Similarities Between The NFL Draft and Recruiting

The NFL Draft gets national attention. Today, football fans across the country are tuning in for the latest draft choices. However, all the pageantry disguises what the draft really is: The world’s most scrutinized, most transparent hiring event. From scouting, to the combine to the actual draft itself, the NFL Draft is its own job fair.

As it turns out, the NFL is a lot like what recruiters do every day, right down to the predictive analytics both kinds of talent professionals use to build their teams. Picking the right front-end developer isn’t so different from picking the right tight-end after all.

NFL Recruiting Employer Brand

1. Scouting = Recruiting

‘Scouting’ definitely sounds like more fun than ‘building a talent community’ but fundamentally they’re both about creating and assessing talent. How they go about measuring fit is perhaps a little different. Global businesses examine work experience, work samples, and references. In today’s digital age, they often work with an interviewing technology partner who applies proven science to increase predictability in fit for hire.

2. Smarter Decision Making

Here’s the thing, every draft pick has already proven their technical skill. Even though every draft pick has proven their technical skill, a sobering and statistically proven fact is that technical skill is not the only indicator of future success. In fact, LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner shared in a CNBC interview that the real talent shortage is communication skills, not technical.

Hiring is very personal. Ask any HR professional about what makes a recruiter good at their job, and they’ll say it’s their ability to develop relationships. Traits like ‘good communicator’ or ‘listens well’ aren’t traits that are easy to assess, unlike technical skills. This is just one of the many reasons why recruiters are hired by organizations. Those on the hiring side of the equation may take into account attitude, enthusiasm, cultural fit, team fit and their instinctive reaction.

NFL Recruiting

3. Team Pride = Employer Brand

It’s a two way-interview. That’s why employers including NFL teams place high importance on showing talent the benefits of choosing their organization. You may not be able to make the best offer monetarily, but if you have a good branding strategy and culture fit, they’ll still pick you.

4. Combine: the NFL version of interview & assessment

The four-day Combine is the NFL’s interview and assessment event for college football players. Though most of your candidates don’t expect to be tested on their vertical jump or bench press limit, more and more they do expect an assessment as part of the hiring process.

Leading interview technology integrates assessments with interviewing to help recruiters create an easier, more convenient experience for their candidates. By partnering with validated and dedicated assessment vendors, the use of applicable science helps determine candidate fit. Recruiters and hiring teams have the benefit of another set of data points to help in hiring decisions.

5. Getting the ‘Yes’ on draft day/offer day

What recruiters and NFL teams ultimately have in common is their desire for accepted offers. Both types of teams invest incredible resources to get to that Yes. The NFL prepares for draft picks once a year; organizations do it every day to fill their teams with top players. Predictive analytics plays an important role in prioritizing which candidates get the ask.

The gut instinct that good recruiters hone through experience and longevity with their organization will always be essential in picking the right talent. However, the NFL and global organizations will continue to employ predictive analytics to support smarter hiring decision-making, too. That 360-degree view you get by combining gut instinct and data analytics is vital in building a winning team.