July 27, 2017

Hit a Home Run on Your Next Hire: 4 Grand Slam Ideas to Improve Your Selection Process

By Hans Schlegel, Partner, Sales

Nothing gets people more excited for late spring and summer like the crack of a bat and the roar of the crowd: Major League Baseball takes the field again on Opening Day starting next week.

America’s Favorite Pastime captures the essence of our culture in ways few other sports can. In the words of American newspaper columnist George Frederick Will: “Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.”

With its combination of physical dexterity and mental strategy, baseball delivers valuable lessons adaptable to many professional situations. But how can baseball help enlighten the selection process for companies looking to hire? Like any sport or business practice, all-star recruitment requires mastery of the game:

1. Catch New Technology

“Catching a fly ball is a pleasure, but knowing what to do with it after you catch it is a business.”

— Tommy Henrich, former Major League Baseball right fielder

Emerging and evolving technology (mobile apps, social media, the Internet of Things, etc.) will continue to transform nearly every business sector going forward — and the world of hiring and recruitment is no exception. Like a nimble outfielder, hiring managers must be willing to catch the latest technology on the fly and know how to use it. For example, leveraging the power of social media and mobile apps will take your selection process from the bush league to the major league.

Other emerging tech trends to catch “on the fly” include automated resume screening software, applicant analytics, and even geo-location mapping to help determine where the best candidates already work.

2. Steal Good Ideas

“People say I stole a lot of bases. I stole the bases for a reason. I crossed the plate.”

— Rickey Henderson, former Major League all-star base stealer

With the proliferation of blogs and other online resources, stealing ideas (while giving credit, of course) is inevitable. This simply means that instead of reinventing the wheel, you can find fresh ideas shared by other professionals and use them to your own advantage. In business as in baseball, stealing requires timing, judgement, and flexibility. Move outside of your comfort zone and look to professional companies, trade associations, and industry contacts for the newest techniques.

3. Play To Win

“If you’re going to play at all, you’re out to win. Baseball, board games, jeopardy. I hate to lose.”

— Derek Jeter, lifetime MLB shortstop and future Hall of Famer

No one likes to lose, but losing out on the best players is a hard loss. Working with a top recruiting firm can turn your strikeouts into home runs: an all-star search firm builds your expertise by investing in people. Look for firms that emphasize efficient and ethical recruiting practices for entrepreneurial environments. Recruiting firms can provide a back-stop to your in-house selection efforts, and help you keep your eye on the ball.

4. Coach All Stars

“There will be a time when everyone on the team is going to contribute to winning a pennant.”

— Joe Torre, former World Series-winning manager

If baseball can teach us anything, it’s the value of teamwork. Top teams begin and end with all-star coaching. Create and execute a team-oriented strategy to put the best hiring practices in play, and leverage all the strengths of your hiring team. Who are your pitchers, catchers, and designated hitters? Know the most important tasks to accomplish, and delegate accordingly. Just like winning the World Series championship doesn’t just happen, hiring the right candidates requires the effort of an entire team.

Hiring peak-performing employees isn’t a solo sport. It’s going to take a combined effort from your organization. Just remember to implement new methods, invest in top talent, and embrace the latest technologies if you really want to play ball.

How can ThinkingAhead help you hit a home run on your next hire? Contact us today and let’s talk!