March Madness: How to Build a Winning Team

The annual descent into March Madness is nearly complete. We will soon find out which team has this year’s ultimate combination of talent and timing to survive the frenzy and capture the 2016 NCAA men’s basketball championship.

While the pace and intensity of play and spectators’ periodic wild oscillations between relief and dismay’of the spring tournament can seem spectacular and swift, the journey to earning the trophy is a long one. Coaches spend time recruiting the best players, cultivating their skills, and ensuring each can contribute to the team’s success. The process is deliberate and methodical, leaving few factors to chance.

While a player’s half-court buzzer beater is a thrilling way to win, sensible coaches don’t design a path to victory that relies on a last-second do-or-die maneuver to save the day. A saner, less fraught formula for success is skillful management of a solidly built team where each person knows their role and understands how to play the game.

Intelligent team building should be your route to creating a winning roster. Rather than relying on luck to make the right hires, it would help if you were employing a thoughtful strategy designed to get the right people into the proper roles, maximizing everyone’s opportunity for success.

What does it take to make a recruiting slam dunk?

Fill in the bracket

The first step to landing the perfect hire is reaching the right candidates. Advertising for new hires requires more than just distributing your job postings to all possible sources. As in all aspects of the hiring process, rely on science as a strategy: using quality-of-hire data, you can perform the quality-of-source analysis. Documenting differences in source quality and yield can focus your talent attraction playbook and optimize your investment in how you seek new hires. Some sources, such as social media, specific job boards, or employee referrals, frequently earn a lot of response, yet yield very few actual hires. Creating a bracket of poor contenders makes for wasted effort on the recruiting court. A quality-of-source analysis will give you a head start in finding the top seeds.

Put the ball in their court

Identifying the most promising candidates is crucial, but you’ll also need a way to know what they can bring to your team. In basketball, recruiting scouts scrutinize player stats, looking for evidence of consistent delivery of points, rebounds, assists, steals, and overall performance. Coaches watch game tapes to observe execution on the court. The skills listed on a resume or discussed during an interview aren’t enough to make an informed decision. Instead of evaluating them according to the words they use to describe themselves, let your candidates demonstrate their skills through a Virtual Job Tryout. This type of robust assessment will show you how individuals perform when faced with scenarios akin to what they would encounter on the job, giving you stats and a clear picture of how they may fit in on your team and contribute to your wins.

Select the final four or three or five

Finalists can demonstrate past success. With the correct data, you can identify your top candidates and narrow them to the top few who show the best potential to be high performers. Leveraging talent analytics from the work sample provided by the Virtual Job Tryout, combined with your recruiting expertise, you can make a highly informed, evidence-based hiring decision and put the right person into the right position.

Build up the bench

Even after you find that perfect hire, you will benefit from maintaining relationships with those top candidates who weren’t selected in the first round. You never know when you’ll need backup players, so be prepared. An active and engaged talent community helps sustain a strong bench of pre-vetted, qualified competitors who can be called up to join your team when you need them. Use a mixture of automated tools and personal communications to keep prospects interested and ready by providing updates about your company, new job postings, and other relevant news.

Just like when assembling a championship-caliber basketball team, identifying the people who have the skills and know-how to deliver on company goals and can work well together to make memorable plays is your key to winning the recruiting game. Taking the time to evaluate potential recruits fully, understand the strengths they can bring, and apply a combination of objective data and your skills as a recruiter will help you create a high-performing team that can box out the competition.