Super Bowl Champs Provide Recruiting Tips

This year’s Super Bowl was a very exciting game. Despite the final 31-17 score, the outcome was uncertain until Tracy Porter’s late 4th quarter, 74-yard interception return for a touchdown. However, beyond the scope of the actual game, several lessons can be learned for successful recruiting.

Constructing a winning organization whether in sports or in business involves taking calculated risks. In the case of New Orleans, when they signed Drew Brees away from San Diego four years ago, his future was uncertain. Coming off rotary-cuff surgery scared away many potential suitors, including his former team the Chargers and the Miami Dolphins. They questioned whether he would ever perform at a high level again. Instead, the Saints thoroughly investigated him and gambled a six-year, $60 million contract including $10 million guaranteed. This paid off major dividends over the last four years as he has led all NFL quarterbacks with: 1) 18,298 passing yards 2) 1572 completions and 3) 122 touchdown passes (tied for first).

Also, during the height of the carnage of Hurricane Katrina, many questioned whether the Saints would even stay in New Orleans. A move to San Antonio was certain. Instead, owner Tom Benson gambled and kept the team at its birthplace.

Lastly, during the actual game, Saints coach Sean Payton gambled at several critical times. First, towards the end of the 2nd quarter, he elected to “go for it” on 4th down instead of kicking an easy field goal. Unfortunately, that decision failed. Undeterred he gambled again to start the 3rd quarter with the first onside kick attempted outside of the 4th quarter in Super Bowl history. This gamble paid off and set the tone for a seismic shift in the game’s fortunes.

In recruiting key personnel for your organization, you can learn from both the gambles and thorough investigations of the Saints. For example, when you have an opening, don’t just overlook someone with one black mark on their records (e.g. bankruptcy). Instead, take your time to thoroughly investigate and gamble on someone who otherwise has the credentials to lead your organization to “Super Bowl” greatness. Also, avoid candidates who look good on paper, but may not bring the team aspects you need. It takes a lot of due diligence during your staffing process to “separate the wheat from the chaff.” However, look no further than the Saints and their thorough investigation of Mr. Brees, which helped carry them to football nirvana.

2 Responses

  1. Recruiters should be targeting those who have been laid off. Contrary to popular belief, those who have been laid off are a lot more ready and willing to hit the ground running.

    I’ve been in class and in job networking groups with similar folks who are at mid-level professional and management roles, who got laid off. None of us are sitting around, lamenting our bad luck.

    We all agree and recognize that we have had the temporary misfortune of working for badly managed companies with lousy strategic outlook. Now, we agree that we will no longer ‘work for a boss’. We offer deep skills and ideas, seeking challenging roles in dynamic organizations where the lay off mentality is not even considered, because that would mean an acceptance of failure.

    We’re earning professional certifications in PMP (project management), Black Belt Six Sigma, CPA, software and networking accreditation, business management, etc. We’re networking and investigating and exploiting new business opportunities and starting our own ventures. We’re out there, ready to help the next company grow and excel with the best contributors and leaders.

    Because we know that the companies not actively looking for us, are the companies most likely to fall back into lay-off mentality. And no one really wants to work for those companies.

  2. Have to agree with Jim that recruiters should focus on those recently laid off. I have met several recruiters that quickly dismiss laid off workers. But my company has recently hired three individuals who lost their previous jobs and they’re great. They are ambitious, experienced, and putting in so much effort to create value for our organization. Their networking efforts during their unemployment have paid off for our organization; they met several people who have become great contacts for their work with our firm.

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