Keep Your Edge

  • Recruiting

No Combine? No Problem. You Can Still Assess Great Talent.

on April 12, 2017

As you read this, NFL coaches, scouts and executives are crammed in strategy rooms with whiteboards and Post-its, finalizing their 2017 draft picks. Yet, anxiety about selecting the right talent is not something unique to professional NFL coaches.

In fact, you’ve probably felt their pain.  After posting, recruiting, assessing, and researching, how can you be sure you got the right candidate? Plus, you have an added challenge—unlike the NFL Draft, your candidate can say ‘No.’ 

While you may not be dogged by the press all season about whether a talent acquisition was a mistake, your reputation is still on the line.  How do you make sure you made the right choice?

The Need

Let’s say your star quarterback is injured in a freak sunbathing incident over the summer. You need a backup quarterback straightaway. In the case of the NFL, that may mean you are competing with other teams for the latest phenom from Alabama. But if you were strategic in your talent strategy, you’d already have someone in the wings ready to step in.

Corporate recruiters are often reactive, not thinking beyond the immediate req. or acute need. However, your team can become strategic and proactive – saving time, money, and worry by understanding current employees, succession planning, and company needs beyond the immediate req.  Your organization can avoid a critical gap—like not having the star quarterback.


Here’s the secret of corporate recruiters - you know what is out there far better than anyone else in the organization.  Sure, when the executive management team decides the new product line needs a rocket scientist with an MBA, who speaks Swahili and lives in Tasmania, they feel anything is possible. However, you know it’s not that easy.

The best recruiters we’ve worked with are continuously looking for talent—whether they have a corresponding requisition or not. Unfortunately, you don’t have marketers sending tapes of touchdowns or engineers sharing their clippings from the local paper.  Still, you can be involved in LinkedIn groups, professional groups or networking with talented people you run across. 

The Combine

Once you have both a need and a field of talent to consider, the question becomes “Can they do this job?” The NFL has the Combine, where they put players through the paces.  While you don’t need to know how quickly someone can run the 40-yard dash, you still need a way to determine their capability.

Think of assessments as your Combine (without the film crews). Effective assessments are designed to eliminate candidates not qualified for a specific position.  However, assessments should be flexible enough to avoid discounting individuals with unique potential or talent that overrides deficiencies.

Ultimately, your recruiting goal is to find candidates to help your business win – to succeed every quarter.  For more lessons on how to recruit like Belichick and hire like DePodesta, join us for our webinar on Draft Day, April 27th.

Keep Your Edge

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