4 Recruiting Lessons From the World Series

Game 6 of the 2014 World Series is tonight, but the final outcome is still very much in question. The Giants are in a position to clinch the series and take home their third pennant in five years, while Kansas City will ride the support of their home fans and an advantageous pitching matchup to try and extend the series for another game.

Recruiters should find an eerie sense of camaraderie with both teams. Both have fought through more than 170 games over the course of six months, and they risk having everything they have accomplished in that time come crashing down with a single misstep.

Anyone that has been in the recruiting industry is familiar with the exact same pressure that rests on the players’ shoulders–they work for weeks or months to understand a client’s requirements for a position, slog through resumes and candidate interviews to find the perfect fit, line up meetings between the hiring manager and the candidate…and yet, a single mistake at any stage of the process can make all that work meaningless.

With this connection in mind, we’ve picked out the four lessons from this year’s World Series that will help recruiters to bounce back from tough losses, stay sharp in hairy situations, and ultimately recruit like a champion.

1. The Tide Always Turns

The Royals are an inspiring picture of resiliency. It’s a team that not only broke a 29 year playoff drought, but also battled through an agonizingly close Wild Card game in extra innings before cruising past the Angels and the Orioles into the World Series.

Their story is a reminder that even if you fall short a hundred (or at least 28) times, sooner or later you will break the streak. It’s easy to give up as a recruiter–the job can be discouraging and, in some cases, downright soul-crushing. When a placement falls through, a candidate fails to deliver, or you simply have an off day on the phones, remember the Royals, and remember that you can’t be great if you don’t keep going up to bat.
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2. Trust in Your Own Abilities

Giants’ starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner cemented himself as one of the Fall Classic’s greatest in game 5 by shutting out the Royals and giving his team a 3-2 lead in the series. As unbeatable as Kansas City has been in October, Bumgarner still outclassed them in both games he pitched, allowing only 1 run in 16 innings total. In fact, every team he’s pitched against in the postseason has met a similar fate–he’s 4-0 with a 0.29 ERA over 31 innings in his postseason career.
[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”40168″ align=”right” width=”300″ height=”200″ quality=”100″] Bumgarner knows exactly what he’s capable of, and dials in when the stakes are highest. It’s a talent he shares with the best recruiters. You need to know your own strengths, and have confidence that they will shine through when your back is against the wall.

If you can’t give an all star performance when it counts, get coaching from your manager and from your coworkers to make sure you can.

3. Know Your Strengths

Just as Bumgarner has go-to pitches for each batter and situation he faces, you need to know how to excel at every stage of the recruiting process. Recruiting, like baseball, is a game of timing and strategy, and you need to be intimately familiar with your strengths and weaknesses to be successful.

Buster Posey, the Giants’ All-Star catcher, is another player who stays on an even keel and delivers game after game because he is comfortable with his own strengths. He knows what he can do, and is unfazed by high-pressure situations. Consistency is the foundation for greatness, and the only way to achieve consistency is to hone your skills as a recruiter to the point that you are calm facing down the highest-caliber candidates and the most draconian HR managers.

Posey’s confidence, composure, and consistent approach have him batting .302 this postseason with 13 hits and 5 RBI over 10 games. Incorporate these traits in to your work as a recruiter, and you will post stellar numbers as well.

4. Experience Wins…When You Have Momentum

The two teams in this year’s World Series are polar opposites when it comes to postseason experience. Only three Royals have ever played in the postseason before this year, whereas a good chunk of the Giants’ roster was on the pennant-winning team of 2012. Those who are more prone to superstition will also point out that the Giants have fate on their side, as this year is another even numbered year (they won it all in 2010 as well).

Yet Kansas City’s red hot streak throughout the postseason may well override the Giants’ advantage when it comes to experience. In fact, many analysts feel that momentum holds far more weight in the playoffs than experience does.

When it comes to recruiting, the takeaway here is that you win by keeping the momentum in the hiring process, but the key to maintaining momentum is experience. Draw on the lessons you’ve taken from prior work to eliminate roadblocks in the placement process and keep job orders from stalling. Just like baseball, as soon as the momentum stops, your chances of making a placement plummet.

The Series could end tonight with the Giants becoming just the third team in the division-play era to win 3 championships in 5 years, but history says that the Royals will get to game 7.
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Regardless of which team is ultimately crowned champion, recruiters should take lessons from the games back to work on Wednesday. The surest road to success is taking lessons from the best in the business, even if that business is playing baseball.


If you’re wondering how you can boil your recruiting duties into a few specific skills that you can improve on, take a look at our ebook for tips on what you can be doing to turn yourself into an all-star player.
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