Entrepreneurs and CEOs can learn a thing or two about hiring talented and loyal employees from the way NFL teams draft their players.
NFL teams spend time and resources vetting their picks, and they're not just looking at raw talent. They know that players are a direct representation of their brand. In fact, team reputations rise and fall based on the success and failures of their picks. Teams send their scouts to speak with high school and college teachers to find out if players were tardy, worked well with others or ran into disciplinary issues. Head coaches and general managers try to get every bit of information they can before they allow draftees to champion their brand.
In business, however, companies hire people they barely know after reviewing a resume and doing an interview or two. The NFL doesn't take these risks, and neither should you. Here are three ways to turn your HR team into a scouting department.
1. Determine your talent acquisition strategy
NFL teams "draft for talent" or "draft for scheme." The former obviously means to select the best available player regardless of what position they play. Drafting for scheme means to only select players with skills that match their offensive or defensive structures already in place. These players might not be the best available in terms of all-around ability, but the skills they do have complement their current roster.
In business, you can draft for talent, hire for culture or for motivational fit. Hiring for a culture can result in a "like us" bias, which is not always good. Hiring for motivational fit takes you deeper into discovering if a candidate will be satisfied working in the position offered and keeps dissatisfaction and burnout to a minimum.
2. Have a multi-step evaluation process
NFL teams put potential drafts picks through multilevel evaluations. It all starts with the player's film. Then comes the NFL combine during which teams see firsthand what skills players possess. Next, the interviews. Finally, the research.
A multilevel evaluation process in business would look similar. First, review resumes to identify talent that stands out from the crowd, like a player's film does. Next, create qualifying questions for each position you want to fill. Candidates should answer these qualifying questions in order to move forward in the process (similar to the combine's function). Only candidates that pass the test should be interviewed. Finally, the top candidates' references should be checked and their online reputations researched.
3. Take a team approach
In the NFL, a team scout isn't the only one responsible for evaluating draft picks. Position coaches, defensive/offensive coordinators, head coaches and general managers must give potential picks a grade. This "all hands on deck" mentality lets the stakeholders who will have contact with the player make their own evaluations.
Businesses should duplicate this concept by having team leaders, area managers, directors and the C-suite involved. Too often, only HR is working to fill positions, leaving the very people who will work with your new hire at the mercy of your hiring manager. Creating a team environment with "buy-in" from all levels leads to more successful hires every time.
No matter your favorite drafts this weekend, the team spent a considerable amount of time vetting them. Can you say the same thing for your last hire?
Former NFL Rookie Free Agent turned entrepreneur, Ryan Gilliam, is the CEO of the multimillion-dollar healthcare company, Pediatric Behavioral Services. After a successful Academic All-American Football Career, Ryan turned down training camp invites from three NFL teams to instead start his own business. Ryan is author of "The Cost of Greatness" and is also the CEO of Creating Success Associates.