What Baseball Can Teach Us About Effective Hiring

Effective recruiting and hiring in the world of business is a lot like fielding a team in major league baseball.

According to the baseball rulebook, on any given day, each major league team in North America can suit up 25 players. But that doesn’t mean each team has only 25 players to choose from. In fact, they have more. Many more.

Every major league team has an “expanded roster” with 15 additional players who are immediately available if needed. Also, each team has a “farm system” of seven to 10 minor league teams. This gives them another 175 to 200 or more players to call on.

Teams can trade players with other teams. They also employ talent scouts. These scouts work in countries across the globe, funneling additional talent to both the major and minor league clubs.

This coordinated approach is why MLB teams always have someone to fill every role, the instant they are needed. A game is never cancelled because there aren’t enough players. Nor is a position ever left open. There are always nine players in the starting line-up.

Leaders in baseball know that it is not a matter of “if” they will need additional talent, but “when.” So, they plan for the when.

The roster of employees at your company is ever changing. People leave; jobs are created; promotions happen; new business comes in. All of which generates open seats. Just like baseball, it is never a matter of if a job will open, but when.

An effective minor league system for companies often doesn’t even exist. If it does, it usually cannot supply enough talent the moment it is needed.

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Companies need a “farm system” of people ready to immediately accept open jobs. Also, a process that quickly adds those people to the active roster of staff. This includes:

  • Creating a stronger pull on the market, called candidate gravity, drawing in more top talent, more quickly.
  • Empowering internal talent scouts (recruiters) to build a talent inventory — a roster of talent that is ready to be called “up to bat” at any time.
  • Engaging external talent scouts (third-party recruiters) who provide additional talent that is available for on-demand hiring in contract and fulltime roles.
  • Partnering with department heads to create and follow a process that ensures a position is never left open.

A winning record in baseball requires a continuous flow of talent, ready to play every game. The same is true in business. Winning against the competition always comes down to having the right people and enough of them.

Want to learn more about creating this kind of process that allows your company to fill any job in less than an hour? Join me at the Fall Recruiting Conference in Atlanta for my session called Eliminating Time-to-Fill.

 

image from Shutterstock

As president of the Wintrip Consulting Group, Scott Wintrip has helped thousands of companies improve their ability to hire talent on demand. He helped these organizations to grow faster, increase revenues, improve profitability, and expand market share. In the process of advising, educating, and coaching his clients, he has created more than $1.3 billion in positive economic impact for them. An astute strategist, he is respected for his strong leadership and practical advice. He is also the author of High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant (McGraw-Hill, April 2017). You can learn more about him and his services at WintripConsultingGroup.com.

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2 Comments on “What Baseball Can Teach Us About Effective Hiring

  1. “Creating a stronger pull on the market”

    This would require a good brand, good reputation, and the reality in terms of salaries, benefits, and opportunities to back it up. Most companies don’t have any of that.

    “Empowering internal talent scouts (recruiters) to build a talent inventory — a roster of talent that is ready to be called “up to bat” at any time.”

    This would require people view the job as baseball players view it; their potential big break. Most hiring managers aren’t willing to consider someone for position X that hasn’t already done it for ten years. It’s almost never a big break for the people they’re willing to consider, it’s more of the same crap, usually at a lower salary than they’re already making.

    “Engaging external talent scouts (third-party recruiters) who provide additional talent that is available for on-demand hiring in contract and fulltime roles.”

    Bias against the unemployed and policies that require interviewing thirteen hundred people before hiring one don’t let this happen.

    “Partnering with department heads to create and follow a process that ensures a position is never left open.”

    This would mean requiring regular reviews of whether or not headcount is necessary, and holding hiring managers accountable for not filling vacant positions. That almost never happens, and would require a paradigm shift in how hiring is handled, not a slight modification to processes.

    These sports analogies are nice, but what they really require is too much of a shift in most companies’ policies and views on talent to be useful to most. Most companies barely value their existing employees, they couldn’t usually care less about talent, as evidenced by the ridiculously numerous interviews, lack of contact, byzantine ATS systems, and hiring processes so overly long, convoluted,and complex, that Rube Goldberg himself would thing they went too far. And, when talent is necessary and needed, they still act as if the world should be falling all over itself to work for them for peanuts. None of that is conducive to hiring as they do in sports.

  2. I have heard so many reasons why and how baseball can
    show us the ropes with hiring strategy. I agree they can, mainly because the talent scouts actually
    get off their butts and do everything they can to observe the prospect in the
    field at earlier stages of development.

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