Why Your Company Should Scout, Not Recruit

Each year, NFL teams spend countless hours developing their Draft Boards. Throughout the year, teams send scouts out to watch the best talent perform, then they’ll use a whiteboard and magnets to sort every available player in order of preference.

It’s a simple idea, and one that’s easily adaptable to the business world. It’s now indisputable that people are your largest source of competitive advantage, so it seems irresponsible to still subscribe to the reactive ‘post-an-ad-and-hope’ recruitment methodology of the past.

With all that you need to take care of as a manager, there’s a fair chance you only pay attention to recruitment when you are recruiting, creating gaps in your understanding of the talent market.

But if you can’t win without good people, why would you only pay attention to the talent pool when you need it? But you don’t have to recruit blind anymore.

Proactive vs. Reactive

If you’re a sales organization, why not consider re-purposing one of your HR staff to be a legitimate talent scout, whose job it is to get to know and rank every salesperson in the city — whether they’re in your industry or not?

Not only is the old world recruiting system devastatingly ineffective, it doesn’t allow you to build intelligence on what talent is actually in the marketplace at that time.

Hiring a scout rather than a recruiter will allow you to cut down on time to hire by building that bank of knowledge over time. Mini-interviews, dinners, and networking events will allow your scout to complete some of the small tasks that hold up traditional recruitment process, like reference checks.

Wouldn’t you rather someone constantly keeping an ear to the ground over time, rather than the archaic moment-in-time, end-of-process reference checks we currently do?

A scout will not only be a great marketing tool for your company (your brand will consistently be in front of the best sales people in the city), but you might also uncover hidden gems that your competitors don’t see. A waiter that shows your scout a deft understanding of up-selling during dinner might be one of your strongest new candidates.

Executive recruiters already do some of this, but they only focus on the C-Suite because those are what we’ve deemed the ‘important’ jobs. My argument is that every job is important, so it’s critical that you are knowledgeable about who you might be able to approach to step into your job openings.

Scouting is proactive. Recruiting is reactive. It’s as simple as that.

The objective of all of this is to be deliberate about recruiting from a position of power. For decades, organizations have lamented the lack of transparency they have into the job market and the types of candidates out there. I don’t believe this is a viable excuse anymore.

The information is there, we just need to think differently about the problem.

It doesn’t matter whether your Draft Board is simple or elaborate, it just matters that you have one.

Where Others Won’t

Author and podcaster Cody Royle explores the crossover of leadership between sports and business.

Cody Royle

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Author of Where Others Won't | Host of Where Others Won’t Podcast | Head Coach of AFL Team Canada | Avocado Toast Aficionado | #altMBA

Where Others Won’t

Author and podcaster Cody Royle explores the crossover of leadership between sports and business.