At long last winter is over, spring is here, and it’s time to consider spending a warm afternoon or evening watching a baseball game. Two of my favorite pastimes are baseball and recruiting talent for our clients in the plastics industry, so it’s only natural that I would see some similarities in the two.
A common question from our clients after they have sent us a job description and we’ve discussed in detail what they are looking for, is, “Can you find these types of people?” The answer, of course, is yes. With today’s technology, it takes about eight seconds to verify that someone is not in a witness protection program. In baseball terms, though, that’s the equivalent of getting to first base, and our objective is to make it all the way home and score.
After identifying potential candidates who may be interested in the opportunity, our next objective is to prepare an attraction-oriented presentation to those candidates. This is based on what makes the company, the specific opportunity, and the location appealing. We want to tell them a story about the opportunity and emphasize what is in it for them, not what the company is looking for. Remember, they probably have a job — we are trying to recruit them. When the story is compelling, and the candidate expresses some interest in knowing more, that is like our runner stealing second base and getting us closer to our objective of making it to home plate.
Now, the crowd is paying attention. We need an interview process that is designed to showcase the company, the position, and the location, building upon what we started with the initial contact. Just as a baseball team needs to have a plan for getting the runner home, the company must have everything defined — i.e., the candidate needs to know what the process will be, the number of interviews, with whom, any testing, and the timeframe. Keeping the timeframe as short as possible is always best. If the interviews are timely and go well, then we have accomplished our next objective and it’s like bunting the runner over to third base.
With a runner on third and the game hanging in the balance, this is the point in the process where you must close the deal. Teams that win the most are those that can convert these scoring situations the most often. Having an offer rejected or having the candidate take a counteroffer is like watching our runner get thrown out at the plate — very disheartening to all involved in the process.
Once the offer is made, it’s like our runner breaking for home plate. Here’s the throw, it’s going to be close! If we’ve done our job properly from the beginning, our candidate will most likely slide in safely. If you are so nervous at this point that you can’t watch, it is probably because someone took a shortcut earlier in the process. The real key is remembering why the candidate was attracted to the opportunity in the first place and emphasizing how this move fulfills that need in their life — a chance to learn from someone they admire, less travel, a location closer to home, career advancement, an opportunity to affect change within the organization, and similar motivations are why people make job changes.
Recruiting, attracting, and landing the top talent, like scoring a run in baseball, requires us to start with the end goal in mind. No baseball team sets a goal of seeing how many runners they can get to second base before the game, and no company wants to interview a lot of candidates that they will never be able to hire. For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game.
About the author
Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at [email protected].