should have identified the ideal candidates for your openings and initiated conversations with them. Don’t let email be your only channel of communication — call, text and use social media and all of the other mediums at your disposal to get in touch with these candidates. Continue to build your lead by finding the right talent and setting them up for next steps in the interview process.

You may find that there are still slight adjustments to be made in your game plan based on what’s occurring on the court. Connect with your hiring managers to go over their feedback. Figure out what they liked or what was a miss, and move forward by adjusting your sourcing strategy if necessary.

Overtime (Seal the Deal)

You’ve made your adjustments, sent ideal candidates to your hiring managers and finished the game strong by having your hiring manager select a perfect fit to fill the role. Ensure you have clearly communicated all of the necessary information for the offer, compensation, benefits, start date and official title, then close it out. I find that having prior conversations about a package job seekers would be comfortable with goes a long way in getting them to accept an offer. Once the candidate accepts, be sure to show good sportsmanship to the other players by following up with any other candidates that were not selected.

Postgame (Process Analysis)

Congratulations — you’ve filled the role and won the game! That does not mean you are finished, however, as this is just one role to fill in a long recruitment season. So, like every successful team, we need to strive for perfection by reviewing each play for opportunities for improvement. Walk through the results with your organization and review the sourcing analytics. This communication will make your hiring manager a loyal fan. Seek additional learning opportunities, read thought leadership pieces from your industry, explore other sourcing avenues you’re not familiar with and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone as no game can be won without some creativity.


About Justin Derie

Justin Derie is an internal recruitment consultant at WilsonHCG. He is passionate about recruitment and finding the best talent to help grow the organization. Justin is a graduate from the University of South Florida with a degree in Business Management. Justin was born in New Jersey but has lived in Tampa, FL, since early childhood. When he is not recruiting, you will find Justin in the kitchen cooking, at the gym or competing in various races, 5Ks and mud runs.