by Mandy Green, Busy Coach
Getting the right person for the position you are recruiting is the goal of all coaches. But it’s not easy.
Asking for a commitment from a recruit who seems to have all the “right” answers may not be best, especially if you don’t ask the right questions in the first place. Choosing the recruit with the best reference isn’t a guarantee either – what if the person giving the reference will say anything just to be nice? And recruiting someone because you “feel good” about the person is probably as reliable as buying a used car after kicking the tires.
To recruit effectively, it’s best to take the “guesswork” out of the process. The more reliable information you can gather about a person, the better. You want as complete a picture as possible of the recruits skills, experience, competencies, personality, and aptitudes.
Many coaches I know prepare elaborate position specific requirements as the first step to a recruiting search. It can be fun to profile precisely the height, weight, athleticism, technical ability, experience, and prowess of the recruit you hope to find. It is possible, sometimes even easy, to find what you need based on reading a recruits profile.
Where a lot of coaches fall short in building their program through recruiting is that they fail to dig a little deeper once they have seen a recruit with superb technical abilities. The success or failure of any recruit is highly unlikely just based on their technical qualifications. In determining how good a recruit really is, after you find out if they are a fit technically for your program, the next step is to focus on the emotional qualities of the recruit.
How do you decide if this recruit is going to be the right fit for you and your program?
Countless coaches pride themselves on their ability to assess recruits within a few moments of meeting them. In fact, this is impossible. What tends to be true is that intuitions telling you not to recruit a player can be very useful and should be explored.
The converse, however, intuition telling you to go ahead and recruit someone, can be highly unreliable. There are two major reasons for this
- The gift of the badly adjusted person is to charm you and make you want to recruit them
- People with skeletons to hide become skilled in diverting attention from closets they don’t want you rummaging around in.
Always ask yourself these 5 questions when evaluating the recruits you are interested in
- Do they have goals that will fit with your program’s goals? Take a break from talking about how great your program is, and ask them what their goals are. Do they want what you can provide? If not, they may not be a good fit for your program. You won’t know until you ask.
- Do they have effective work habits? Are they driven to work hard and have high achievement needs? Recruits who have a lot of energy are capable of working harder and longer than recruits who don’t have much.
- Do they have common sense? To spot common sense look for; early exposure to real-world experiences; absence of “dumb” decisions; and hardheadedness in situations that call for it.
- Do they have good people skills? Consider the recruits past ability-or inability- to get along with others. Look for the a capacity to inspire confidence and trust. Do others turn to this person for help and guidance?
- Are they mature and emotionally adjusted? To detect immaturity and emotional problems look for the manipulative spoiled-child syndrome, as evidenced by selfishness, irresponsibility, and a disregard for consequences. Look for over conformism, as seen by an upbringing in which a person is raised merely to follow orders.
When looking for an outstanding recruit, knowing which physical or technical qualities is not enough. Make a list of the emotional qualities you want in a recruit. You have got to ask them questions that will help you to see what you can expect from them while you are their coach. Ask, then listen to what they have to say, and finally consider their answers. If what they say doesn’t match up with your goals and vision for your program, they may not be the recruit that you are looking for.
Mandy Green is part of the team at Tudor Collegiate Strategies helping college coaches bring in program building recruiting classes. If you’d like to ask her a question or set up a strategy call, email here at Mandy@dantudor.com.