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  • Writer's pictureLiam Weber

Drafting the Best: How Recruiting Top Talent is Like the NFL Draft



As a Chicago Bears fan, the 2023 draft cannot come soon enough. Over the past month, I have dug deep into analysis articles and mock drafts in hopes we can pull together a winning team next year. As I was reading, words such as recruit, position, offer, and skill made me think about how similar this was to the work I do every day as a recruiter. Let me explain:

  • Scouting: NFL teams send scouts to evaluate college players, and companies have recruiters target specific talent in the market. Every job intake we do with a hiring manager, we are directed toward finding candidates from specific companies, schools, and industries. Identifying the right talent is half the battle!

  • Open Positions: This is similar to the job postings. It's not about finding the best player available; it's about finding the player that fits your need. If a team has a high-value franchise QB and a weak Offensive Line drafting a QB in the first round would not be the best strategy, even if that Heisman QB is still available. Companies, like teams, need to prioritize the positions that will have the greatest impact on their organization. A good recruiter will have the ability to screen and assess candidates with a variety of skills.

  • Negotiations and Offers: Although NFL draft picks don't necessarily have much choice on which team they join, contracts are eventually drafted that impact the long-term tenure of the player. Companies need to make competitive offers to retain talent for the long term. Recruiters work as the "agent" for their candidates in this example.

  • Onboarding: Rookie players are onboarded just like new hires. Having a streamlined and effective onboarding is crucial to getting employees integrated, trained, and ready to perform.

  • Performance Evaluation: Football teams evaluate players on-field performance (TDs, Catches, Tackles ect.), and companies conduct performance evaluations. Feedback and coaching must be provided to ensure continued success

  • Team Dynamics: Working cohesively as a team to achieve goals is crucial in both business and professional sports. Big egos exist in both and recruiters need to identify who will be more effective than disruptive.

The similarities here may be the reason I get so excited about the draft; it's just Talent Acquisition! I am excited to see where all the players go in the first round on Thursday, but most importantly BEAR DOWN!

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