How College Recruiting Can Learn from Major League Baseball

What if an organization thought like a baseball team? What if they thought about talent in the same way?

You will argue: “Ted, that is completely different.” No, it’s not. Sure, it has it’s differences, but the principles remain the same. You get young, raw talent and you build a team that wins.

What does a baseball team do that your organization needs to do? I will argue two major points.

(1) Talent centric. Major League Baseball teams don’t care where you come from. They don’t care how you wear your hair. They don’t care that you have a tatoo of a Dragon on your back. The care that you are really, really good at playing baseball. Imagine if baseball teams hired a pitcher based on interview questions like where do you see yourself in five years instead of watching him pitch? Baseball teams care about two things: can this person execute on the field and will he be a great addition to the clubhouse. It’s that simple (performance +cultural fit). And, it is that simple for your organization as well. Quit talking with candidates and start watching them do work. Figuratively speaking, play catch with them.

(2) Minor leagues. Your college recruiting team should create a minor league. Baseball teams have a group of minor league baseball players that they continue to evaluate based on, you guessed it, playing baseball! Duh. So why don’t you do this? Why don’t you create a community of students that are doing real stuff. Having a resume/application sit in your ATS is so pointless that it makes me want to scream. Have the applicants play and then choose the ones that perform the best. This isn’t rocket science, do it now.

The best part about this is that the right students will love it. Just like how young baseball players love to play baseball – young marketers love to market, young techies love to build code, young financiers love to put together deals. Give students the platform to do real stuff and you will be surprised.