What Recruiting Leaders Can Learn From NBA Free Agency

What Recruiting Leaders Can Learn From NBA Free Agency

Michael Altiero

Everybody is after talent. Across every industry, all recruiting organizations are on an endless search to find and attract the best talent to join their companies. And guess what? This talent search extends beyond the business world. Case in point: The National Basketball Association (NBA).

In case you missed it, the free agency period in the NBA just recently wrapped up. Essentially, it’s a time for all NBA teams to attract and recruit the best “talent” for their organization. Players leave one team, and join another. The teams that recruit the best talent set themselves up for success, whereas the teams that miss out are in for a long, long season (sound familiar?).

Believe it or not, recruiters and talent acquisition leaders can learn a lot from how NBA teams and players approach free agency. We have compiled five ways in particular where overlap is seen the most. Check them out and let us know if you agree or disagree.

Recruiting Passive Candidates Is A Team Effort

Every recruiter has, at some point, come across that can’t miss, once in a lifetime candidate who could be a complete game-changer for his or her organization. In NBA free agency this year, that candidate was Kevin Durant. Kevin eventually decided to join the Golden State Warriors, but not after a long recruiting process that had teams pulling out all the stops to try and lure him away from his former team.

However, unbeknownst to many initially, the actual recruitment of Kevin Durant to the Warriors started during the previous season, when then-members of the Warriors actively and frequently reached out to Kevin to try to get him into the idea of joining the Warriors (A FULL YEAR BEFORE HE WOULD MAKE THE DECISION!).

This is a perfect example of how to successfully recruit a passive job seeker. Recruiters need to be ready to try new things to get these candidates (who are often already employed somewhere else) to jump ship. Whether it’s the use of social media, creating an awesome employer brand, or (as in Kevin Durant’s case) employee referrals, recruiting passive job seekers is 100% a team effort!

It Isn’t Always About The Money

A common theme that has arisen in recruiting is that candidates are less worried about money when it comes to the job search. While salary still plays a large role a candidate decision-making, other factors are starting to be more influential, especially among Millennials. These include location of a job, work/life balance, company culture, and potential for growth within a company, just to name a few.

Believe it or not, the NBA has a similar trend. While there are still players who just want to make the most money they can, many are willing to take less money to be in a better situation to win. Even some of the game’s biggest stars have and continue to take a little less money so that their teams can assemble the best group of players possible.

As a recruiter, you should keep this in mind when you are putting together comp plans, job descriptions, and even your own career site.

Employer Branding Counts More Than You Think

NBA players, for the most part, don’t like going to teams that are going to lose. They also really don’t like going to organizations that have negative stigmas attached to them. In other words, players don’t want to be recruited by teams with bad brands.

And guess what? Neither do job seekers, especially the passive ones. In many cases, having a great employer brand can be what leads to candidates wanting to apply in the first place. Having an employer brand that stands out in a good way is a competitive advantage in today’s recruiting world.

Focusing time and effort to improve your employer brand should be at the top of recruiting leaders’ lists.

Good Leadership Is Requisite for Attracting Talent

In all sports, athletes like playing for proven leaders. While this is most prevalent in college athletics, the NBA is no exception. Teams that have established leaders in place from the top down (Owner, General Manager, and especially the coach) generally have a better chance of recruiting players than teams that have unproven people in leadership roles.

This also applies to businesses. Today’s job seekers spend hours researching the companies they apply to, and one thing they look for is the strength (or lack there of) of leadership.

Glassdoor and other review sites make this information extremely easy for candidates to find, which is one of the many reasons why you should be active on these sites. And don’t forget about employer branding here, either!

People Come And Go – Provide A Great Experience To Continuously Bring In Great Talent

The day of player loyalty and team lifers (players who stay with one franchise their entire career) is almost over. This means that teams need to be ready to constantly and continuously bring in new talent each year in order to compete. This also means that teams need to provide great experiences for players at all times.

NBA players talk, just like job seekers. If they have a bad experience with an organization, word gets around quickly. This will make recruiting players even more difficult.

The same goes for businesses. No matter what you do, employees will come and go. The key to staying in the game is to always provide a great candidate experience so that bringing on new team members is easier for your recruiting team.

Data from the Talent Board shows that candidates will share tales of their candidate experience with both their inner circle and the general public (via social media and review sites). By providing great experiences to your job seekers and employees, you will likely see far more positive experiences being shared than negative ones, which will only help your brand and recruiting efforts.

Be The Champion Of Candidate Experience

In the age of the job seeker, companies need to be creative and stand out from their competition in order to attract the best talent possible.

A great employer brand will help you get there, but the real game-changer for companies is the experiences they provide to candidates both before, during and even after the hiring process.

If your company can be the champion of Candidate Experience, then you will have no problems recruiting the best players for your team each and every year.

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