Dan Tudor

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October 28th, 2012

The Lean Startup: A Good Manual for Testing Your Recruiting Strategies

by Sean Devlin, Front Rush

So one thing that we know is that there is a strong correlation between recruiting and sales. But we also know that there is a high correlation between sales and entrepreneurship. Savvy coaches will find recruiting advantages whether it’s through techniques, technology or a variety of processes. This is why I want to discuss a book that I recently read entitled The Lean Startup.

The book outlines its fundamentals within the context of entrepreneurship. But, we love many of the principles for technology and certainly see their application in recruiting. To demonstrate this point the author defines a startup as “an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” Sound familiar? Not that far off from your athletic office…

There are many approaches in this book, but one that we really love is the idea of ‘validated learning’. Validated learning is testing small things to see if they work and then constantly iterating and improving. The idea is to improve incrementally instead of changing the game plan altogether. Here is an example:

Let’s say that you want to implement text messaging into your recruiting process (assuming this is legal for you). One model would be to just start sending out text-messages to all of your recruits, one after another…gun slinging. But this could be flawed. It’s making the fundamental assumption that all recruits want your text messages and are more responsive to them. If you’re just sending out text messages and eliminating email, what holes have you created that didn’t exist before in order to follow an unproven strategy.

Instead, the validated learning approach would argue that you should try sending a few text messages and test the results. Ask the same type of questions that you did in 8th grade biology class and test your hypothesis accordingly. Will more recruits respond to my text messages? Will recruits interaction improve via this medium? Are recruits going to reply quicker? Am I going to annoy them if I text too much? How was the response of text messages compare to that of email?

Once these questions are answered, then adjust your approach and try sending more or less messages. Try sending more frequently or less frequently. Change the content of the message. Try sending to more recruits, then try sending to less. Try different hours of the day. Then look at the results and test again. Keep repeating.

The above is just an example, but the book argues that validated learning could be applied many other places. We use it in software development when adding new features, or new buttons or changing locations of certain elements. You can use it in your recruiting, play design, roster management and many other places during your day to day recruiting efforts.

The book is entitled “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries. It can be found at Amazon.com (see link below) and many other retailers.