Recruiting Like an NFL Scout

by | Aug 29, 2018

by Ben Hess, Managing Director, ThirdPool Recruiting

Even if you’re not a football fan, you probably noticed the NFL season is starting to ramp up again.

The NFL marketers are masters at drawing attention to their sport. They have learned to turn seemingly uninteresting parts of the football business into revenue producing activities. The draft (held a couple of months ago)  is one part of the year-round drama.

For the average fan, the draft may seem uninteresting. However, it may be the most helpful and instructive part of the NFL season for a real estate hiring manager.

Maybe none of you will be throwing passes anytime soon, but you will be interviewing candidates and making hiring decisions on a regular basis.

What can the NFL draft teach you about hiring new agents? Maybe more than you think.

You Need Talent to Win

The NFL is about winning. Winning games. Making it to the playoffs. Winning the Super Bowl.

Your business is about winning too. There are a finite number of transactions happening in your marketplace. If you don’t get them, your competitors will. You win; they lose (or visa-versa).

If the playing field is level, the team with the most talented individuals usually wins.

Granted, that’s not always the case. But, the inverse is almost always true. Without talent on your team, it is nearly impossible to win.

Picking Winners is Really Difficult

NFL teams know the importance of talent and they put a lot of effort and attention into making the right choices. Teams generally employ seven or eight full-time scouts for the purpose of finding and evaluating up-and-coming players.

What’s their success rate? 

Typically, about 15% of players drafted will become sustained starters in the NFL.  In this year’s draft of 253 players, only 38 will make long-term contributions to their teams.

Considering the average NFL career lasts only 3.3 years and there are 32 teams all trying to fill 53-man rosters, there’s a lot of pressure to find those 38 players who will make it.

Accept the Odds – Play the Recruiting Game

This may surprise you, but your odds of hiring new long-term sustainable contributors for your real estate business is similar to what that NFL experiences in their hiring. In fact, for many of the companies we’ve evaluated, it’s worse.

How do you win at this game? You keep playing.

On average, each NFL team drafted eight players this year knowing only one or two will make it.

They don’t complain about how much work it is to find and hire those eight players.

They don’t attempt to hire less (pack up after the first couple of rounds of selections) thinking they can do a better job at selection than their competitors.

They don’t give up on new talent and fully depend upon trading for proven players.

They accept the odds and do their best to play the recruiting game with passion, focus, and attention to detail.

Successful hiring managers do the same.

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